The most interactive game of the 21st Century
Disclaimer: Spoilers below!
Detroit is a revolutionary development in the world of gaming that takes the current political and social issues of society and allows the gamer to explore different paths from different perspectives within that narrative. Not since director Alex Proyas 2004 film i,Robot has the self awareness and life of an android been so frighteningly real.
Yes, Detroit has some strong storylines, and even some that may be too triggering to play through, but that only makes the feeling of each decision more impactful and important. If you simply read the box of the game or watch the two minute trailer you can understand what kind of social policies are challenged in the game regarding race, domestic abuse, and AI technology. If those topics are too personal or polarizing for you, then don’t buy this game.
But if you play video games for the storyline, for the connection between characters, for the connection between characters and yourself – then Detroit will have you racing towards each level as if you were turning the pages in your favorite book.
Detroit: Become Human is based in the near future where android robots have almost completely replaced the work force in the United States – and soon the world. Causing mass unemployment, androids are discriminated against for taking jobs and not being alive. Or are they?
This game allows the gamer to answer that question themselves with levels designed to end in different stories based on the choices you make with your characters. Throughout the game you can choose to act as a machine or become deviant and disobey orders.
Kara is one of three androids controlled by the user in Detroit. Kara’s character is the maid in an abusive home of a single dad named Todd and his daughter – Alice. Kara has the choice early in the game to either remain a machine or become deviant when Todd abuses Alice. It is choices like this that will effect the entire timeline of the game across each character story.
Kara’s character brings up the question of if domestic violence applies to objects. If you punch your amazon echo, is that domestic violence? Most would say no, however if you gave the echo a face and body – would your opinion change? If your answer is yes, then aren’t androids alive?
The line between object and person is narrow when human features are in play.
Marcus is the second android you control in the game. Marcus lives the life of luxury as he assists a well-off elderly painter in his daily life. Marcus is different, he has been exposed to art, music, love. He has been taught things that androids are not supposed to understand.
It is because of this that Marcus sees the world differently than most androids. In his early levels he is witness to discrimination and oppression of androids by humans who have lost their jobs. Eventually his owners drug addict son attacks him and breaks Marcus – sending him to the android graveyard.
But Marcus survives the attack and wakes up in the graveyard and repairs himself. This is the catalyst that leads Marcus to start an android revolution. But it is up to the player to determine whether it will be a violent uprising or a peaceful protest.
Marcus’s revolution is almost parallel to the current black lives matter movement in real life today. He tells the story of the discriminated, the oppressed, those who are deemed inferior.
There is valid reason to question whether or not comparing androids to black people fighting for civil rights is insensitive. But Detroit is not comparing the two yet rather brining the narrative to the surface through different means.
Connor is the third – and based on Quantico gaming surveys the most liked – user controlled character in Detroit: Become Human. Connor is on the opposite side of Kara and Marcus in the story. He is a police android assigned to track down deviant androids – the ultimate internal corruption that will lead to a dramatic decision late in the game.
Connor’s storyline is the most in-tune with the concept of androids being alive. He studies the deviant androids as they appear and is slowly exposed to the human tendencies his fellow androids are experiencing.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the game is when Connor has the choice to either kill an android in cold blood or spare it, admitting that androids can choose for themselves.
Although the player has the option to follow Connor’s storyline as a machine or a deviant, my biased opinion would scream that the “good-Connor” story has some of the best moments in gaming for 2018.
The three characters storylines cover the wide spectrum of social policy influenced in the game. Each character has multiple story endings, and playing the game through multiple times is highly recommended.
Detroit: Become Human is for the creative, the day dreamers, the story tellers, the fan-fiction writers. The personal connection in this game is like no other prior to date, and it is unlikely it will be matched any time soon.
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