The interactive narrative genre is still a young one, and it’s one where either you love it or you hate it. On one hand, they tell great stories and usually have great characters that you can get emotionally invested in. On the other hand, they usually lack in the gameplay department meaning if the story isn’t pulling you in, then you would usually get bored. So how does Detroit: Become Human fare?
Now we have the next game from Quantic Dream, who seem to really love this genre. But thankfully they are good at what they do, even though they clearly aren’t trying to make their games for everyone. In Detroit: Become Human, you take control of 3 androids living 3 very different lives.
Connor is a police investigator who investigates androids that have gone rogue, or ‘deviant’, and partners up with washed up Lieutenant Hank Anderson. Ironically, Anderson hates androids and has no problem giving his piece of mind to Connor.
From a gameplay point of view, I enjoyed Connor’s story the most. During his story, you’ll investigate crime scenes similarly to L.A. Niore, the Sherlock Holmes games, and of course Heavy Rain (another Quantic Dream game).
Connor gets to use his high-tech gadgetry to search for clues, can analyse blood stains quickly, and is just better overall at his job than his partner. I always loved finding clues and then piecing together exactly what happens. It’s always a fascinating process and enjoyed it every time.
Markus I feel is where the story is really at. Once he becomes deviant, he goes in search of Jericho, a supposed haven for androids. Here is where he forms a resistance to fight back against the oppressive humans in order to win the android’s freedom.
I particularly liked his sections where you had to piece together the best course of action, whether it be to stop a security drone, or simply reach an almost unreachable area. It just adds that bit of variety you don’t often get with these type of games.
Depending on how you, the player, interprets this game really determines your sympathy for the androids. If you truly believe they are just machines, tools to be used by humans, you’ll won’t feel for their plight. If you think they can be considered living beings, you’ll gain much more out of it.
This game will make you think about what it means to be human, but that really is a discussion for a whole other time. I’ll only be talking about this as a game and what it presents. I do think this game does a great job of making you feel for the androids, regardless of whether you think they’re ‘real’ or not.
Now you might have noticed I haven’t mentioned Kara yet…that’s because I accidentally had her killed early in her story (serves me right for listening to humans!). Unfortunately that means I can’t really talk about it as I didn’t experience it, but the game certainly encourages replayability, and I certainly look forward to going back and playing out the events of Kara’s story.
As far as I know, Kara’s story is fairly intense early on, with her abusive owner barking orders and expecting perfection. I was fairly intimidated by him and always made sure I fulfilled every one of his requests. Perhaps that’s why I didn’t go against his orders because I feared what he would do, which turned out to be the reason why I failed with her in the first place.
Unlike previous games, Detroit: Become Human contains a very useful flowchart, which shows every branching path you can take. This is both incredibly useful, but also daunting if you plan on exhausting every option.
Originally I wanted to see all storyline paths, but after seeing all the different branches of the flowchart, I’m not so sure. At least the replay value is there for anyone insane enough to potentially watch the same scenes over and over again!
But regardless, it’s a great addition to have, and it is very useful to select to checkpoint and continue from there. That way you don’t have to do the entire scene all over again.
But what I absolutely love most about Detroit: Become Human is how it manages to pull you into its world from the very beginning. You instantly understand how the world works, despite being very different from our own.
I do think this game can be seen as a reminder of what our future will become, and the new issues that arise from it. The great thing is that I believed this world I was immersed into, and it’s commendable that Quantic Dream managed to pull it off so well.
Even though I was immersed from the beginning, I also felt that way throughout the entire game’s storyline. But it’s hard to properly judge the story when everyone’s is going to be so different from each other. I can’t exactly go into too much detail either because of spoilers.
I really liked the idea of alternating between everyone’s storyline, even though that means you have to wait a while to get back to one you were particularly enjoying. But each character follows a very different path, so that change can be refreshing.
On a side note, I couldn’t help but notice the obvious liberal propaganda scattered throughout the game. They just couldn’t help themselves, could they? Even the game’s US president looked suspiciously similar to Hilary Clinton. Hmm.
Regardless, I was engaged in Detroit: Become Human from start to finish. I still think this genre has a way to go before it can be accepted by everyone, but what we’re getting now is good enough for me. I’ll definitely be replaying it again at some point (even just to actually see Kara’s story all the way through), and anyone who enjoys a good resistance tale will get a lot out of this.