Disclaimer: This review was conducted on a launch PS4.

You would certainly want to give credit to Quantic Dream for their  branching storylines as the credits started to roll after I finished my  playthrough of Detroit: Become HumanDetroit explores an  interesting idea of a world where androids have become abused by humans  through our misguided use of technology, while looking at artificial  intelligence having conscious feelings like love and empathy. The  premise itself is fascinating, and the variety of choices is plentiful.  These choices can be compact or far-reaching, and can help you develop a  relationship or  decide which questions you want to answer, but what  you choose can have unpredictable outcomes. The result is an experience  that will hold your attention and leave you thinking. Sometimes this  narrow focus is also its downfall, as you will begin to spot  inconsistencies or unexplained information within its melodramatic  dialogue—despite the meaningful moments.

A somewhat unpredictable sci-fi story

The story of Detroit: Become Human focuses on the meaningful  relationships your three main protagonists will have as you make choices  that affect how the story plays out, even if the story itself is fixed  to a certain degree. Connor, a prototype android sent by a company  called CyberLife, is called in by the police to solve a series of crimes  that deal with deviant androids while building up a buddy-cop comedic  relationship with the android-hating police lieutenant, Hank Anderson.  Kara is a android that starts to form an intimate and caring  relationship with a little girl named Alice after you help her escape  her abusive, drunkard father. Finally, Markus is an android that starts a  revolution along with his fellow androids.

Image from PlayStation.Blog

For the most part, many of the supporting characters will adapt to  the choices that you make within the story. How you develop these  relationships with the characters plays into what happens in the overall  narrative that opens different paths and scenes based on your  decisions, and whether they are good or bad. Even finding the simplest  objects, like an “Alice in Wonderland” book or a photo, can open new  dialogue options in future chapters.

But with that in mind, there is some clunky exposition and corny  dialogue that creates some plot holes in the 10 hour story. For example,  Markus is somehow able to use magical android powers that suits him  when the situation calls for it, and how Hank is usually impressed when  Connor is able to solve even the simplest of mysteries. Many of the  game’s themes were heavy-handed in certain parts, particularly parts  that tried to show motifs of racism and consumerism regarding androids.  Some examples are how they are not allowed in stores and restaurants  while looking at how people can easily buy one like it’s the newest  iPhone on the market. Even if these were overplayed, the story has  plenty of heart. They were enough moments of quiet tenderness to keep me  emotionally invested and high enough stakes – especially in its final  act – to keep my eyes glued to the screen.

Remarkable presentation

One major accomplishment that I will give to Detroit: Become Human  is its presentation. With the performance-capture technology at the  developer’s disposal, many of the characters are able to perform with  expressive realism. The detail you can see in their faces is  extraordinary: facial hair, blemishes, freckles, and moles, all rendered  in great detail, even more so on the PS4 Pro.

Image from detroit-become-human.wikia.com

The in-game world feels lived-in, like it was built with history  behind it. This is not necessarily a dystopian, dark future of Detroit,  but rather a world where androids are constantly present in society. A  world where androids are sold in stores and work as cheap labor to  maintain the city structure, like working as construction workers or  park cleaners. Little details that you find in collectible magazines  tell stories of technology being potentially dangerous, like with  political tensions between the United States and Russia, and how sports  leagues are starting to implement androids into sports like football.

While I had experienced some textures on one in-game character not  being fully rendered or cutscenes that froze for a couple minutes as it  loaded up the next scene, I was still able to enjoy these marvelously  detailed environments. One of my favorite sequences involved scanning  for specific graffiti tags to find a particular location, which ended up  being an eerie, mysterious trek through a dark corner of the city.  Another suspenseful scene in an abandoned mansion filled with hidden  secrets made me feel chills.

Consequential gameplay that could need some fine-tuning

The way in which you interact within Detroit’s environments in  a linear fashion mostly works to a certain extent. Action sequences  play out with timed button presses, swoops of the thumbstick on the  controller, and occasional motion controls that evoke the action on  screen. An android detective mode allows you to scan the environment to  reconstruct crime scenes. Fast-forwarding and rewinding to find certain  clues is very interesting, along with a new ability to “pre-construct”  scenarios before you execute them. I would have liked to have more  interactions with the detective mode than what the game allowed me to  do—as well as having the option to skip dialogue I had heard previously.

Image from TechRaptor

Of course, the way in which you play Detroit is entirely up to  you based on the choices you make. While there is the backbone of fixed  narrative, the choices within the story are numerous and broad. Quantic  Dream made a smart decision in making the multitude of paths become  apparent through flowcharts displayed at the end of each chapter,  showing you how it could have been played differently if you had made  another choice. This feature entices you to play through that section  again.

For me, this was the biggest draw for the game. Not every alternate  choice that you make will create a drastically different outcome for the  story. Sometimes it might change your relationship with another  character and unlock a new story path. Sometimes it might result in  death, whether of a supporting character or one of the three central  main characters (who can all die at different points in Detroit),  or experience an action sequence with some shocking consequences. You  can easily go back and do another playthrough or replay certain scenes  from the chapter select screen to see more of the characters and  world-building the game offers.





Featured image from AndroidCentral

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