Detroit: Become Human rises up against the darkest parts of humanity

If you’ve never played a Quantic Dream game before, here’s what you need to know before starting Detroit: Become Human.

Every decision you take changes the story. Your game will probably be drastically different from your friend’s and from mine. Because of that, I’ve chosen to make the details of my game very limited in this review – since the odds are you never see some of the same scenes I did. I can only review my experiences in Detroit: Become Human.

Welcome to Detroit, in the not so distant future. Once known as The Motor City, Detroit has become the forefront of android technology and for the low, low cost of $7,999, anyone can purchase their very own android. But something has changed. Some of the androids have started breaking protocol and have started to claim that they are alive. That they are becoming human.

The story is told in several vignettes, each one focused on the perspective of one of the three main characters: Our two protagonists, the companion bot Markus who looks after an older man, and the house android and glorified babysitter Kara; and the antagonist Connor, a police android.

Markus in Detroit Become Human. Image Credit: Quantic Drream

If you’re looking for a high-action shooter, or open world exploration game, this might not be your cup of tea. Detroit: Become Human is a largely conversation-based game filled with cut scenes and quick time events. It’s a story tailored to your decisions, for better or worse.

Following the conclusion of each vignette, a decision tree is laid out before you showing the path you’ve chosen and locked branches of other possible outcomes. You can also see what percentage of players in both the world and in your friends list made similar decisions. This is where you see how drastically the stories can differ.

Even though my early access to the game meant fewer players made up the world statistics, there were still times where only 2% of players chose the same path I did.

Kara in Detroit: Become Human. Image Credit: Quantic Dream

The best thing about this “choose your own adventure” style of game is that it allows – and even encourages – multiple play throughs. You may think the experience can’t possibly be that different, but believe me, from conversations I’ve had with others, it’s sometimes hard to tell we were even playing the same game.

I did experience a few technical issues, most of which surrounded the use of the track pad. Also, there were a few times the characters didn’t handle well going up stairs or interacting with objects, but they were not frequent enough to mar my experience. There will be a Day 1 patch which may address some of these issues.

It would be an absolute injustice to this game to not mention the exceptional work of the actors. In such a narrative based game, all three leads really needed to make the evolution of these characters believable, regardless of which direction their journey took.

Connor in Detroit: Become Human. Image Credit: Quantic Dream

Jesse Williams as Markus, Valorie Curry as Kara and Bryan Dechart as Connor, drew me in with their gripping performances and were crucial in making this world believable. Also, having Lance Henriksen, perhaps best known as the android Bishop in the Alien franchise, play a human in this game was just brilliant.

Carl (played by Lance Henriksen) speaks with Markus in Detroit: Become Human. Image Credit: Quantic Dream

But it isn’t just a game, it’s a statement on the struggle for civil rights. The androids struggle with the inability of most humans to see them as equals, to believe they’ve become sentient, to see their evolving humanity. Slavery, oppression and abuse stir the uprising in Detroit. It doesn’t shy away from showing some of the worst of humanity and putting into focus how these “pieces of plastic” are often times more human than human – not to quote White Zombie but honestly, how could I not?

And while the game is focused on the events in Detroit, there’s more going on in this world. Through television and magazines, you get little glimpses of a world on the brink of disaster: a war on the horizon between Russia & the U.S. over the Arctic, space exploration, and government corruption.

Could it be setting the stage for future DLC? A sequel? Or maybe it’s just creating a richer story for those like me, with the patience to read every magazine or stop at every television.

Final Score: 4/5

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