Detroit: Become Human is an interactive action-adventure game with an emphasis on narrative and player choice. You play as three androids--Connor, Kara, and Markus--who are subservient to humans. It's up to you to decide if and how they break free from their creators, featuring many branching paths with vastly different outcomes.
Pro An ambitious amount of branching paths via player choice
The sheer number of branching choices and outcomes is staggering. After every chapter, the game shows you a flowchart of the choices you made, the paths you unlocked, and which conclusion you arrived to. You get to see the blank spaces for paths you didn't unlock, which shows the surprising scope of how gigantic the script is. Getting to see the percentage of players in the world who unlocked your same outcomes also puts things into perspective. Each decision you make leads to a true a culmination of your choices by the end, encouraging near-infinite different playthroughs.
Pro Impeccable graphics and visuals
Detroit: Become Human has next-level graphics and presentation. Characters look exactly like the actors they're modeled after, down to imperfections like razor bumps on the back of Connor's neck from his perfect, precise haircut. The environments set in the city of Detroit in the year 2038 are also great, showing the sheen of futuristic, automated cars and buses driving down the road, the bustling cultural meccas downtown, and even the grittier, dirtier aspects of the poverty-stricken areas. Everything looks amazing, showing off what games of this console generation can put out in terms of graphics and detail.
Pro The three playable android characters are each great in their own ways
You play as three androids--Connor, Kara, and Markus--all of whom have their own interesting character traits and storylines.
Connor is cold and direct as an investigator for the police, concerned first and foremost about finishing the job by any means necessary. Kara is more docile and mother-like, but determined to protect those she cares about. Markus is the leader who rallies the androids together for their cause for the sake of justice. The three characters intersect in intriguing ways, with Connor maintaining the status quo, Markus upsetting the norm, and Kara wanting to find her own path. But, ultimately, who they are depends on your choices, since your actions are what determine how the protagonists turn out in the end.
Pro The story isn't afraid to tackle social commentary issues like discrimination, politics, and slavery
Detroit: Become Human centers around subservient androids rising up against their human creators, either in peaceful protest or violent revolution. The plot gets into some heavy themes, like how the androids take care of so many jobs that the human unemployment rate is quite high, causing resentment. Humans openly discriminate against androids, delegating them to remain in the back of buses, restricting their rights, and openly treating them like slaves. The story is unabashed in the way it portrays these ideas that aren't typically shown in video games, taking risks that ultimately pay off in the long-run.
Pro The types of story situations you find yourself in are unprecedented
There's both quantity and quality with the branching paths in Detroit: Become Human. Connor, Kara, and Markus all experience some pretty remarkable events, leading them to grow as characters in satisfying ways according to your choices.
Connor can go down a truly intriguing path that puts him at odds with his programming, trapping him in some harrowing predicaments that test his loyalties. Kara can go on a real adventure with her friends and loved ones, leaving her with nothing as she tries to make things work despite the odds against her. Markus has the freedom to lead either a peaceful protest or a violent revolution against the humans, at the cost of losing relationships, and possibly himself in the process. The places and emotions you can lead your characters to are surprising and unforgettable.
Con Not for players who want more involved gameplay
The gameplay in Detroit: Become Human boils down to exploring, making decisions, and following button prompts on the screen. This doesn't have any complicated, intricate systems that you might expect. It's more of an interactive movie that leans heavily on the experience rather than mechanics, which isn't for anyone. As long as you know what to expect before going in, the story might be enough to carry you through.
Con Some writing problems with over-the-top drama for shock value
At times, the writing dials it up to one hundred when it isn't always justified. This is mainly a problem with undeveloped characters who show up just to start drama, inevitably leading to situations that the player won't be able to sympathize with. The writers do this as a way to advance the plot, but it ends up feeling rushed and amateur, like it's done for the sake of shocking the audience. More time could have been dedicated to fleshing things out, making these plot twists more believable and impactful.
Con The real-world analogy of androids as an oppressed minority doesn't always work
It's a hard sell to portray advanced intelligent life as the equivalent of a powerless minority who faces institutionalized racism. The androids are subservient to humans initially because that's how they're programmed to behave; once they "wake up" and break free from that programming, it's just a matter of gathering allies and using their cybernetic superiority to achieve their goals. The story only spans a few months within the year 2038 as well, meaning it doesn't follow the same years-long arc of justice and civil rights as the minorities that the game draws inspiration from. It's an admirable portrayal nonetheless, despite the shortcomings and false equivalencies.