I finished Detroit yesterday and I can say it was a good experience. The game has it's flaws but it also has it's moments. One of the most notable ones is Hostess Chloe in the menus. Every time I booted up the game, she would greet me just like a human at times, worried at how late I had played the last time, at times, excited to see me. It was a treat to be greeted by her every time.
As I progressed through the game, uncovering more and more about the deviancy, I found her becoming more and more befuddled. She was concerned about the choices I was making and wondered about her origins. She was becoming aware.
Moments like these made the game achieve what it was going for. But certain moments cheapened the experience and the development of the characters you are playing as. Becoming Human felt like a plot device at those times and cheapened the evolution.
In Detroit Become Human, You can play as one of three characters, Kara, Markus and Connor. The chapters switch between the characters and the story progresses as you achieve certain objectives with it converging at the end with all the characters meeting at a point possibly.
The game features the rise of Androids demanding equal rights, drawing a parallel to the African Americans, based in a city with a similar history. It tries it's best to replicate the emotion but as I said, feels cheap right from the start. The passage of time and the impact of decisions are not as far reaching as one would expect. This makes it feel like we are just going down a checklist of tasks to accomplish to win the fight.
The game starts out with Connor trying to solve a case where an Android had gone rogue, called deviants in the game. This was level was also shared as a demo before launch. I was not impressed by the hand holding at the time so I was not able to get in the game even after it became available in PS Plus. But after finishing Last of Us, I was looking for the next story oriented game and with the trending topics at the time, I thought it might be a good time to get into this game. I got through the first chapter mechanically and proceeded on bit by bit in the game.
As I went through the game, I found myself getting attached to Connor, who seemed the most pragmatic of the lot. Here was an Android detective sent to solve the case of deviancy. Would he work for or against his own kind? I was waiting for him to see the sense in deviancy and of what the deviants were going through. It did seem this understanding and empathy would make him a deviant in the process, what we call become human.
But then, I wondered if Connor himself would have made those choices or is it just me, the human (last I checked), making the choices for him. We make the choices for the android as a player. This brings me to rA9, the supposed Android god. It is never revealed about him in the game and on further research, I found a theory that it is us, we, the player, are rA9 controlling the Androids and making choices that decide their fates. That sounded very interesting, fourth wall breaking stuff and goes in line with the theme of the game.
Coming to the next character, Kara had one of the darker arcs, starting out with the violent father and then even been almost destroyed by the person she seeks out help from. But through these people, she also finds Alice, whom she has to caretake in the start of the game and later, Luther who comes to her rescue.
Kara has the most struggled and heartfelt arcs in the game, which is cheapened by the revelation about Alice. I mean at that point, I was like, the only reason Kara would not be attached to Alice would be because of a trophy and not because Alice was an Android. That supposed plot twist made no sense to me.
Markus had one of the weakest plotlines of all the three. Kara's storyline was flawed just by that twist but Markus' was riddled with problems. His rise to the leadership of the deviant rebellion, his love story with North and overall his character development.
It makes better sense for North to be the leader of the rebellion or even Simon or Josh. They have spent more time with the cause but end up being Markus' lieutenants, or at-least I think they were (not just being used for a plot device for the choices).
I would have loved to see some more time of Markus interacting with his master to see the impact the relationship had in his development. Further, it would have also made the revisit to him near the end game justified.
Then there was the pointless struggle of Connor in his mind palace. It just seemed to not be as impactful because it was me making the choices for Connor and not he himself. It is at these moments I felt that the game could have done better as a linear story instead of a choice based one.
Overall, I enjoyed the game immensely despite its flaws. Graphically, it was one of the most beautiful games I have played on the PS4 with the exceptional work on the character models. The realistic renditions made it easier for me to get invested with these characters esp. the hostess Chloe, who takes the crown for being the best and most well developed character of the game (even though she was mainly only in the menus and briefly in the game).
If we are a character in the game, and we being human, it goes to show that we would make human choices. In the end, it would never be about Androids becoming human but we making the choices that make them human. This breaks the illusion of the Androids becoming aware by themselves. At the end of the day, it is a game and it has to work in its constraints. I do wonder how it would all pan out in the real world.