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«Detroit: Become Human» review: a tense thriller directed by you

«Detroit: Become Human» is Quantic Dream’s third attempt at combining movie and video game. This interactive drama about androids with feelings is almost a perfect symbiosis.

l'll admit, the story’s not exactly new: A number of sci-fi novels and movies, «Blade Runner», «I, Robot» or «A.I.» for example, are about robots with feelings. Androids, to be more precise. «Detroit: Become Human», exclusive to PS4, doesn’t add anything groundbreaking to this debate, but it’s unique in giving you an active part in the story's development. Once again, the French video game developer has proven to be one of the best when it comes to interactive games.

Moving stories

«Detroit: Become Human» takes place in the year 2038, in a time in which lifelike androids are indistinguishable from humans and exist only to serve mankind: They are used as babysitters, sex toys, craftsmen or security personnel, to name just a few tasks. This results in an extremely high rate of unemployment, political tensions and a steadily growing aversion to androids. You play as three android characters, leading them through mostly rather straightforward settings with clear objectives. It begins with ordinary things such as cleaning up a house, leads on to looking for clues in crime scenes and ends in hectic chases with quick time events (QTE).

Alice and Kara are on the run.

The plot makes sure the game never gets boring. Most of the time, you know what’s expected from you and don’t spend time running around looking for hints. The story is exciting and interacting with a large number of characters adds to this. For one, there’s Kara. She’s a girl who works as a nanny for Alice and Alice’s dad, who has a drug problem and is notoriously violent. After an unpleasant incident, Kara manages to overrule her pre-programmed behaviours and escape together with Alice, making Kara a deviant. That’s when you take over and get the task of looking after the little girl.

Markus is another android who’s managed to free himself from his digital chains. After a casualty, Markus is on the run.

The third character you take on is Connor, an android prototype. He’s on the opposing side and helps the police in their investigations into the increasingly frequent incidents with deviants. It gets especially exciting when the storylines of these three characters come together.

In the future, androids have no more rights than a toaster.

I must say, the stories are captivating and vivid. Not once was I tempted to skip dialogues – and I’m not exactly a patient person. Having said that, there’s no way of skipping dialogues anyway. Although the stories are rather predictable, you’re engrossed in the game and really keen to see your androids succeed. I didn't think much about the underlying question whether androids should be free or not, but was more interested in the individual stories and fates of the main characters. Kara, Markus and Connor are three distinct characters with their very own personality and story. Although the dialogues and plot lack logic here and there, my overall impression of «Detroit: Become Human» is that it paints a coherent picture of a dystopian future with androids as slaves of the 21st century.

The game puts you under time pressure on a regular basis. Not only in dialogues that give you a few seconds only to choose an answer, but also in situations such as one where you need to find a suspect by interacting with androids in your surroundings. Knowing that you only have one attempt to get it right is sure to make your heart beat faster. So do wild chases and fighting sequences that are mostly based on quick time events. You never know how many mistakes you can make before you reach the dreaded blue screen of death. I’m usually not a fan of QTE, but in this game, they work well to create suspense. No doubt, never having to repeat a scene also helps.

A range of options

A flowchart displays how many other possibilities there are or would have been.

The best thing about «Detroit: Become Human» is that you really get a say in how the story unfolds. As in the previous releases, «Heavy Rain» and «Beyond Two Souls», the game is based on a flowchart system that allows for a vastly unique experience for almost every player. Depending on what you say, which option you go for or how you react in quick time events, the story takes different turns. You can’t turn the story completely on its head, but the different outcomes and how earlier decisions have consequences later on are impressive. After each section, you’ll see a flowchart that shows the path you took as well as how many other possibilities there would have been. You can't see exactly what could have happened; you just see the empty fields.

Most players will experience more or less the same story, but there are substantial variations – your characters can even die. If they do, the game won’t begin from scratch or from a checkpoint, which makes things incredibly exciting. What’s a pity, in my view, is that the decisions you take in dialogues are far too predictable. It’s easy to guess which answer will lead to which outcome. As long as you have a good look around every location and interact with all glowing objects, you have all options to choose from. I would have preferred more complex decisions and more room for interpretation.

Another thing I didn’t like was that some answers are ambiguous. I once, for instance, choose an option and expected it to be a friendly answer, but then realised I was really having a go at the other person. This made me feel just as annoyed as my virtual avatar was.

The answers to choose from aren’t always clear.

Impressive technology

Without the exceptional technology behind it all, the storyline and characters wouldn’t be half as compelling. We’re given an authentic version of the future Detroit that looks so real you almost forget it isn’t. The game takes you to truly impressive settings and comes with an atmospheric soundtrack. But let’s get to the real highlight of this game: the characters. Played by real actors, they’re perfectly staged thanks to motion capturing. Their movements and facial expressions show real emotions and really bring the androids to life (in a metaphorical sense, that is).

Connor’s able to reconstruct situations if he has enough hints available.

Conclusion: perfect apart from a few minor flaws

As a big fan of «Heavy Rain» and «Beyond Two Souls», «Detroit: Become Human» had an easy task entertaining me. But it did more than that; I must say, it’s a huge step forward when it comes to gameplay and especially the freedom of making decisions. I’m impressed with the progress Quantic Dream has made. The behaviours and feelings of the three main characters and most supporting characters are authentic. Their destiny and conflicts really touched me. I didn’t find this game as emotional as «Heavy Rain», but this might just be because I sympathise more with humans than with androids. This contradicts my style of play, but hey, I’m only human. ;)

The plot might have a few flaws and the characters behave illogically now and then (androids, don’t forget), but within an overall story that’s absolutely thrilling, I didn’t mind that too much. It will take you about 10 to 15 hours to play the game from beginning to end. In my mind, that’s too long to play through other variations, as the settings are almost identical every time around. I prefer watching the other storylines on YouTube. ;)

  • Detroit: Become Human (PS4, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Detroit: Become Human (PS4, DE, EN, FR, IT)
  • Detroit: Become Human (PS4, DE, EN, FR, IT)
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CHF 49.–instead of 69.–1
Sony Detroit: Become Human (PS4, DE, EN, FR, IT)
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Philipp Rüegg

  • Teamleader Odin
Being the game and gadget geek that I am, working at digitec and Galaxus makes me feel like a kid in a candy shop – but it does take its toll on my wallet. I enjoy tinkering with my PC in Tim Taylor fashion and talking about games on my podcast . To satisfy my need for speed, I get on my full suspension mountain bike and set out to find some nice trails. My thirst for culture is quenched by deep conversations over a couple of cold ones at the mostly frustrating games of FC Winterthur.


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User Anonymous

Ein PS4 Exklusivtitel der mein Interesse gepackt hat?!

Zeit die PS4 Pro nach mehreren Monaten Standzeit wieder abzustauben..

User Midni9ht

...und PC-Spieler werden ausgegrenzt. Merci, Sony! 👏👏👏😡🤬🤮

User hedi89

Ja ich finde es super!!!! Denn die Pc Spieler geben sich immer an. Konsole ist einfach besser denn man vergibt weniger geld. Bei Pc wenn du auf Ultra immer spielen willst solltest du immer nach 6 Monaten die Grafik Karte updaten. Heheheh

User andybaecher

Naja, ich würde ja behaupten, dass eine Konsole über einen längeren Zeitraum teurer ist. Die Spiele kosten generell etwas mehr, es gibt keine alternativen Stores wie am PC (Origin, Steam, uplay, GOG usw.). Zudem kannst du am PC auch Spiele spielen, die duvor 10 Jahren gekauft hast, bei der Konsole (Ausnahme einige Xbox Games mit der Abwärtskompatibilität), musstdu die Spiele später für die neue Konsolengeneration erneut kaufen. Ich denke der Unterschied ist nicht allzu gross.

User Midni9ht

Es war eigentlich nicht meine Absicht, hier einen Plattformkrieg vom Zaun zu brechen. Ich finde es nur schlicht und einfach zum Kotzen, dass man heute nicht mal mehr die Wahl hat, auf welcher Plattform man spielen will! Was soll der Scheiss?

@Hedi Zumindest kann man auf einem PC in Ultra zocken. Diese Einstellung gibt es bei Konsolen gar nicht. Und übrigens: Mein aktuelles Setup hat schon bald zwei Jahre auf dem Buckel, habe mit Ultra aber kein Problem...

User andybaecher

Sehe das genauso. Es soll jeder selber entscheiden, was er bevorzugt, leider ist es die Strategie der Konsolenhersteller, die jeweiligen Entwicklerstudios entweder aufzukaufen, oder zu engagieren, um für die eigene Plattform Exklusivtitel zu entwickeln. Wenn wir ehrlich sind: Gäbe es keine Exklusivtitel, würde sich Stand jetzt niemand mehr eine PS4 Pro kaufen, da PC und XOneX einfach mehr Power bieten.

User Chillvan

Wenn Sony diese Games nicht finanzieren würde, dann würden sie gar nicht existieren. Auf dem PC rennen immer nur alle den aktuellen Trends hinterher. Seit Jahren prophezeien alle Multiplattformentwickler den Untergang der Singleplayer Games (mit wenigen ausnahmen, z.B. CD-Project Red) und bringen den gleichen Scheiss raus. Sony fokussiert sich auf Games mit guter Story und investiert ordentlich Geld. Da wundert es keinen, wenn die nicht wollen, dass es dann auf dem PC gepirated wird...

User bkeleanor

Hi, vielleicht eine doofe frage aber benötigt man für das Spiel eine PS4 pro oder geht auch eine slim? Du spielst das spiel also kein 2. mal durch?

User Philipp Rüegg

Alle PS4-Spiele sind immer auf allen drei PS4-Modellen spielbar. Und nein, ich spiels kein zweites mal, primär aus Zeitgründen. Aber auf Youtube werde ich jetzt mal fleissig alternative Wege schauen :)

User bkeleanor

Das Spiel ist der Wahnsinn. Die Story, die Möglichkeiten und obwohl du eigentlich mit dem Kontroller steuerst ist der Zufall und das Glück ein wesentlicher Bestandteil des Spiels (zumindest im ersten Durchgang und wenn man bei Quicktime-Events so schlecht ist wie ich). Das Hauptmenü (Chloe) verdient definitiv auch eine Erwähnung mit all den Kommentaren.

User andkust

Dritter Versuch? The Nomad Soul, Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human... Ich komme auf 5... 🤔

User Midni9ht

...und PC-Spieler werden ausgegrenzt. Merci, Sony! 👏👏👏😡🤬🤮

User Lezard Valeth

This is a really good interactive drama (i'm not really calling DBH a game , for this case the word "game" is quite subjective)
Sometimes the qtes get a little too intrusive and kinda break the mood of the scene (like when you do the painting with Markus)

Anyway my Coffee maker is demanding equal rights, and my vacuum cleaner is demanding the right to own a private property

User ragnarq

Abwarten das spiel könnte auch für den Pc und Xbox auch rauskommen gab es ja schon oft, das exclusiv titel zu einem späteren zeitpunkt für alle Plattformen freigegebn werden (Rise of a Tomb Raider, PUBG)

User enakinstar

Das kann doch nicht sein die Kritikpunkte die du da ansprichst zeichnet Detroit ja aus und sagen das die Charaktere nicht glaubwürdig sind ist einfach nur Quatsch. Die Story wie auch die Charaktere sind sehr gut gemacht. Hoffe das der nächste Spielartikel professioneller gemacht wird.

User fabian

Subjektivität, mein Freund, Subjektivität.