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EGX | Hands On: Detroit: Become Human
Gaming Editor Roshni Patel investigates this latest case of deviant androids as Detroit gets a new lease of life in Quantic Dream's latest futuristic thriller
From the studio that brought us the hit game Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls, comes the Detroit: Become Human, the latest branching, neo-noir thriller, from French developers, Quantic Dream. Set in the future where androids are everywhere, every decision the player makes has a rippling effect on the plot, changing the game on every play through.
First shown to the press in 2015 as a demo video at Paris Games Week, Detroit: Become Human has grown into 3 very different branching plots, each spearheaded by 3 different androids. The first android introduced was Kara (voice and motion acting by Valorie Curry), who finds herself more sentient than her stoic batch of siblings and struggles to define her place in society, feeling much more than she should, which is seen both in her 2015 demo and the dialogue options available to her. In contrast Connor (Bryan Dechart, pictured below), is exactly as CyberLife intended, and as an enforcer of deviant androids, is cold, calculating and analytical. The third android is the deviant that android models like Connor chase down; Marcus (Jesse Williams, above) is the android that broke free and is determined to free other from the bonds of servitude. While these three stories are interwoven, the death of one playable character doesn't stop play, which is similar to Heavy Rain, where players can continue to play as other characters, with plot alterations as a consequence of the loss. However players will be able to rewind events to reshape their outcomes, to help them progress easier later, should they come to regret how a past situation played out.
Available to play on the EGX showfloor was Connor's hostage situation, seen in the promotional trailers. Beginning with a cut scene, we slip seamlessly into the gameplay, with little cuing and no black screens, it was so smooth I didn't even realise I needed to move until I was prompted. Every cut scene transitioned in and out this smoothly, in between the clear objectives, which like Heavy Rain, required the player to investigate and collect clues to increase the chances of success. From bubbling pots and discarded items, to analyzing victims and replaying their last moments, each piece of the picture increased the overall chance of success before you stepped out to face the hostage situation. Out on the roof, the branching nature of the story became more apparent, and the player is forced to think carefully about the options chosen, any of which could increase the chance of failure, rather than success. Unable to know exactly how tactfully Connor would negotiate the little girl's release, I was often forced to pick the emotional response I thought would work and hoped for the best, as I watched the branching plot bring me closer or further from the ideal outcomes. While I just missed out at the goal, the game was on the whole quite well polished, with only a few clunky features, such as the unnecessary analogue stick actions for Connor's hands and the fly on the wall camera positioning, which at times made watching replays jerky and often an exercise in precision to catch a tool-tip.
While I didn't manage to fulfill the objective of the mission, to save the girl, I was able to get fully immersed in the situation to see how it could have played out differently, if only I had made different decisions. Due for release in 2018 as a 4K ready PS4 exclusive, Detroit: Become Human is one game I'm really looking forward to exploring in full, as I'm dying to see how many different paths the plot can take. With great reviews from other critics and the players at EGX, only time will tell us if Quantic Dream has struck gold for a second time.