Detroit become human review – ign hair electricity dance moms

It’s a testament to the breadth of Quantic Dream’s branching storylines that I felt terribly guilty as the credits rolled after my second playthrough of Detroit: Become Human, as I’d played against my personal moral compass to test how far I could push the story’s exploration of the morality of artificial intelligence. This was very much the opposite of my mostly peaceful first run, and Detroit obliged my wickedness to a surprising degree, leaving a trail of bodies of those who had previously survived in my wake. And while it never seems to know when enough heavy-handed expositional dialogue is enough, Detroit: Become Human manages to be a frequently moving melodrama that bends to your choices with meaningful results.

Each of those playthroughs took around 10 hours to complete, and during that time Detroit’s pace rarely lags thanks to the deft juggling act it performs, alternating between three android characters across multiple chapters: Kara, a housekeeper who must care for a little girl named Alice, Connor; a prototype police model whose assignment is to round up ‘deviant’ androids, and Markus; a carer model who believes androids should share equal rights with humans.

These were noticeable (and often pretty funny), but they weren’t deal-breakers for me. Detroit is audacious and silly as hell, but it’s got real heart to it. There were enough moments of quiet tenderness to keep me emotionally invested, and the stakes were suitably high – particularly in its final act – to keep me thrilled.

With this in mind, there is a lot of clumsy exposition and dialogue I was willing to forgive, as one would while watching a fun B-movie. But occasionally, Detroit ignores the standard writing rule of “show, don’t tell” to such an extent I was yanked out of the story. Bad guys spout monologues that spell out Detroit’s themes in capital letters. (There’s a compartment for androids on public transport, in case you didn’t get what Detroit was going for here.) Select side characters, like Hank’s harrowed police chief and the inexplicably wise and mystical Lucy – are loudly cliched, so we understand what their roles are without any real character development.

With the remarkable performance-capture technology – and performances – Quantic Dream has at its disposal, there’s no real reason for such heavy-handedness. Nor do I think Detroit is incapable of subtlety; some of the scenarios here are unusual and profound. But I wish its ideas had more room to breathe before being trampled by someone spelling out the meaning for us.

Of course, the way you play Detroit is primarily through the choices you make within it. While there’s that backbone of a story that can’t be shattered, which can occasionally result in frustration when it makes a decision for you to keep you from straying too far off the beaten path, I found its branching paths to be multiple and deep. Quantic Dream has been smart in making this multitude of paths transparent through flowcharts introduced at the end of each chapter, showing you just how differently it could have played out if you’d made another choice, enticing you to play through again.

Not every alternate choice leads to a drastically different story, but some will. Sometimes it might lead to the same result, but by a surprising new means. Sometimes it might change your relationship with another character and unlock a path that wasn’t there before. Sometimes it might result in death, whether that be of a supporting character or one of the central trio (they can all die at points throughout Detroit), or a dramatic action sequence with unexpected consequences. Comparing endings, not only between my first and second playthroughs but with other players, was astounding, particularly when I assumed everybody’s story had wrapped the same way as mine and found that nobody’s had.

For me, this is the biggest draw of Detroit. One playthrough really isn’t enough to see what it has to offer, and characters and world-building are interesting enough that it was a pleasure to go back to see what I’d missed in scenarios that are deceptively complex.