PlayStation 4 exclusive Detroit: Become Human is better as a movie than a video game [Review]

Like David Cage’s previous works Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, this is a “game” you watch more than play, and that’s ok

Jamie Lam |

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In the future, androids are used to perform tasks humans do not want to do.

Detroit: Become Human tells the story of androids who slowly gain the ability to feel emotions, something which blurs the line between man and machine. Your decisions as one of three playable android characters throughout the roughly 8-hour journey will determine the fate of your “people”.

Those familiar with director David Cage’s earlier work (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls) will feel right at home with his latest offering. More an interactive movie than an actual video game, the gameplay elements consist of simple motions with the joysticks, QTE button presses, and the occasional physical motion that mimics a real-life action (e.g. shaking the controller up and down quickly to break out of a choke hold).

But the real purpose of Detroit: Become Human is to tell you a story, one in which you as the player take part in co-creating. Choose a violent course of action as android revolution leader Markus during a key sequence where you free your brethren from a shopping mall, and the army will respond with aggression. If you instead decide to use a pacifist approach, public opinion can sway in your favour and you advance your cause in the long term.

The same degree of choice is available to you as Kara, a housekeeper android who protects a human girl from an abusive father, and Connor, a prototype police android who is assigned with hunting down “deviant” androids that don’t obey their programming.

Connor is a prototype police detective android assigned to track down deviant androids. Which side will he choose?
Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong Ltd.

With fairly heavy-handed parallels to the civil rights movement in the United States, the plot is meant to be an inspiring and feel-good story if you make all the obviously “correct” choices. Replay value is high if you want to see the “bad” endings too, and a nifty flowchart system keeps track of all the decisions you’ve made before so you can choose different ones in future playthroughs.

Though the storyline is very predictable, the stunning cinematography and beautifully rendered graphics make this a game you’ll want to finish in one sitting. Even if Detroit: Become Human cannot be called a great video game, as an enjoyable entertainment experience, it certainly deserves your attention.

This game has been rated Mature 17+ and touches on mature themes.

Disclaimer: This review was written with a review copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment Hong Kong Limited