Detroit: Become Masterpiece

Sony has done it again. Fresh off stellar acclaim for Shadow of the Colossus, MLB The Show 18, and God of War, comes their latest game, Detroit: Become Human. And, incredibly, it’s another monster of a title. Production values are off the charts, including stunning 4K graphics, Oscar-worthy acting, and one of the greatest stories ever told in all of entertainment. If you were unsure about whether Detroit would deliver, cast all doubts aside—this is a game you absolutely must play.

Detroit – the perfect setting

Detroit: Become Human takes place in Detroit, Michigan, (of course) and it’s such an ideal backdrop for this story. The city is well-known for being at the centre of the early industrial boom and later experiencing devastating job losses. If there’s one US city that understands economic highs and lows, it’s Detroit.

With that in mind, Detroit: Become Human positions the city as being a nexus of the next human revolution: androids. It takes place in the near-future year of 2038, following a company called CyberLife introducing androids into society. These aren’t the simplistic ones we know of today, but rather highly sophisticated androids capable of billions of computations per second. They’re smarter than humans, more physically capable than humans, and have taken over every menial job in the city. This includes a huge swath of city and commercial employment, and many families have purchased androids as their personal servants. All across the city, androids are everywhere.

A deviant android crisis

For reasons unknown, an increasing number of servile androids have started to become deviant. This term is used to describe androids suddenly experiencing rational thoughts, including human feelings. That’s where our three android protagonists come in: Connor, Markus, and Kara.

Connor is a member of the Detroit Police Department and has been assigned by CyberLife to investigate the growing deviant incidents. Markus is owned by a rich, older gentleman named Carl and spends his time performing routine butler tasks. Finally, Kara is owned by Todd, an unemployed citizen who lost his job to the androids.

Much like Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain, the story continuously rotates through these characters, chapter after chapter. That is, of course, provided you don’t get the androids killed—a real and rather ominous threat that hangs over the more intense scenarios. There are also hundreds of everyday situations that create ripple effects throughout your entire personalized story. Following the completion of my first run-through of the game I spoke with a few journalist friends to compare our stories. Let me just say this: the possible outcomes can be vastly, extraordinarily different.

Revolution or Peace?

From a narrative perspective, Detroit: Become Human is so great it rivals games like The Last of Us or Uncharted 4. Within the first hour of the game I was already very emotionally connected to all three main androids, and that sentiment only grew as time went on. Pacing in this game is also extraordinary. It starts out rather ordinary—and rightfully so because androids only exist to perform ordinary task. But soon the scope balloons bigger and bigger until the entire city—and beyond—get sucked into this story.

On a high level, the game tells a story about androids who have inexplicably begun to question their situations. Some start dreaming of having a free life away from human servitude, and a few brave ones actually escape. Where to take it from there is in your hands: do you start a revolution to end android enslavement, or do you peacefully approach humans to demand equal rights? It’s a huge decision with far-reaching effects across the entire roughly 15-hour campaign.

Hundreds of scenarios

Detroit: Become Human is the first game in years to keep me on the edge of my seat during the entire playthrough. There were no lulls or dull points, I was invested in every conversation and every scenario. The writing is better than extraordinary—it’s practically flawless. I laughed, I cried, I felt the horror of some decisions and indulged in the sweetness of others. This is an intensely emotional game that I will never, ever forget.

What is so fascinating about this game is how many different outcomes are possible. Your decisions affect relationships, good or bad, and can occasionally result in perma-death of specific characters. Based on your choices scenarios can play out vastly different—and you may even experience entirely different scenes than other players. I’m not talking about minor differences either, but rather outcomes that are so different they’re practically two separate stories. As a result, Detroit: Become Human is a game that practically begs multiple playthroughs.

Phenomenal presentation

Take one look at Detroit: Become Human and it’s obvious: this game is stunning. World-class graphics, incredible lighting effects, impressive textures, and fluid animations are just the beginning. Few games have ever looked this great, especially playing on a PS4 Pro on a 4K TV. This is, without a doubt, a graphical showcase that gives games like Horizon: Zero Dawn a run for its money.

Moreover, the acting in this game is top-rate and really pulls you in deep. You’ll probably recognize several characters, including Brian Dechart (True Blood), Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), and Valorie Curry (The Twilight Saga), who play Connor, Markus, and Kara, respectively. They’re backed by an experienced supporting cast, and collectively the whole group has tremendous chemistry. There are so many memorable scenes and the superb acting is a huge part of this.

Props also goes to the camera work, which does a great job accentuating the mood, and the stellar soundtrack that heightens the moment-to-moment action. From a presentation standpoint, everything just comes together perfectly.

Final Thoughts

Detroit: Become Human is simply exquisite. It’s Quantic Dream’s best effort yet, topping Heavy Rain, and I’d say by a wide margin. That’s saying a lot considering how groundbreaking Heavy Rain was.

Everything comes together in Detroit flawlessly. Exceptional writing, pristine visuals, a phenomenal soundtrack, and superb acting. There are hundreds of possible outcomes and most players I can see replaying the game several times over discovering more paths. From beginning to end I was on the edge of my seat.

Going into Detroit I wasn’t sure if it would be a good game, or a great game. It turned out to be something even better: another PlayStation 4 masterpiece. Not only is it one of the best games this gen, it’s one of the best games in history. We’ve heard Sony’s motto time and again, and it’s true, Greatness does Await. Treat yourself by playing this game.

+ A story you’ll never forget 
+ 100s of potential narrative paths 
+ AAA presentation 
+ Oscar-worthy acting performances
+ Edge of your seat action
+ A brilliant soundtrack
+ Plenty of replay value

– Character movement is slow and a bit stiff

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 5/5
Sound: 5/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating: 4.9/5 (98%)

Get Detroit: Become Human for PlayStation 4

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