Earlier this week the demo for Detroit: Become Human was released. The demo is a play-through of the first mission of the game called, “The Hostage”.
Although God of War has only just been released, Sony’s quick to hype up their next exclusive. The exclusive itself is based on that heart-wrenching-yet-kind-of-creepy tech demo Quantic Dream released in 2012 called Kara.
Title: Detroit: Become Human
Release Date: 25th May 2018
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Quantic Dream
Like any honest reviewer I admit, I’m a little biased. I’m a fan of David Cage games. I thoroughly enjoyed Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, though I feel both games are rather lacklustre in replayability (I also feel the same could be said for any choice-base narrative).
Graphically Detroit: Become Human is stunning. It was the first thing I noticed. How beautiful the lighting set up is for such a dark space and the glossy reflections from the fish tank. Small details like the seams of Connor, our Android character’s, jacket and the the texture of the shadows from plants in the room are noticeably rendered outside of cutscenes with next to no visible transition into the real time gameplay. It’s smooooth.
Who is Connor?
Connor will be one of the three playable characters within the game. All we know so far is that Connor is a police model who is tasked with finding other androids who have gone “off the rails” as such.
Both the actor, Bryan Dechart, and the developers have done an amazing job with making Connor seem empathetic enough to be believed but just dead inside enough that you’re reminded he isn’t real.
He has a Batman-like ability of recreating the crime scenes to collect clues very similar to Norman Jaden’s character in Heavy Rain. It’s nice to see how Cage’s previous work is inspiring and being built upon in newer titles especially with the current development technology. It’s pretty cool and makes me wonder what abilities our two other characters, Kara and Markus, will receive.
How do you play?
If you’ve never played a title by Quantic Dream then I should note majority of gameplay is based on choice and QTEs with sections of wandering around to unlock different dialogue options, gather information/clues, generally take in the view and inevitably end up at the next decision. Detroit: Become Human appears so far to be no different.
However, what catches my interest is the sheer amount of pathways and outcomes the player is able to take. The demo alone has 6 different outcomes and even more paths before you get there. With two difficulty settings offered, the Experienced mode warns of the choices you make could lead to the loss of a character. And it can….in the first scene of the entire game.
Character loss will never lead to a game over.
I’m interested to see how much of the demo is the full first scene or if it is in fact the entirety of it. A gameplay trailer from last year featured a choice outcome where the character of Kara could also be killed.
The only warning I can possibly give is choices in this game seem to lead to extremely different experiences, not just a one of two paths scenario. So if your game turns out to be ‘boring’ with less action sequences taking place, your own decision making will be to blame.
My issue with android sentience.
A side note I’d like to briefly mention is my fear with this title. A complaint often made with choice-based narratives is that there is not enough consequence or variety of consequence after a decision has been made. The demo made me feel as if there was more at stake not just from responses to my dialogue options but also from how much time I was taking. The game gives you a percentage of how many people also got your specific outcome. With the demo I noticed most people got the same ending.
The issue I take with this is because this is going to be a game about androids developing sentience and a human consciousness. A game played by humans (I assume most players are human). As different as we all are, and sometimes these games reveal more about us than we’d like to admit such as (SPOILER WARNING) the decision to drop Ben from the bell tower in season one of TellTale’s The Walking Dead Game, we all tend to pick what we believe is right. But our character’s are androids and we will all inevitably pick the human response.
As an example: In the gameplay trailer showing Kara witnessing the domestic abuse of a 10-year-old girl, the father tells Kara to stay put as he goes up to murder his child. Realistically, the android would follow the instruction of their owner and have no emotional response to the death of the child. As a player and human being, (normally) you wouldn’t allow the father to do that and break the command and save the girl at the risk of your own life. The human response is to save the child. I think a majority will pick the morally ‘right’ decisions on a first playthrough thus resulting in another outpour of complaints for lack of consequence when the consequences and choices are there, it is up to you as the player to make them.
It’s a mild worry and probably not one I should really have as it’s more an observation on human morality than anything. …This got deep.
I really liked this demo and I’m excited for what is to come. I’ve been excited about this game since it was announced and it’s been great to finally see it in action. I highly recommend giving this game a shot whether you’re a fan of previous Quantic Dream products or you’ve never played one before or even if you’ve hated them in the past. This demo might change your mind!
See our android friends develop their sentience on May 25th!