Developer: Quantic Dream
Release Date: 05/18/2018
Also Available On
David Cage has been well known for fascinating stories that talk about the boundaries of the human mind and what humanity is capable of. Our destructive nature and so much emotion that goes into making us what we are. Detroit is easily his best work with fantastic characters, tense scenes, and gripping dialog with moral choices that will test any gamer and really make them think and regret.
Detroit is a game about the fight between Androids and humans. There’s always been a theory that eventually AI will surpass us and get the upper hand. Isaac Asimov wrote about it a lot and created stories in which he blurred the boundary between human emotion and algorithms. Detroit does an amazing job doing this with a well-crafted story and really questioning the absolute core of humanity and addressing problems that we are facing in the real world today with racism, classism, and prejudice. You play as three separate androids and each has its own goal and path. Markus starts as an android serving an older famous artist and lives in upper-class society. Kara, who is a maid for an abusive drug-addicted father in the slums of Detroit, and Conner, who is a brand new prototype android that is used in investigations for the Detroit Police Department.
Like all of David Cage’s games, each level is a scene in which you play a different character, the scenes rotate, and as you make your choices you unlock new paths that involve hatred or love for your character or cause. The player walks their character around and can interact with some of the environment by manipulating objects via button commands (like all of David Cage’s games) and each scene is played out with quick-time events and missing them can actually impact the storyline as well. It’s a very sensitive timeline with different outcomes for each character. I honestly can’t get too in-depth with how my timeline went, but let’s just say none of my characters survived and part of this is because the timeline/path system isn’t explained well enough.
As you make choices and either succeed or fail in quick time events characters around you will hate you or love you and there are a few levels of this. If a character hates you too much, and you try to really fix it towards the end and it feels like you’re succeeding, once you unlock that path you can’t really change it. There is an arrow at the top-right screen that will point up or down when a choice is made and small arrows are little movements and large arrows will sway in bigger increments, but we never know how far that is as eventually, you will get a status update of how that character feels instead of a meter. It would be nice to know so if we go too far down a path we can just keep going down that way instead of trying to change things and ultimately get an ending we don’t like or weren’t working towards. The story does feel very organic despite all of this, and I think it’s because of how many micro choices you can make. However, no matter what choices you make once down a certain path you can’t fix it.
Outside of this core path system, the is more story than gameplay. The entire game is made of quick-time events and nothing else. This is really a game where you enjoy the story more than gameplay, but it works well here and has for all of David Cage’s games. I actually sat through the entire game and didn’t stop because of how interesting the story and characters were. There is a constant sense of urgency, fear, dread, and sadness, I even teared up towards the end of the game! You never quite know what your exact outcome will be as I made some choices on the fly and I realized if I chose another option things would have turned out fairly bad. It really tests you as a person and how you think and feels, especially for how political the game gets.
Visually the game is second to none. Outside of God of War, there is no other game this generation that looks this good. The facial animations are incredibly realistic with beautiful skin textures and minute details and twitches in faces that I have never seen in a game before. It just looks so amazing and is sadly overlooked. The voice acting is phenomenal thanks to the B grade actors that were used here, and they’re actors that you say, “Hey! I know that guy from this movie!” but don’t actually know the actor’s name.
In the end, Detroit: Become Human is one of the best games storywise I have played in the last 10 years. While it severely lacks in the gameplay department, it thrives in story and character and fantastic visuals. I highly recommend this for all gamer types as stories are the fundamentals of video games and are what make video games such a unique medium.