Available exclusively for PS4 on May 25, 2018
Quantic Dream is ambitious. The French studio is responsible for characters such as Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls: narrative thrillers that put the player's decision at the forefront. Detroit: Become Human occupies a similar territory, but tries to address a much broader range of issues that have already proved controversial, including domestic abuse and social divisions similar to modern political movements.
David Cage and his team are playing with fire, and I'm still not sure if the full experience will handle the issues it deals with openly with the delicacy or depth they deserve. After spending a few hours with the game, it is a mix that at the same time becomes a technical marvel in [PS4 while, at least at this moment, it does not present a story that matches its graphic prowess. Detroit: Become Human is developed in the year 2036, representing a society in which futuristic technology mixes with the metropolitan streets and the bustling inhabitants we know today. It is immediately recognizable but strangely strange, as domestic androids roam the streets performing tasks for their human superiors.
Pre-order Detroit: Become a Human of Amazon UK
Become Human takes place in a world where humanoid androids are commonplace, performing jobs previously occupied by humans while acting as personal assistants for the rich. This creates a sense of economic disparity that Quantic Dream tries to explore. However, during opening hours it is so clumsy that it seems almost comical. There are few nuances in the city of Detroit, where players are not trusted to ingest a thematic symbolism that could create something a little more attractive, potentially captivating.
You play as three main characters: Kara, Markus and Connor. They all represent different aspects of society. Kara is a domestic android responsible for cleaning, cooking and offering basic advice to her superiors. Kara is in a broken house, located between a girl and her abusive father.
After cleaning the house and being subjected to a torrent of abuse, Kara serves dinner to the disputed family. The scene that follows is a tonal nightmare, clumsily tackling the issues of mental health and domestic violence in a way that feels undeserved and immature. You are emotionally invested only because of the shock value, since it seems that none of the issues will ever be touched again.
What happens next is the catalyst for a narrative that already feels predictable, which is unfortunate considering how much potential Detroit has: Become Human.
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The second playable character, Markus, is another domestic android who works for a rich and disabled artist who believes that robotic beings should carve out their own paths, as they eventually They will surpass humanity. This angle is genuinely interesting, touching the evolution of the humanity of the androids as they learn more about the society that invented them. Are these creatures worthy of humanity given that they lack vital human components? As a figurehead of the android revolution, Markus's story establishes a secure base to explore this idea and I really hope he does.
Finally, we have Connor, who is possibly the most fun character to play, both in terms of mechanics and storytelling. It is a very advanced model that works together with the police to handle numerous delicate situations. The initial moments of Become Human cause Connor to enter an ongoing hostage situation, where a young woman is being held at gunpoint while the perpetrator wobbles on the edge of a rooftop.
The analysis of the crime scene against the illusory clock is brilliantly tense as you re-enact encounters from tests that slowly increase your chance of saving the girl. It's ridiculously soft, since Connor's vision shoots from broken windows to corpses, and all require investigation. Quantic Dream shines in those moments, which makes me wish that Detroit: Become Human is a concise thriller about crime instead of a Fisher Price version of Blade Runner.
After gathering enough evidence, you go out onto the balcony where a rampant android panics, which means you'll have to make the right decisions to peacefully resolve the matter. You are advised to walk slowly towards the suspect, choosing whether to threaten, sympathize or analyze the environment for other actions. I tried to help a nearby police officer who was bleeding, but I recoiled after knowing that it would annoy the droid carrying the gun.
This scene concluded with me guaranteeing the safety of Android before being smashed by nearby snipers. The hostage was safe and I was left with a tangible feeling of guilt. If Detroit can build on this with equally powerful scenes, a gift awaits us, although I am worried that the aforementioned issues make it difficult.
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Those who played Quantic Dreams & # 39; the previous games will feel at home immediately with Become Human, interacting with objects and performing actions using the same style of fast time events. So be prepared to rotate the analog levers, hold the triggers and shake the controller to complete sometimes servile tasks. Unfortunately, this familiarity is accompanied by the same complex problems. The camera was spinning frequently, while the movement system feels robotic, although ironically appropriate given the subject.
Fragile controls become especially evident when you are required to complete a rapid sequence of actions under pressure. Moving through a small suburban house with changing camera angles as the music expands around it is fascinating in a way, but it quickly becomes frustrating when simple mistakes can mean the death of vital characters.
Detroit: Become Human tries to make every decision important, but when you take a look at a branching options tree in the pause menu, it is clear that many scenarios have only one conclusion. It's a revolutionary leap over systems in previous games, but it's hard not to feel that losing a piece of evidence or a brief conversation with minor characters will only have a passing impact on developing history.
Quantic Dream told me that the main characters can perish in Detroit: Become Human and the narration will unfold without them, which means that the milestones in the narrative could be completely different depending on how each player behaves. I hope desperately that this leads to multiple branching angles on the issues that Quantic Dream is addressing. As, for the moment, they are too one-dimensional to leave a lasting impact that is nothing more than free.
Pre-ordered Detroit: Become a Human from Amazon UK
Latest Impressions  After playing during Detroit's opening hours: Become Human I'm excited to see more, but it seems your narrative and thematic ambition It has already been explored inside and outside the medium in much more convincing ways.
The clumsy execution of mature themes leads to dramatic moments that feel undeserved, which leads me to worry that the whole experience will make similar mistakes.
Quantic Dream has the potential to create an exciting sci-fi epic with Detroit: Become Human, but its insistence on tackling issues it runs with little impact continues to affect its chances of doing so. Without a message in its core, everything sounds hollow.