What does it mean to be human? Detroit: Become Human
This isn’t a review, it’s a love story.
2019 has been a rough one for me, since the year began it’s just been this endless stream of chaos and somewhere, within all of the madness, I’ve found myself not really sitting down to play games anymore and as a result forgetting why I fell in love with gaming in the first place. When I woke up last week with the onset of flu after having a blinding migraine that lasted for pretty much the entire weekend and decided that instead of just lying in bed feeling sorry for myself I would curl up on the couch and put on one of the games I’ve had in my backlog for the longest time, Detroit Become Human, I went into it with 0 expectations.
It wasn’t until my partner told me that I really should go to bed, that I realised I’d been so engrossed in the game that more than 24 hours had passed and it was once again, daylight outside and the spark of magic that I hadn’t even noticed was missing in my life, had once again, along with the daylight, returned.
Without going into anything that would be considered “spoilers” (because quite honestly the best way to go into Detroit is blind) here are the very basics of the game:
Detroit: Become Human is the latest cinematic masterpiece from Quantic Dream, the studio that brought us Heavy Rain (next up on my backlog) and Beyond: Two Souls, which also happens to be one of my favourite games that I wrote about here.
It’s a choice based adventure game that has you follow the intertwined stories of three vastly different androids who exist pretty much as slaves in the not-to-distant future in Detroit.
You play as Kara (Valorie Curry) a housekeeper and nanny; Connor (Bryan Dechart) an advanced prototype, designed to assist law enforcement and Markis (Jesse Williams) a domestic assistant owned by a famous painter – as they each seek to find out what humanity means to them and ultimately to have control over their own stories… or you know, let you have control over those stories for them.
The game will take you about 37 hours to finish and can end in over 1000 different combinations (and no, that’s not a typo) with all of your characters either making it out alive or not, depending on the choices you make.
When you’re dealing with a game that has so many choices that influence your game so vastly it’s almost impossible not to lose yourself in their stories, and to find yourself constantly battling with the moral conundrum of what is the easy choice to make and what is ultimately the right one.
The whole game is like being stuck in a moral tumble drier, being spun around and around just hoping that the choices that you make will ultimately lead them along the path you want for your characters.
Now for the love story:
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy games where I can just sit down and mindlessly play with my friends as much as the next person, but more often than not I enjoy those types of games because of the social aspect and not because the game itself is life-changing, or thought-provoking in any way. With Detroit it was just me, my tissues and the game, alone together for two days straight, and the Arielle that came out of it at the end was not the same Arielle who went into it.
I think that it’s really easy for our lives to fall into a routine where we tend to forget to stop and question the things that we’re doing and saying, we get comfortable and even if that comfort is bad for us, for the most part, we don’t like rocking the boat that is our lives. With Detroit: Become Human, no matter how you choose to play it, comfort is not a luxury you’re afforded. From the moment you start playing changes are happening constantly and you’re forced to question absolutely everything you say and do – and at least for me, that’s exactly the mind shift I needed.
It’s not often that I get to play something that can take me right back to why I fell in love with gaming in the first place, to where I can’t get the game out of my head even after I’m done playing it, to where I’m sitting in front of my screen questioning my own life and my own path that I’m on, but Detroit did all of that.
Since finishing the game I’ve gone back and replayed countless parts of it, just to see if my outcome would be different. I’ve debated my choices with those around me to see how they would have responded, and more importantly, I’ve found the reason I love games again: it gives us the chance to be whoever and whatever we want to be and to take control of our own stories. I don’t often think that a particular game is for everyone, we have so much variety today that you can pick and choose something that would suit you, but I honestly think that everyone, regardless of the types of games that they usually find themselves gravitating towards, should play Detroit: Become Human – if for no other reason than for 30 or so hours it will have them question everything they thought they believed in, and maybe, just maybe, fall in love with a game again.
This is usually the point where I ask you to let me know if you’ve played the game before and to let me know what you thought about in the comments below, and I will, but this time I’m also giving you something that I’ve had on repeat since finishing the game, something as amazing as the game itself, the soundtrack – enjoy:
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