Detroit Become Human Review: Quantic Dreams, recently launched their hyped PS4-exclusive, Detroit:Become Human, a game similar to the earlier titles by the same devs, aka, Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls. With a lot of impressive PS4 exclusives coming out, fans were eagerly waiting for Detroit:Become Human as well. Does it perform according to the expectations? Let’s find out.
Detroit: Become Human is an adventure game developed by Quantic Dream and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, released worldwide on 25 May 2018
Detroit: Become Human
Story and Narrative was the main focus of Quantic Dream while making this game, and they have really done a decent job in this department as well. To being with, the story isn’t unique as such (inspired by movies such as Blade Runner)- but the branching in the story is what makes it impressive. The story can take violent turns based on the player’s choices and may lead to the death of a character due to a harsh decision as well. The story is based in the future, with human-like-androids replacing humans in all spheres of life, and towards the end, they “may” wage a war against the human race.
All the three characters have distinct and unique story arcs, Connor is a detective who investigates criminal activities due to androids turning deviant, Markus works for a handicapped old man, whose son has abandoned him, and Kara works for an unemployed young man whose wife left him, but, they are all get interconnected as we progress further in the game. The touch of realism is what makes Detroit’s story pretty decent if not great. Like for instance, the main cause behind the whole android-revolution, i.e., occurrence of deviancy in the androids, is partly due to a software instability, but pre-dominantly due to the conditions to which the androids are exposed to. The city is completely dependant on androids from Cyber life, and they have superseded humans in many spheres of life leading to widespread unemployment, poverty and stuff. Consequently, the people turn up against this android and they are subject to ill-treatment. Detroit: Become Human is a pretty excellent portrayal of how scary the future can be, but, at the same time it criticizes some of the events taking place in society, and which turn these androids deviant. Kara becoming deviant to protect a girl from her father who is beating her for no reason, Markus turning deviant to protect his master because his ignorant son forcefully tries to take money from his dad, portray the various ill-elements of modern society, and lashes out at them by showing how an indifferent machine will react to these evils of society.
The story as a whole might not be appealing to many, but it’s the bits and pieces of excellence portrayed by Quantic Dream, which makes it a pretty decent performer in this category as well.
Graphics & Sound
Detroit: Become Human is undoubtedly the best looking game of 2018 as of now. The immensely detailed facial features, the realistic motion-captured animations, the various light streaks, and glares caused by the police car lights when Connor goes out to investigate, just convey the fact that Quantic Dream have given a lot of effort in excelling the graphics department. Many times, I stood gazing at the stellar environment of Detroit. The world is futuristic, but the amount of detail that is present in the game, makes it appear astoundingly realistic. The cinematic and QTE sequences are all blended pretty well indeed making the gameplay experience a lot more immersive. Overall, Quantic Dream have done a commendable job in delivering a visually impressive title.
I always look forward to games with a unique and charismatic OST. Detroit: Become Human has one of the best OSTs in video games, apart from Nier: Automata and Ori and the Blind Forest. The OST of this game is not as engaging and charming as the ones in Nier and Ori: And the Blind Forest, but there is a special instrumental charm to it. The main character theme of each character is pretty minimalistic, but it is in accordance with the character’s journey. For example, Kara’s OST has an adventurous and melancholic touch to it, while Connor’s OST is suspenseful. Moreover, there is a sequence in which Markus can play music in the piano in Carl’s house. The particular sequence is pretty mediocre and is just a filler between scenes, but, the various music which can be played on the piano are just phenomenal. I honestly don’t remember any game in which I was just sitting and playing the piano just to enjoy the amazing soundtrack.
Detroit Become Human is not what one will call a full-fledged game. It’s more of that Telltale-esque, QTE-based game and focuses more on storytelling and the choices the players make. So it’s pretty obvious that one should not expect an array of ground-breaking gameplay mechanics from the game. The whole game revolves around traversing around the world and making a series of choices. Sound’s pretty boring, eh? Nah, there is much more to it. The choice-game in this game is pretty much a lot deeper than any other game with a similar outlook. Each choice a player makes branches out to a series of outcomes, which are all decided by subsequent choices. The outcomes can affect the final ending were subtly, or, they might be indeed devastating, i.e, leading to the death of a leading character.
Most of the game revolves around pressing a few buttons to pick objects, do some stuff,etc., and then making a series of choices. Playing as Connor, Cyberlife’s detective, the game gets a lot more immersive, since players are often asked to find clues, which can be found by scanning the surrounding (somewhat similar to Witcher senses), and then recreating the whole incident by putting up the clues together. Playing as Connor indeed provides a more enthralling gameplay experience as compared to the other two characters, partly because of the audacious and strong character of Connor, and partly because of the enticing scenarios users are exposed to while playing as Connor.
Apart from the things mentioned above, there are sequences where you are supposed to quickly press certain buttons within a specified time frame, failing which might affect the outcome of the sequence and consequently it will affect the whole story as well. The other major mechanic of the game is the whole outcome-flowchart shown at the end of each scene. It is probably the best mechanic I have seen in a QTE-based game yet. Apart from highlighting the various choices which the player took, the flowchart also portrays the various outcomes which were possible if the player had taken a different choice, but they appear as locked. The best feature of this mechanic is that players can revisit specific checkpoint, where the story branches out, in a scene and then make a different choice to get a different outcome, without having to play the game all over again. This mechanic adds a much much efficient replayability factor to the game. Apart from all this, there isn’t much in the game, and even though the focus was pretty less on the gameplay, and more on the story, Quantic Dream have indeed done a great job in delivering a decent if not great gameplay experience. The only flaw the gameplay has is that the character movement is atrociously slow at times and without the ability to run, it makes traversing long distances pretty mundane; but then again, the beautiful world makes it somewhat less tiring.
Games with little to no gameplay, aka, choice-based games like these never fascinated me, but there is something special about Detroit. It has a special charm to it, unlike other QTE based games. The ability to play as three different distinct characters with unique but interlinked stories, the way feelings of both androids, and humans regarding a specific incident is conveyed, the futuristic sequences with bits and pieces of realistic events which are common in the current world, are all intertwined with three different, tranquil and grandiose soundtracks for each character, and a somewhat decent gameplay, making makes Detroit: Become Human a unique and a standout performer. For people looking for a game with a good story, and don’t care about little to no gameplay, should definitely get the game without a second thought. For others, it might not be the game to look out for.