the_game_nerd

Detroit: Become Human - My review of the story

10 posts in this topic

Before I start I just want to say that I am getting to the point where I am over playing games for trophies, it was getting to the brink of being an addiction. I am now more interested in story driven games, I am reading books more and playing less, I have commenced a Uni course in creative writing and journalism (pretty much the same thing hey :D ) and have, just today, started a blog to record my journey. My blog will be books, movies and games, but I intend to post my game reviews on this site too. Anyway I wanted to share my experience with Detroit first up.
If you want to follow my blog you can find it here - https://total-addiction-to-fiction.blogspot.com/
 
**POTENTIAL SPOILERS THROUGHOUT**
 
This game was on my ‘to play’ list from the time it was released. I didn’t really know much about it, I knew it wasn’t an action packed game and it didn’t exactly seem to have a suspenseful or dark horror vibe, something I might normally look for in a game, but it did come across as a sci-fi mystery of some sort, and that appealed to me. The fact the game seemed to hold its price for nearly 12 months after release, meant I was late to the party in playing it. I just don’t like paying full price unless I know what I am getting or it is one of my favourite franchises, then I might pay full price no matter what. I can now safely say that I am kicking myself that I waited so long to play this, it is one of the best story driven games I have ever played.
 
The story is set in Detroit, the year is 2038 and humanoid android robots are as common as mobile phones, used for conducting all manner of tasks from cleaning and security to sports and military defence. Androids have also found their way into people’s homes, filling more intimate rolls of maids, nannies and personal assistants, and this is where our journey begins. Two of our main characters, the story path of which we will be following throughout the game, are working in such roles. Kara, a housekeeper android owned by an abusive man who also has a young daughter, and Markus who is a personal assistant for an elderly, wealthy, wheelchair bound artist. As these character’s stories begin, they quickly take, what may seem at first, a turn for the worst as their existence is thrown into turmoil; However, is it what they are going to become, not what they were built for that makes this tale. You see, there is a potential fault with androids, an error in their programming where they decide to think for themselves, disobeying their programmed orders and seeing themselves as their own person, making their own decisions and even believing they are alive. This error is referred to as Divergent, the term given to androids that have broken free of their programming and are running rouge. We are told that divergency can be triggered in androids by a traumatic event and this is exactly what happens to Kara and Marcus. Kara witnesses the young girl being abused and becomes divergent to take the girl and escape the house to safety and Marcus is put in a difficult situation as he gets involved in a family argument between his owner and his son, ultimately becoming divergent to defend himself. Now enters our third character, Connor, a police detective android specially programmed to hunt divergents, returning them to the manufacturer to be dismantled and studied to learn the cause of the divergency. The scene is set as a three-way plot begins on an ultimate collision course, with a lot of twists and dead ends along the way.
 
The morals and meanings wrapped in the narrative of this game are widespread and diverse, touching on many aspects of modern human life. It felt like there wasn’t a scene, a scenario or at some point even a conversation that wasn’t laced with moral questions that challenged who you were as a person. I found that I quickly became attached to Kara, I felt sympathetic to situation, she just wanted to get herself and the girl, Alice, to safety. She has a vision of escaping to Canada, where android laws would allow her to live free. Along the way she encounters threats, warm hearted people willing to help her as well as some cold realities that will give you that “no way!” reaction. The whole time she want’s nothing to do with the inevitable revolution that is unfolding around her, a revolution that is fuelled by one of our other characters, Marcus. While the touching mother daughter struggle for freedom story is unfolding with Kara, Marcus is fighting for the freedom of all androids, on the way raising questions and touching on subjects such as human rights, oppression and false media reporting (or ‘fake news’) all while being challenged with his own moral dilemmas, the biggest being whether to be aggressive or peaceful when pushing for android freedom. The story played out with both of these characters can easily be brushed over, played out without really thinking too deep into it, but if you really contemplate some of the situations you find yourself in you will quickly see that the game deals with some pretty heavy stuff. Now while all this is playing out our third character, Connor, is investigating the divergents, hot on their tail trying close the case on them as he is programmed to do. This is not a simple open and shut case however, as his investigations go on you are confronted with questions that tear at the fabric of who he is as a android….or a person? You will have many opportunities while following his story to make decisions, decisions that could turn Connor into a cold, programmed robot or a divergent sympathiser, in fact, even an outright divergent. The story of Connor is made all the better by Lieutenant Hank Anderson, the police detective Connor is attached to as his partner on the investigation for the divergents in Detroit. Hank adds a very real human element to the game, while you never actually get the chance to take control and play as him, he plays as much an important part in the story as the 3 playable characters. Is own personal journey throughout the game is heavily affected by your choices as the androids, and it’s interesting to see how his interactions can change.
 
I just want to touch on some of the gamification of the story, and how it adds to the overall effect. While I’m not overly interested in controls, checkpoint placement or loading screens it must be said that the graphics in this game are fantastic, some of the best I have seen on consoles. This adds to the story by making it oh-so-easy to relate and connect emotionally to the characters as it can sometimes feel you are watching a real person. The fact that you are watching a video game that looks very realistic is just compounded when you think, you are watching a very realistic video game human, that is actually an android that thinks it’s alive… it just works. Hand-in-hand with the graphics is the voice acting, it is outstanding and at no time does it feel like the lines are just being read, the characters emotions can be felt in the voices and this makes it feel all the more real. Quick time events (QTE) are sometimes seen as the bane of a gamers existence and they can draw a lot of hate as they are seen as lazy game development, however I am happy to say that the QTE’s found in Detroit are pleasurable and actually add to the story. While deeply engrossed in watching a fight take place the player’s QTE actually makes flows smoothly with what’s going on and as your thumb flashes to press the right button it connects to the impact of the next in-game movement, so much that at some points it feels like you are controlling John Wick during one of his intense combat scenes. Now it must be said, this game is a ‘choose you own adventure’ type, meaning the story can change and be vastly different depending on the decisions you make in certain situations. So, it is quite possible that 2 people are going to have very different story experiences, at least on their first time through. I played through the game twice, the second time making polar opposite decisions compared to my first run just to see what would happen. Needless to say, I had a very different game with a completely different ending. Lastly the game’s main menu, not very often would you come across a situation where the simple menu could add to the story, But I feel Detroit finds a way. Chloe is an android; she is also the main menu hostess who will comment on you progress and “talk” to you whenever you find yourself on the menu screen. As your game progresses her comments and facial features change as she starts to question who she is and why she is there, in line with the timeline of the game’s story. It get’s to the point where she asks you if you will let her leave, and you get to choose if she can go or not. I found that an amazing touch, but I was further blown away by the moral intense questionnaire she invites you too, later showing the global results so you can compare your answers to everybody else worldwide. Some classy touches that just add to the ambience of the game.
 
To conclude, Detroit is a must if you are looking for a good, narrative driven game. It is one of those stories you don’t want to end, you will want to see what happens after the credits roll and will be praying for a sequel, one that continues right where the first left off without changing a thing. Detroit will make you really think, it will give you characters you invest emotionally in, then force you to make decisions for them and show you the consequences. No matter what you decide or how you shape your story, there is enough here to keep both hardcore gamer and pure narrative lover occupied. A must have for any collection.
Edited by the_game_nerd
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Awesome review. This game sits very close to the top, if not there, of my all time favorites. Conner has become the image of a real life hero to me. This game has so much meaning. You can plat it and play a number of times and still not see it all. 

 

14 minutes ago, rabatopotatoe said:

I think this review was written by a android.

 

Ha ha. which is a compliment by this game's standards.

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2 hours ago, wildwildwest said:

Awesome review. This game sits very close to the top, if not there, of my all time favorites. Conner has become the image of a real life hero to me. This game has so much meaning. You can plat it and play a number of times and still not see it all. 

 

Cheers. Yeah the game is easily in my top 3, looking at finally getting around to playing Until Dawn soon and am looking forward to Man of Medan coming out at the end of the month.

 

3 hours ago, rabatopotatoe said:

I think this review was written by a android.

 

 

Thanks for the enlightening critique, you might actually have a point. It was a bit robotic, I will try to add a bit more personality on my next one. 😉

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I finished tonight, I’m just speechless. This novel games are one of my favorite game types EVER CREATED. 

 

 

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On 24/08/2019 at 1:23 PM, fresquinho said:

I finished tonight, I’m just speechless. This novel games are one of my favorite game types EVER CREATED. 

 

 

 

Yes I agree, when they are done right they are fantastic.

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Great game, currently playing through it. However, it won't beat Heavy Rain which was i think the best of its genre (Same publisher of course).

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On 02/09/2019 at 10:06 PM, pnepnepne said:

Great game, currently playing through it. However, it won't beat Heavy Rain which was i think the best of its genre (Same publisher of course).

Yeah I played HR when it first released on PS3, it was great but. Been meaning to replay the remastered version on PS4, I will get around to it eventually.

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I finished it today (the pacifist route at least). It is certainly an excellent game but it loses to Heavy Rain, just a little.

I have a feeling that i could enjoy the game just the same if they cut Kara out of it.It's not that i didn't like her chapters, it just felt that they weren't necessary, they didn't have a real connection with Connor's and Markus'. 

In HR every action of every character lead to the final showdown, there was a better flow.

Still i'm glad they used the same approach like in HR, meaning we played with different characters and it felt like we were putting pieces of a puzzle together until we complete it.

That is where Beyond Two Souls failed

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As much as I am negative about games that I am trying 100% or Platinum, I do happen to enjoy the stories after i've gotten the trophies. However I am not a fan of the violent playthrough. In fact I think it should be called the Toxic Playthrough. Sacrificing Markus, then driving Hank suicidal, killing Kara and Alice (though optional for a faster 3rd playthrough) hurt my soul... Especially when Hank kills himself and leaves Sumo... that S#@t hurt

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