PAX 2017: Detroit Become Human hands on

To say Quantic Dream is a polarizing development studio would be an understatement. They build games with attention to connecting with the player on an emotional level, in doing so some sacrifices have been made in regards to the usual model of game play deployed by others. I loved Heavy Rain, even though the control scheme left much to be desired, the idea and connection I had emotionally to the characters and their plights made up for the games shortcomings. Beyond Two Souls however left me feeling a little disappointed, so when Detroit Become Human was announced I was sceptical.

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Set in a near future Detroit, the story entails the plight of Android’s that are trying to find their place within the world, and in a similar vein to “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?”, making you question what it is to be human. This sounded extremely interesting, but the question was, how would it play? Thankfully I had a chance to check out the demo at Pax Australia.

The demo had you take on the role of an android negotiator Conner, who is tasked with saving a young girl from an android who had gone bad and killed the girl’s father. The android had the hostage on a high story ledge, held at gunpoint. The police swat team had attended and one officer was already shot dead, I had the task of piecing together what had transpired to have the matter reach boiling point and peacefully resolve the situation.

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Conner has the ability to take in evidence, piece together what has transpired and find out critical information in much the same way as Batman in the Arkham City games. Interestingly, the game mentioned that time was of the essence, something that seemed obvious due to the nature of the proceedings, yet no timer was displayed. This definitely created a sense of urgency, should I look at everything in the room, would I have enough time to piece all the information together? I decided that time was running out, another officer had been shot and things were going south quickly, the time was nearly up.

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Whilst deciphering the clues the game allows you to see a percentage of success rate build, it seemed natural as Conner’s ai would decipher the probabilities. Armed with a 68% chance (better that 50% at least) I moved out of the apartment and into the line of sight of the perpetrator. The negotiation takes place via dialogue selections, questions and answers. I noticed the round light on the android’s temple region would change colours in response to my interactions, blue being calming, yellow nervous and red enraged. It was a clever way of letting you know if you’re on the right track. The result I will leave unannounced as to avoid spoiler’s, but talking to people who had tried it, I found four different outcomes.

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Detroit Become Human looked stunning, controlled well and ran smoothly. The biggest surprise however has that even though the demo was short, around ten minutes in length, I instantly connected with the characters and felt a sense of empathy and compassion. I left the booth absolutely blown away, this game is now my most wanted, I cannot wait to see the release!

Written by

Gavin Petersen

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