Detroit: Become Human is a mixed bag for me. On one hand you have a game with incredible presentation filled with tension, great character development, and a thrill ride of a story.
On the other hand you have what can sometimes be an extremely boring game with awkward controls, strange character direction, and a story that’s so on the nose you have to roll your eyes from time to time.
Detroit: Become Human is a narrative driven game based on the lives of three androids living in the Detroit area. You play as Connor, Kara, and Markus, and
their tales unfold as you make the decisions that shape the outcome of the story.
Anyone who has played Heavy Rain or Beyond Two Souls knows what you’re getting into here, but if you haven’t the whole concept is pretty simple to explain.
The game sets out trying to be a movie. You walk, use buttons to make dialogue choices, and use the joysticks to imitate a motion for your character to do on screen.
That’s it really.
The fun in a game like this doesn’t come from amazing gameplay and mechanics, it comes from getting lost in the story and feeling like the choices you make change the future of the characters you play as.
Most of the time Detroit does this well. Towards the beginning you feel as if you aren’t really making a difference and you are just being led on a leash through a fun house where you get to touch some cool things here and there, but as the game goes on you begin to truly feel that your choices are life and death too not only your characters, but the people around them.
Detroit presents all of this in a beautiful package. Graphically, the game is beautiful to look at. Characters look near realistic at times, and during some of the cutscenes the cityscape could be mistaken as real.
Throughout the game you are given the option to press L1 to view certain conversations centered around your character as if they were a cutscene. This really adds to the immersion of the game, but holding L1 for five minutes just to see the whole conversation in this way gets tiresome fast.
I only had a couple of graphical issues in my game where textures would be slow to load in at their full detail. Once Kara’s face even took a second to load in and looked as bad as one of the infamous Assassin’s Creed facial bugs. But for the most part the game keeps its beautiful looking graphics together nicely.
When it comes to sound this game is at the top of its class. The voice acting is, most of the time, remarkable. Every now and again if you pick dialogue options in the order the game doesn’t want you to it has the tendency to sound strange. The issue I noticed mostly was characters sometimes changing emotions mid conversation.
The music in Detroit is spectacular though. It doesn’t try to hide behind the other aspects of the game, instead it’s loud and in your face, and this works out well for Detroit. Often times the music puts your mind in the perfect state of urgency that the characters themselves feel in the moment.
Throughout Detroit the atmosphere is set tremendously well through graphics, voice, and music combined. During the very first mission of the game you feel a sense of pressure as you investigate an active hostage situation in attempt to save a little girl from being killed.
The music is tense, the police are in position aiming out the glass doors to where the hostage is being held, and every now and again a gunshot rings out and an officer may go down. All of this while investigating the scene and using your android abilities to piece together a way to talk down the hostage-taker.
The mission feels like it has real weight to it and most of the time Detroit does a good job at making you feel as if most of your decisions and discoveries have an impact on the story.
Too bad all that impact and tension doesn’t last through some of the stories in Detroit.
As earlier discussed there are three main characters; Kara, Marcus, and Connor. Their stories are separate at the beginning and collide towards the end of the game to try and create a big finale piece. This works well for the most part, but some aspects of the story are predictable from the first 20 minutes.
On an individual basis the stories vary from decent to great.
From the beginning of the game I thought Connor’s story was okay. It didn’t seem that special to me, and his character didn’t interest me all that much. But, as he and his partner Hank’s relationship developed I found this story to be the best in the game. I found myself excited to come back to their missions as the game drew on so that I could see them grow closer as friends and solve their crimes together.
Markus’s story was inconsistent. At times I felt like no matter my choices the game knew what it wanted to do and I was there to watch. Other times I felt like I was leading his path, and I was in his shoes. My real problem with his story was it felt like it wanted to be subtle with its similarities to the Civil Rights Movements, but it came to the point of using direct quotes from the movement. To some this may seem okay as the game is obviously trying to be a representation of that time period in our future, but to me it seemed cheesy at times.
As his story went on I felt it made some leaps that seemed too fast. Without giving anything away I felt the android movement went from 0-100 real quick. Imagine one day you’re marching on the streets chanting and the next you’re in a Mission Impossible movie.
Markus’s missions were also extremely strangely paced. Sometimes I felt like I was in an action movie, and other I felt like I was playing walking simulator 2018.
Kara’s story, to me, felt the most lacking in quality. Her story garnered a lot of controversy for revolving around child abuse in the trailers. The controversy around this is such bullshit as
Detroit doesn’t take it lightly at all. The beginning of Kara and Alice’s (the child from the trailer) story is beautifully done. It does a great job at setting up a house with a dad that anyone playing this game would love to beat the shit out of.
He’s an abusive drug addict with an obviously violent history, and Detroit doesn’t treat it lightly. You know that he is something you want to get Alice away from.
My problem with Kara’s story is that it becomes far to repetitive as it goes on. I felt like in every single mission it was trying as hard as it could to try and be “a roller coaster of emotions.” It seemed as if in the middle of every mission I would find a gun and a new path would unlock. I understand that in the case of her story is might make sense that finding guns may be important (and in the case of America how often you would find a gun), but it felt like it became so repetitive of a find that I began to just expect it later on.
Performance wise, the game does pretty well. On a PS4 Pro the game hardly ever moved from a solid 30 fps. There were a few issues like that aforementioned texture loading as well as a couple bad lip synced lines, and towards the end of the game I experienced some technical issues. The game froze twice. Once lasted about 5 seconds and then continued normally while the other froze and it took a restart to get it going again. After these the game experienced one hard crash.
While there may have been these few errors the game holds up nicely. It may not be the longest game in the world, but you could easily go back over and over again once you see just how many options you’ve missed (which the game shows you via flow chart at the end of each mission). Detroit: Become Human easily sits at the top for this game genre, and is a fun and exciting experience for the people who enjoy this style of gaming. Some of the stories might be better than the others, but each one is still good enough to play through at least once, and maybe even a couple times over.