Hey, Gamers! So, I played a new game! Shocker, right? I actually really liked it, so I thought I would do a game review! Obviously… otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. So, here’s my game review for Detroit: Become Human!
So, I really need to preface this with the fact that just after I started playing this game, I got diagnosed with Autism. I say this because I used this game a lot as an example for how things affect me sensory wise, so I will be talking about that a little bit, especially in the sound and gameplay sections. But without digressing further, here we go!
The music and voice acting are pretty good in this game. The sound effects (such as footsteps, the rain and so on) are as they should be. However, this game takes sound a little further. The characters are androids, so if a part is missing, their hearing would be affected and that shows in the game. There is a particular chapter where one of the main characters ends up in a junkyard (that actually can happen a few times in the game for several of the characters so I wouldn’t class this as a spoiler), and some of his parts are missing. You have to dig around the junkyard to find compatible parts from other androids. I bring this up because the sound is painful. The sound is just as you expect it would be, but it’s not something you would really think they would care about putting in so I very much appreciate it. You can still hear things, it’s just there is clearly something missing. When the character finds the part, the sound is restored back to normal and it made me feel thankful for being able to hear clearly. The voice acting, like I said, is pretty great in this game. The emotions of the characters are important to the story, and you can hear them clearly with most of the characters. The music is also rather fitting, changing to increase tension or to soften the moment.
When companies like Bethesda and Rockstar are as big as they are, we as gamers expect glitches in games. As long as the games are fun to play, we tend to ignore any bugs that creep up. After at least three full playthroughs of Detroit: Become Human, it can be safely said that this game has very limited glitches or bugs (in my experience). The characters all move like they should, scenes load in well. The rain lands on the floor well (as weird as that sounds). There have been moments in the game where I forgot I was playing a game and thought I was watching a live-action movie (although they are only brief moments).
The game is very linear in the sense of you get to play as the characters, but you can only do certain aspects. However, it is almost like a choice-based game (along the lines of Life Is Strange and Until Dawn). The game is chapter-based, and what happens depends heavily on your choices and actions. You get to play as three different characters, all of them being androids. They are very different characters and you get to experience their lives when their worlds change. As for actually playing the game, there are quite a few cutscenes, but none of which are long enough for you to feel comfortable putting the controller down. The controls of the game resemble the character’s actions. For example, if you have to crawl, you will have to press L2 for so long to control the left arm, and then R2 to control the right. In the scene that I previously mentioned, when the character is getting parts from the other androids, you have to button mash or hold a button as he struggles to remove the part. However, when the character is really to put the parts in himself, he just jabs it in so it’s just a quick button press. It almost feels like he’s shoving it in swiftly and sharply, as though ripping off a bandage. If you play in hard mode, there are motion controls which is something that I have always been impressed within games. It does not happen often, but it is used effectively and consistently throughout the game. There are quite a few different controls, but none of them are used for the sake of it. The gameplay experienced is only more immersive with the more complex controls.
So at the end of each chapter, the player gets given a flowchart of their actions. It shows that things are missing. You can’t do everything or get every magazine in one playthrough. However, because the story can change so much with each decision each of the three main characters take when you play it again, the story could be completely different. This is most notable with the character of Connor, as the player gets to make more impactful choices while playing as him.
This story is impactful, emotional and very touching. There will be spoilers for the game from this point forward. This part needs to be split into three as the story is told through three different perspectives and three different stories.
Kara’s story starts in a Cyberlife shop, where Todd comes to pick her up. The shop assistant mentions that the android (Kara) was pretty broken when Todd brought her in. Todd dismisses it as saying she was hit by a car. We find out immediately that Alice, Todd’s daughter, named the android Kara.
As the story progresses, we meet Alice and find out that Todd is abusive (towards both Alice and Kara). The game plays out so that the player feels a need to protect Alice, so when the time comes, the player goes to protect Alice and has the chance to actually kill Todd. Both Alice and Kara can die in this scene.
When Kara and Alice leave, they find a place to say somewhere (either a car, an abandoned house or a motel). Connor and Hank almost catch them the next day, so they run across a very busy road. Kara, Alice and Connor can all die on this road. If Kara and Alice survive, they go to Zlatko’s house after an android told them about it in a previous chapter. They go there with the hopes of being safe. They just want to be safe. I typically don’t put my thoughts and feelings in this section (or at least I try not to) but as someone who has been in several abusive homes and has been homeless, this story really hits all the spots that it should. All they want is to be safe. That shouldn’t be hard, but because they live in an anti-android society, it is. So naturally, when Zlatko offers to help them, they jump at the chance. There is a chance that Kara’s memory gets set here, but a powerful aspect of that route is how easy it is for her to regain her memory because of Alice. She loves Alice so much that she has to regain her memory. It is such a powerful aspect to the story, to their story.
At this point, Luther joins Kara and Alice as they strive towards their new goal- Canada. This means that there is now a goal for the androids, instead of wandering around looking for a safe place. Crossing the border is harder than it probably should be, though. Kara meets a lot of different people while trying to get a fresh start with Alice and Luther, such as the Jerrys, the mutilated androids (also that is in Zlatko’s house) and Rose. Rose is a human who sympathises with androids in a time where she could probably be arrested for it. She is the one who helps them cross the border but to tie the stories together, she directs Kara, Alice and (if alive) Luther to Jericho, which will be talked about in much more detail in the other two stories, but for now, what is important is that Kara meets Markus. This game ties three different stories together in a way that it seems natural for them to be like that. It is beautifully crafted, and the fact that what the player does as Markus can heavily affect Kara’s chance of successfully crossing the border is something that was rather powerful to witness.
While playing the game, you have these three separate stories of these three very different characters with very different objectives. It feels… small, almost, putting it like that. By pulling all the loose ends together, the player realises that there is much more going on than just these three stories. It’s most impactful at the end of Kara’s story when they make it all the way to the border and if Markus conducts a revolution, they just get shot right there and then. Of course, this is only one ending and one route but it is such a powerful one.
Kara’s story takes almost a back seat in comparison to Connor’s and Markus’. The other two are so involved in deviants and the android cause, whereas all Kara wants is to protect Alice.
Markus’ story is a rather sad one, yet so powerful. He had a good life when the game started. He was the android to Carl Manfred, a painter. Carl was involved in an accident before the game that resulted in him being a paraplegic. Markus was a gift to Carl from Elijah Kamski, who is the inventor of androids and the former CEO of Cyberlife. Carl loved Markus like a son. Markus had a good life, especially in comparison with other androids you can see around the city. However, that all changed when an argument with Leo, Carl’s son, became physical. The police showed up and shot Markus right on the spot, showing that whatever the situation, android lives really do not matter to the police.
With the obvious hint towards police brutality when handling minority groups aside, the player does not expect to see Markus again. Only, his story is much more than an android who was treated right by his owner getting shot because of his owner’s son. So much more.
After waking up in the junkyard, Markus finds useable parts to fix his broken ones, climbs up the mountain of android bodies and sets off on a mission to find Jericho. He’s lost, essentially. At this point, Carl is either dead or deteriorating (Markus probably didn’t want to just go back to the house he just got shot at). He has nowhere to go, so when one of the destroyed androids momentarily boots up to tell him about Jericho, he starts there.
Markus is arguably the most interesting of all three main characters because he started off being treated right by his owner. He ends up leading either a revolution or a peaceful protest and can potentially save all androids. He started off with a privileged life in comparison to other androids… only to be the one to lead them to freedom.
There’s a lot of gameplay aspects that are really fun and interesting, and his story is intriguing. This game could have been done with just Markus, really. However, the other characters you get to play as very much compliment the story. Actions taken as Markus have large effects on public opinion, which heavily impact how you play the game and who lives or dies.
Connor is the most complicated of the three main characters to write about, as you get much larger choices with him. Connor is a deviant hunter, working with Detroit Police to track down any deviants that happen to get in trouble with the law (whether that be by committing a crime like murder or running away from an unsafe environment). Connor always accomplishes his mission, which is jeopardised when he is paired with Hank. Hank doesn’t like androids, and he doesn’t like Connor. He has been working in the police force for a very long time, and the player quickly gets a sense of someone that has given up on life from Hank. Over the course of the game, Connor can either follow his programming or listen to his heart. Hank heavily encourages the latter, to the point where most of the decisions that can open up the option for Connor himself to become deviant are based on Hank and how Connor treats him.
Connor is the only character that comes back to life after he dies in the game. After all, he is working with the police and therefore he is needed. So… he doesn’t come back to life as much as he gets replaced by a different Connor.
It’s through Connor that you learn in detail about the ‘war’ between humans and androids, as he is a key part in it. Connor’s story has a lot more world-building, in the sense of putting what is going on in Markus’ and Kara’s stories into perspective. You can see both sides of the ‘war’ through Connor’s eyes. You learn a lot about the police and their roles, about Cyberlife and the creator of androids, and you see the tensions rise before the ‘war’. Connor is much more involved on the humans side than Markus and Kara, so it’s more thrown in your face when playing his story.
Going back to the fact that the decisions you make as Connor being much larger than those made as Kara and even Markus, Connor has life and death at his fingertips several times throughout the game. He knows that if he arrests Kara in the chapter ‘On The Run’, she will be destroyed. Kara can die whilst trying to escape him. Markus can die several times because of Connor. There are other androids who can die because of Connor (such as Simon and Carlos’ android).
The most important decision you can make as Connor is whether or not he becomes deviant. Some players may not have the option to become deviant, depending on how they play (as it is based on Connor’s software instability). Depending on which one you pick, the game goes down two completely different routes. Both of them are equally as interesting to see, and the story of both of them is worth playing the game again. The choices you make as Connor strongly affect a lot of the game, but the story doesn’t lack whenever it branches off like it sometimes did in other games.
I think it is easy to say that I adored this game with every fibre of my body. It really came into my life at the time when I needed it most. The story helped me cope with my new diagnosis, the gameplay was… well… I’ve never enjoyed playing a game so much because of the gameplay. I’ve never been able to say “it feels good to play that game” before I played this game. The vibrations of the controller are just right, the motion senses come along frequently enough to be enjoyable yet not too much that it’s annoying.
It’s not a hard game, even when you play it on hard mode (which I don’t recommend if you have any issues with you arms or shoulders). It’s a game that is there for the story, which I have always said is what I look for first in games. I cannot get into a game unless there is a good story, and this one got me interested straight away.
I played about two chapters a night, some of them are longer and some of them are shorter. It was nice to play, I really appreciated the story, and it has easily become one of my favourite games. The only issue that I had with the whole game was in the chapter ‘From The Dead’, I had an issue sensory wise as the sound hurt my ears. I can’t see that being much of an issue for anyone who doesn’t have sensory issues- if anyone has the same problem, you can turn your sound right down until Markus finds the thing that goes in his ear. Wait a few seconds after that, and then you’ll be good.
Overall Rating- 9.3/10