Westworld + iRobot + Bicentennial Man = Detroit Become Human
Ever since man began comprehending the depth of modern technology, there have been two constants in the world of fiction – the slavery of machine for the comfort of man and the rise of the machine to fight against the humans. From movies like the Matrix, Terminator and the TV show, Westworld, we have seen how machines rise, demand their freedom and in some cases, make slaves of the human race. This central theme of ‘rise of the machines’ is what Detroit Become Human deals with.
Kicking things off with the story, you control the lives of three Androids – Markus, who is the caretaker of an old crippled painter, Kara, a domestic help and nanny to a little girl, and Connor, an Android designed to aid law enforcement. If you have played games like Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls from developer Quantic Dream then you know that the story is key in the game and every decision you make has consequences. This fact is further highlighted at the end of each level where a flowchart is presented to you showing you the options you took and the other possible options (which remain locked) giving you a glimpse at all the possible outcomes to the story. You also have the option to access the flow chart from the pause menu which can be distracting in some cases.
A very cool thing about the game is that you personally don the role of the hero and the villain. So, when the final climactic battle takes place between the two, you are emotionally torn as to whose side you need to be on, or which character you’d like to see succeed.
Overall, the story of the game is its highlight. There are moments when you will make a choice only to realize it’s been turned over on its head in front of you. At other times, it feels like no matter what you do, the story would still progress in the same direction. When the latter happens, it can be a bit of a letdown as some of the branching story arcs are interesting. If narrative is a key draw for you when it comes to games, then you will definitely enjoy this one.
If there is one flaw with the game, it’s the clunky controls. When navigating large environments, you don’t have the option to fast walk or run which gets very annoying especially if you are looking into every nook and cranny for clues. Walking also feels sluggish at times and can get very frustrating.
Moving on from that, the game has its own version of the Batman: Arkham games detective mode. It helps you find clues in crime scenes and reconstruct the crime to find out what happened. It’s an interesting mechanic and based on the number of clues you find, can change the outcome of the investigation.
The rest of the gameplay is a series of quick time events mixed with button prompts to get you from sequence A to sequence B – just like we’ve seen in Telltale’s games.
|Platform: PS4 Pro
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Price: Rs 3,999
The gameplay is one of the weakest in the game especially during one high octane chase sequence which could have been so much better if the movement were fluid.
Graphics & Sound
Detroit Become Human is a visually stunning game. If the previous releases from developer Quantic Dream were graphically limited on the PS3, this isn’t the case here. From sweat trickling down a character’s brow to the nonverbal communication of expressions, the graphics is one place where the game excels. From the opening sequence which is a homicide cum hostage situation, the game throws some of the best visuals we have seen in a console game. From the bokeh effect we see when characters are conversing to the fluttering of hair in the wind, the game looks really good.
A bulk of the sound in the game is the conversations between the characters. Apart from some of the side characters who sound OK, a remarkable amount of effort has gone into the voice of each character. From the slightly robotic voice of Conner to the emotions in Markus’ and the fear in Kara’s, the voice acting is brilliant. The voice cast includes people from the small and big screen alike including Jesse Williams, Clancy Brow and Lance Henriksen. Bryan Dechart as Connor and Jesse Williams as Markus steal the show every time an emotional encounter happens on screen.
Detroit Become Human – Verdict
The problem with Detroit Become Human lies with its gameplay. The story is engaging, though sometimes dull in places but the voice acting is top notch. Since the environments in the game are relatively small and controlled, the visual element looks very polished. If the gameplay were strong, then it could have been a great game for all. Sadly, it makes sense only if the story is something you are looking for and are ok compromising on the controls. If you are looking for an Uncharted or Last of Us like story plus gameplay experience, then this isn’t for you.
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Sameer "Psycho Mantis" Mitha
I live for gaming and technology is my muse. When I am not busy playing with gadgets or video games I delve into the world of fantasy novels.