Title: Detroit: Become Human
Developer: Quantic Dream
Release Date: December 12, 2019
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: Quantic Dream
Genre: Adventure / Action
Initially released for Playstation 4 in 2018, Detroit: Become Human is Quantic Dream’s latest production. Such as with previous titles, Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, this title is heavenly focused on emotional storytelling. Detroit: Become Human is now on PC. Set in a not-so-distant future where humans and androids co-exist, redefining the turmoil that is life.
Directed by David Cage, Detroit: Become Human portrays a new step into humankind’s evolution, one where Artificial Intelligence has a face and a body. Androids became a part of everyone’s daily routine and took over many of the day-to-day tasks of humans.
Police forces, nurses, housekeepers, you name it, there’s an android for each situation, even for those looking for the perfect lover. But at what cost must we consume artificial life? Are they slaves, deprived of feelings and rights? That is the central question the game enrolls players in, to wonder if there indeed exists a ghost in the shell.
Pardon my comparison, but after watching Ghost in the Shell, or even playing Binary Domain or Deus Ex, there’s not much Detroit: Become Human can deliver outside of the emotional narrative that it relies heavily upon. Those elements combined save the game from complete mediocrity, which I can certainly appreciate.
The substantial visual factor, aligned with the charismatic efforts to detail this new way of life, allow players to connect with the flow of the game. The story revolves around three different androids, Connor, a Policeman in charge of finding glitchy androids, Kara a housekeeper in a broken home, and Markus, who learns there’s a place for consciousness within his cold mechanical body. All these androids share one thing in common; their minds opened up to a new evolution, one humanity may not see fit.
A lot can be said about the narrative, as players are confronted with notions of humanization and philosophy. The technicalities of this drama breaches into unique outcomes that highlight the narrative conceptualization, through well-developed connections.
Being as general as possible, the story is excellent, with unpredictable events and emotional twists that make it easy to keep playing for hours. The actors who portray the face and voice of the character, Valorie Curry (Kara), Bryan Dechart (Connor), and Jesse Williams (Markus) do a fantastic job of bringing these cybernetic characters to life.
Gameplay-wise, Detroit: Become Human is entirely story-based, which is nothing new to fans of Quantic Dream. Assuming the role of a character allows you to interact with objects and other NPCs to progress the storyline. The game is divided by episodes, which follows the three characters until their paths cross.
There are plenty of paths to choose from, with different results depending on the player’s decisions. New routes can even be locked, which makes replaying a must. To organize all this, players can check their options and unlocked paths at the end of each episode, and even accumulate points to unlock extras.
Two difficulty modes are available that entirely distinguish your experience completely. The Casual mode goes easier on the player by providing fewer chances for the character to die. Experienced mode delivers a genuine experience with immersive results. Some dialogue choices have a time-limit, which requires fast thinking, and the same can be said for those who like to explore. Some scenes are just time scripted, and you cannot pick up every line or item.
Exploration is a bit rough on the edges and not entirely smooth as it might look. Players can change camera angles for a different perspective using the mouse or analog stick. However, it doesn’t feel natural or fluid. After playing with both keyboard and mouse and a gamepad, the experience turned out to be better with the controller.
Mouse remapping is limited, and the same goes for camera options. Using the mouse to interact with objects requires players to wiggle the mouse in specific angles, which is absurd. This is where the gamepad comes in, making this mechanic feel far more natural. Specific gimmicks like these remind us that Detroit: Become Human is a console port.
The optimization is another interesting topic, where Quantic Dream tried to make a good PC Port when it comes to settings, but in the end, it’s still somewhat of a mess. Before playing, expect between 15 to 30 minutes for shaders to be compiled on the first startup. After that, it’s clear the minimum and recommended settings are not correct. In fact, the Recommended ones should be the Minimum. Locking the framerate at 30 will solve many of the issues, even for those with low/medium tier hardware such as the GTX 1060 and AMD’s equivalent RX 580.
Detroit: Become Human indeed looks impressive, but it’s also true that between Low and Maximum setting, the difference it’s barely noticeable. Worse even is the optimization for CPUs. Not to mention, it’s recently been proved that using Denuvo as a DRM protection will create stutters, so how far is Detroit: Become Human suffering from it? I guess the overall experience speaks for itself. VRam usage seems to be okay, which is reasonable considering the whole scenario.
Detroit: Become Human is genuinely beautiful, with impressive facial expressions and impeccable lip-sync. Cutscenes bring life to the world and characters to make you feel like you’re genuinely a part of this narrative. The environment is vibrant, detailed, and authentic. Audio is impressive, with voiced dialogue worthy of the big screen.
Detroit: Become Human has a soul, a burning fire that made its development result in an authentic piece of art, that only suffers from some rather stiff gameplay sections and sub-par PC optimization. However, it deserves praise, with an intense plot, engaging and captivating narrative acts, well-written scenarios, and excellent character development.
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