Instead of hot dogs, boats, and sunshine, my Memorial Day weekend was filled with snot, tissues, and vitamin C packets. In other words, I had the perfect excuse to do what I really wanted to this long weekend – play Detroit: Become Human.
I’ve already managed two full playthroughs and some replaying of individual chapters, so I’m not exactly sure if this counts as my “first thoughts” but the game has been out less than a week so I thought the theme could still work.
Firstly, I really like this game. It’s absolutely gorgeous and provides interesting and even challenging gameplay for a game that is so narrative heavy. For people who don’t usually play games where choice is the gameplay, the overload of quicktime events can be disappointing. It can also be a little jarring to not be able to go back during a chapter and access a resource, like you can in most traditional games. If you forget to read a file, or don’t open a cabinet, most often you won’t be able to go back and do it, even if you haven’t finished the chapter. But if you know what you’re getting into, it’s really no problem at all.
Playtime is pretty short, around 4-8 hours for most first runs I’d guess. But the game is obviously meant to be played multiple times. Between 3,000-4,000 pages of dialogue are inside this game, so if your first go was disappointing I highly encourage you to try again. The short playtime makes this pretty easy. My first run was truly shitty, as I killed off all the protagonists a couple chapters shy of the real ending. My second run I was able to get the “good” ending fairly easy and I did it all in one weekend.
I also grew up just outside the real Detroit. Seeing this game set where I spent a lot of time as a kid was really cool. I wish they got the licenses for the sports teams though. However, it was pretty funny seeing what the substitutions ended up. Some changes I noticed included the Red Wings becoming the “Crimson Sharks” and the Pistons were known as the “Gears”. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out PS4 mods, but if I did, it’d be to see my favorite teams in this game.
Lastly, but most importantly, your choices matter in this game. This isn’t unusual for Quantic Dream, but I’d say for the vast majority of games in which a player makes choices, none of them actually change the ending, or even the rest of the gameplay (I’m looking at you Life is Strange). Your choices in this game can open or close entire storylines and there are many, many endings.
The first major negative of this game is its inability to skip dialogue that you’ve already gone through. There is no skipping in this game as far as I’ve come across which makes third, fourth, and fifth playthroughs far less likely. And this game isn’t cheap at $60, meaning you’ll want to be able to play a few times without getting annoyed. I’m only on my third playthrough and it’s getting repetitive.
Secondly, the save feature in this game is a little confusing. You seem only able to have one story going at a time, and you can’t really jump through your gameplay. If you want to replay the ending more or less the same as a previous playthrough, but just want to make one small change in chapter one, for instance, you’re out of luck. I’ve found that unless I play all chapters in between, the choice I made in an earlier chapter doesn’t always “stick.”
This game is also dark. Like, break-your-heart-into-a-million-tiny-pieces dark. Obviously, this makes for a good story, but even shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld are way more balanced emotionally at times than Detroit. And since video games like these are more akin to books, leaving the story at a very tense moment is far more frustrating than ending an episode of your favorite TV show on a cliffhanger. This makes it a super fun game to binge, but a little more upsetting if you can only play a little bit of the story each night during a work week, for example.
It’s still too early to tell if the price point is where it should be considering how repetitive this game is starting to seem. All I know is that I like it, and if you have $60 you don’t too much care for I would recommend it 100%. But if you’re still waiting to buy or if the cash in your pocket is precious right now, I might wait a few weeks to see how this game holds up and if people are still getting hours of gameplay out of it.