From Guest Blogger: First Person Loser
‘Detroit: Become Human’ is a game that I’ve been waiting for, for a very long time. It finally released on May 25th, over here in Ireland. I had to pick it up straight away. Ever since being entranced by Quantic Dream’s ‘KARA‘ Demo, I have patiently waited for this game, with baited breath. And I’m so delighted, and relieved to say that it does not disappoint.
After the emotional powerhouse that was ‘Heavy Rain’, versus the confusing, underwhelming hiccup that was ‘Beyond: Two Souls’ (which I really liked but a lot of folk didn’t) – the gaming world ground to a halt when Detroit was announced. The initial trailer, coupled with the visuals from the ‘KARA’ demo, had everyone’s excitement in overdrive – understandably so, because it looked fucking incredible.
Say what you will about Quantic Dream (and David Cage, in particular) but they sure do know how to make an immersive game. I’m not going to lie, QD’s games aren’t for everybody. It’s all about choice, so a lot of the play is based on dialogue bubbles and quick time events. The easiest way to sell this game to someone is by saying: “If you loved those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories when you were a kid – then this game is for you!”. The obsessive attention to detail that went into this game is simply mind-boggling. The sheer mass of storylines, game-changing influences and outcomes, weave this incredibly intricate, and very personal experience. Games like ‘Detroit’ challenge you in ways that most games don’t – every choice you make, good or bad, has a very real effect on the world of the characters. This ain’t no Mass Effect 3 Red/Blue/Green Beam scenario!
So, let’s get down to business – ‘Detroit: Become Human’ is a near-future, pseudo-dystopian cyberpunk cautionary tale revolving around three androids: Kara, who escapes the abusive owner she was serving to explore her newfound sentience, and to protect her young ward, Alice, her owner’s neglected daughter. Connor, whose job it is to hunt down these sentient androids; and Markus, who devotes himself to freeing other androids from servitude after a vicious re-birth. This a world where all AI are subservient and oppressed. All three storylines, interlink delicately and purposefully creating this rich, captivating atmosphere. I’ve seen a lot of folks saying that their play time was ten hours, max. I spent a lot more than ten hours on this game, let me tell you! It’s not long by any stretch, but I think it’s important to absorb all the details in a game like this, it’s a visual treat. Story-wise, it’s so well executed. The path that unfolds and it’s outcome is entirely up to you, but there’s so much that could possibly go wrong and end up tripping up the narrative (somewhat like the ‘Beyond: Two Souls’ scenario), but Quantic Dream has clearly learned from the mistakes of Game’s Past, and made sure to copper-fasten every possible choice into a logical thread of appropriate actions and reactions.
Each main character had their own individual score to accompany their journey, which I felt was an incredibly smart move, because it made it that bit more personal. For the majority of the game, I felt like I had forgotten that I was playing a game. I was just so invested in everything about it’s universe, I kept forgetting to come up for air. I was the same while playing ‘Heavy Rain’, I was so obsessed with the story that I couldn’t sleep properly while I was playing it, and for a few days after I’d finished– it had me that torn up! The main actors, Bryan Dechart as Connor, Jesse Williams as Markus and Valorie Curry as Kara, all annihilated their roles, it’s thanks to their amazing, compelling mo-cap and voice-over performances, that this game is so beautiful crafted.
If you’re like me and you LOOOOVE anything Sci-fi/Cyberpunk related, ‘Detroit’ is an essential pickup in your near gaming future. ‘Detroit’ has got it all; the story, score, gameplay, compelling characters, visuals – EVERYTHING! And it has so much re-playability due to the choice mechanics, no play-through will ever be the exact same. ‘Blade Runner’ is my favourite movie, and thematically, the questions it poses are very similar to ‘Detroit’, naturally due to it’s subject matter. What does it mean to be Human, or to have a soul? Who makes that call? What happens when you’re ‘more Human than Human’? In my opinion, Conor’s arc, in particular, ‘can’ be very similar to Officer K’s, in ‘Blade Runner 2049’.
Let me know if you’re thinking about picking it up – if so, let me know your thoughts when you’ve finished it!