Detroit: Become Human Game Review: A Great Complex Interactive Neo-Noir Thriller

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
May 26th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On May 26, 2018
Last modified:May 28, 2018

Summary:

Detroit tells an impactful story about equality and the pace technology grows in society, while there are problems in terms of tone. Quantic Dream pushes the console to its max while providing a solid adventure for fans and newcomers!


Reviewed by:
Rating:

4
On May 26, 2018
Last modified:May 28, 2018

Summary:

Detroit tells an impactful story about equality and the pace technology grows in society, while there are problems in terms of tone. Quantic Dream pushes the console to its max while providing a solid adventure for fans and newcomers!

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Detroit: Become Human Game Review

Quantic Dream

Inspired by the short called “Kara”, Detroit is a neo-noir thriller set in the near-future city of Detroit. Androids, who look exactly like human beings, have replaced humans in most tasks: they are workers, babysitters, gardeners, nurses, teachers, clerks. The story of Detroit starts with an unexplained incident that begins to affect the Androids. Some disappear without any explanation, others have unexpected behaviors and strangely show signs of emotions. The rumors of “deviant” androids start spreading, but no one seems to know what’s really happening.

Quantic Dream has delivered some groundbreaking interactive adventures for over 20 years, pushing generations of PlayStation consoles to their limits with complex stories and detailed player choice. Fans of the French studio we’re astonished by previous releases including cult classic “Heavy Rain”, which defines the point and click adventure genre. Sadly this was almost thrown away with the mixed reception “Beyond: Two Souls”  brought in, it released during the launch of Sony’s next console generation and lacked the expansive polish seen before. 

Quantic disappeared for several years after releasing Beyond: Two Souls, pushing efforts into PS4 tech demos which varied from fantasy-based titles and homages to classic Sci-fi adventures. 2012’s PlayStation 3 demonstration Kara blew everyone away, as it focused on androids living in a normal society and facing issues within the community. The overall success of the demo gave Quantic Dream courage to developing a video game around the idea. Development went forward costing a whopping €30 million, but what is Detroit: Become Human? Does it have the recipe for success? Or have rotten ingredients. 

Quantic Dream

Detroit: Become Human is a great celebration of Quantic Dream’ rich history within the industry, bringing together all their ideas into a delicious meal filled with unique spices. The game reinvents their direction, focused on multiple routes story paths and making sure player experiences vary. Everything in the game works in conjunction with player choice, turning the complaints of scripted moments into something truly fresh. David Cage takes homage from classic sci-fi adventure “Blade Runner”, with a group of androids willing to rebel against their creators and fight for their own kind. Cage’s writing chops have matured since Beyond: Two Souls as the game tackles stronger themes, including equality and humanity - with added questions about technologies place in society.

Detroit is set in the year 2038, as the renown Motoring City has transitioned in becoming a central hub for Android creation across the United States. Each household is given their own service droid, helping their every need from teaching children to making tuna sandwiches. Despite additions of futuristic technologies, Detroit: Become Human feels strangely present with nods to escalating diplomatic tensions between US and Russia. The constant parallels to the modern life work in the game's favour, pushing boundaries while telling a very real story about equality. Quantic Dream tackles themes without feeling preachy, despite a few questionable moments.

Story continues below

The story, which can be completed in around 10 hours focuses on three androids: a domestic servant Kara, who attends to a young girl from an abusive home: a kind servant named Markus who cares for an elderly man and law enforcement android Connor investigating reports of rogue androids with feelings. Detroit: Become Human hops between the three main characters, allowing players to connect with their everyday lives with a society which looks down on their kind. Each narrative piece links together, for a solid finale which uses all of Quantic Dream's powers to their fullest potential. The scenes are tense with last-minute decisions, putting the audiences in uncomfortable situations.

Quantic Dream

Players have to be very mindful of choices made because they can affect friendships and change the overall end-game. I love the additions of relationship management as they make each character stave for something different, with Cage using these moments to fully establish each android on their own accords. But with a project story-driven, Quantic Dream has to rely on smart writing to make up for the lack of gameplay and “Detroit” doesn’t always get those moments right. Connor’s narrative beats are constant and drive forward the lack of equality with androids - with his reactions to hard-wired partner in crime. Kara’s story pulls an emotional punch but sadly is cluttered with boring elements including cleaning up a humans house. Lastly, Markus who is given an important role as he tries to bring together revolutionary change for androids. I loved Markus’ story but the game rushes through his character development, making it hard to care about his message.

Verdict

Unlike the twist-heavy previous titles, Detroit is very predictable with themes and borrows heavily from another fiction questioning. What is humanity? And should we allow our creations to be independent instead of slaves? David Cage sadly delves into preachy dialogue in the end-game, comparing slavery in the United States to the android uprising in Detroit. The weighty topics should have given more respect, but ends up feeling unearned and forced before the credits roll.

In the end, Detroit: Become Human delivers more of the signature Quantic Dream charm engrossing players with decision heavy storytelling in the confines of an interactive format. The branching paths and solid graphical fidelity put the title in a league of its own for the Sony brand, pushing the consoles limits from various prospectives. Detroit tells an impactful story about equality and the pace technology grows in society, while there are problems Quantic Dream knocks another one out the park.

Detroit: Become Human

  • 4
Detroit tells an impactful story about equality and the pace technology grows in society, while there are problems in terms of tone. Quantic Dream pushes the console to its max while providing a solid adventure for fans and newcomers!

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