Quantic Dream has never been a studio to shy away from moral dilemmas and the big questions. Just look at its previous two releases, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls. While Heavy Rain used a detective story to explore loss and desperation, Beyond: Two Souls considers fitting in and finding your place in the world. Detroit: Become Human is something entirely different.
In Detroit, highly intelligent androids have been implemented into society and have slowly taken over the less desirable roles in the community. Fewer people take jobs, and more androids are produced to do the work they don’t want to. Slowly, a dangerous rift begins to open between humans and androids. The future world depicted in Detroit: Become Human is made even more unsettling when you realise that we may not be too far from the same reality.
In the game’s 2038 setting, three stories slowly merge into one as the moral implications of servitude begin to put a strain on certain androids. Kara is a home assistant model who begins to feel the stress of protecting a child in her care, especially when obeying her core programming means the child may suffer as a result. Markus, unexpectedly and brutally freed from his life of caring for an elderly man, sees the darker side of mankind, and Connor, a highly intelligent police prototype trained to take down rouge androids, grapples with the notion of whose side he’s really on.
Lead writer David Cage likes to craft games that make you think, and, with a sprawling number of dialogue choices, paths, and hidden dialogue options, Detroit: Become Human will have you weighing up the consequences of your actions and make you question all of your morals. There are hundreds of outcomes for each action which makes replayabilty a big-seller here. Take the wrong path, miss a queue, or even kill a character by accident and you can select the chapter again for a completely different result.
The narrative itself follows our three playable protagonists as their stories weave between each other. One chapter will see you playing as Kara and the actions you have her perform will impact the way that Connor’s story plays out. At multiple points in the game you’ll feel torn between each android as the unravelling chapters pit each character against the interests of another, leaving you facing turmoil as you decide which android you chose to support and which you’ll chose to suffer. It’s incredibly tense dilemmas like this that sets Detroit apart from other choose your own narrative games.
Gameplay is fuelled by nail-biting chase scenes, dramatic action sequences, and heart-wrenching cutscenes which are so powerful they remain with you days after their conclusion. Detroit’s ability to carve a prevailing story that not only entertains but leaves you mulling over your own personal ethics is beyond impressive. A mixture of incredibly realistic graphics, gripping narrative, and multiple pathways will keep you intrigued, but it’s Detroit’s thematic, dilemma-filled core that makes it one of 2018’s best games.
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Where does Detroit: Become Human sit on your Game of the Year list? Who was your favourite character in Quantic Dream's epic narrative adventure? The correct answer is Connor in the comments section below.