A few years a go, a game called Heavy Rain hit the PlayStation 3 (eventually being converted to PS4 as well). I was extremely excited about its release, as it seemed to promise the idea of controlling your characters and game narrative in a way that had never been accomplished before. I couldn’t tell you if that actually happened, as Heavy Rain just never engaged me the way that I’d hoped. I know lots of people loved it, and one day I’ll go back to it, I’m sure. While Heavy Rain may been a let down for me, I can tell you that developer Quantic Dream has made my original dream come true with their latest PS4 exclusive, Detroit: Become Human.
In the cinematic Detroit: Become Human, you take control of three androids , each with their own separate storylines:
- Kara (voice acted and motion captured by Valorie Curry) is a housekeeper android tasked with protecting a young girl.
- Connor (Bryan Dechart) is an android cop working with a human (Clancy Brown) to track down sentient androids.
- Markus (Jessie Williams) looks to free his fellow androids from servitude.
As you can surmise, the story is set in a future version of Detroit, but the gorgeous game doesn’t feel to far off from the world that we live in today. People still take buses and ride in cars, and the city still feels like one you could walk through today. There are bad parts of town and nice ones, and the concerns of losing jobs and poverty are familiar and altogether contemporary concepts that play heavily intro the game.
Detroit: Become Human is about the choices we make for our characters, and the results will play out throughout the course of the game. Choosing how you interact with whoever you encounter could result in assistance or alienation, and possibly even death for one of the three leads. That’s actually a lot of pressure, especially with a game that offers upon an incredibly immersive story. When I talk about Detroit: Become Human with friends, I keep saying that I feel as though I’m actually playing Blade Runner. While the game is not as visually groundbreaking as that film (and its sequel), all of them deal with the concept of existentialism – who are we? Why are we here? Do our actions actually possess any meaning?
As written and directed by David Cage, Detroit: Become Human is a large-scale science fiction story that feels incredibly human. You control everything from running and shooting, to doing minute movements to open doors and drawers. Though you’re playing video game characters, the choice you make for them are a genuine window into your own psyche – you’ll discover how you interact with your own colleagues and co-workers, and how you might choose to comfort a child in distress. Heavy stuff for a video game, but definitely cheaper than therapy.
Detroit: Become Human is available now for PlayStation 4 and is highly recommended.