Detroit: Become Human is one of the heaviest, darkest, most intense games I have ever played. It’s not hyperbole for me to say so. Detroit was dramatic, immersive, and engaging. It felt a lot like playing a TellTale game in the way that it was story driven. Virtually anyone can get a handle on the controls. Non-gamers by and large would be able to play this because it doesn’t require much hand-eye coordination.
Detroit was so enjoyable, I consider it as the best game I played in 2019. While Detroit has been out since April of 2018 on the PS4, how did it hold up on the PC? As someone who had never played it, I had the opportunity to experience it first on the PC and get a first hand understanding of how it would perform in that space.
Remember though, that Detroit is all about the story. More accurately, it’s all about the stories. Above anything else I can tell you, the story was truly amazing. In Detroit these breathtaking stories are brought to life by a few different androids that you control living very different lives.
The characters are extremely memorable. Jesse Williams brings Markus to life and his acting was the best in the entire game. In a game about androids, I really did expect there to be a lot of redundancy between the main characters. However, with Connor, Markus, and Kara, there was so much individuality. Some of this had to do with their environment. Connor worked in law enforcement. Kara lived with her abusive owner and his daughter Alice as a maid/nanny. Markus was a well trusted and cared for android owned by a rich artist who believes in the humanity of androids until they are driven apart due to story elements out of your control. Some individuality is based totally on the selections you make throughout Detroit. It was refreshing to be able to control the destiny of the characters I had been playing.
Each of the characters had their own support characters that I as a player had to interact with. My choices didn’t give me the option to see much of Kara’s interactions with her story arc, but I saw the potential in Alice. Alice was shy and had to be coaxed into talking. I felt like Alice might have a lot more to say if only I had been given the chance but I chose wrong and my time with Kara ended quickly. Connor works in the police department and there is no shortage of anti-android sentiment but his partner, Hank is a complex character who I didn’t fully understand until the end of the game. Markus gets the biggest selection of good characters to choose from with characters like North and Josh. All of the characters Markus interacts with are androids further proving this game isn’t about how the androids are all alike but rather how unique they are.
Depending on how you were to play, the story might be more about a violent and bloody civil rights movement. Perhaps instead it’s about a few glitchy androids and the need to take care of them. Maybe you have all the pieces for one story and everything works out or nothing works out. The decisions you make will be the difference. This gives Detroit such a great ability to be replayed. I know that each path will eventually lead me to a totally different story altogether. The game’s message really boils down to the choices you make because the choices really do matter. In fact, the game has over 60 endings. Most of these endings have only subtle differences, but there are a few basic endings that are entirely different from each other. More so than any game with choices that I’ve played in the past, the choices matter in Detroit. For example, when I play a TellTale game, the choices matter but most of the time the choices all lead toward the same result. In Detroit, each decision carries the weight of changing the story and even the message of the entire game.
Another reason each decision mattered so much was because every choice I made could impact whether or not a character lived or died. Each level had a flow chart that showed the selections that were made. I could see that other paths lead me to a whole area of the game that I hadn’t even seen. I could literally play Detroit a few more times without seeing everything that it has to offer. That’s probably the biggest attraction to Detroit for me. Not only can I play Detroit again and again, I want to play more and more. While its heaviness will make me take a break before playing it again, make no mistake, I will play it again.
No matter the decisions made, the story in Detroit is gritty and coarse. I can say that with confidence because I was taken aback by how intense my playthrough was and I made mostly peaceful choices. However, it’s exactly this kind of dark dramatic storytelling that makes Detroit so enjoyable. While other games’ enjoyment comes from the action, there’s nothing to shoot, there’s no strategy that gives you an upper hand because you shape the story, and there’s no puzzles to solve. The enjoyment comes solely from the captivating story being told by you.
Detroit already had graphics and framerate on the PS4 and PS4 Pro acceptable to most players. According to Digital Foundry it achieved 1080P and 30 FPS although on the base model the framerate was not stable in scenes with more than a few character models. So the question becomes how did it fare on the PC? The biggest problem is that the minimum requirements to run Detroit as reported by PCGamesN are rather demanding for a game that has so little action actually happening. For the most part, my computer (Intel Core i7 9750h, NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650, 16GB RAM) was able to run it at 1080p 60 fps. Initially I was having some serious issues though with freezing. The screen would completely freeze while I was playing despite any dialogue happening continuing. The most frustrating part of this was that if the game required a choice while I was unable to interact with it, I was left with the default choice and often times, I didn’t even know what that was. Playing around with settings helped. Turning a few of the advanced graphics options to medium gave some relief but I was disappointed to have to sacrifice some of the graphics for a smoother experience.
Detroit: Become Human may not have been the next story driven Triple-A blockbuster like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It may not appear on the best selling list anywhere. Don’t let that fool you. Don’t sleep on this one. Detroit is so good that I literally played a 13 hour campaign in under 3 days while sick and working. I just kept going back to it. From the very beginning of the game, I had to know what was going to happen next. Now I have to play it again to see what else could have happened. Don’t miss out on the chance to shape this story for yourself. The choice is yours.
- Wonderful Story where the choices matter
- Very replayable
- Very demanding on the computer
- Requires very good equipment to avoid lowering graphic quality