‘Detroit: Become Human’ hands-on: Negotiating with rogue androids
We play out a hostage scenario from the upcoming sci-fi title about androids gaining sentience and seeking freedom from human servitude.
I’ve wanted to get my hands on Detroit: Become Human since I first saw its trailer at E3 2016. Developer Quantic Dream has never really failed its fans when it comes to games with compelling narrative and Detroit: Become Human’s futuristic setting just makes it all the more interesting. Suffice to say, I was excited to find out that Sony brought in the game at the first PSX Southeast Asia in Malaysia where I found time to test out the game’s features.
The demo starts with a short cutscene. Daniel, an android, is flipping a coin in his hands, already inferring the game’s mechanics. The situation is unclear at first. All we know is that a “deviant,” or an android turned rogue, shot a girl’s father and brought the girl to the edge of a balcony. We are to negotiate with the deviant to save the hostage “at any cost.”
When the demo finally gives us the freedom to go around the apartment, it turns into a full-on investigation. We can move towards every portion of the area and keep an eye out for every significant item. While the game lets you directly move to the negotiation stage, it may be a better idea for you to search for every piece of relevant information before you do so.
As you pick up and analyze every item, the game prompts a success rate bar that increases with every pertinent information you find. You can choose to move towards the balcony to start the negotiation if you believe you have everything required to save the girl. I wanted to look for every nook and cranny in the apartment but unfortunately the demo was timed, not to mention the controls were a little difficult to work with at first. The camera sensitivity felt off and some of the gestures felt unnecessary.
But what the game doesn’t tell you at the beginning, which only makes the demo even more suspenseful, is that the possibility of success also depends on how you negotiate with the deviant. Just because you have all the pieces together, doesn’t mean the girl’s life is saved. Depending on your choices the success rate can rise or drop. Sometimes it can even fall heavily if you still can’t figure out the best way to approach the deviant in the middle of the negotiation.
Some players started the negotiation process with 60% chance of success, only to mess up the negotiation and end with 0% by the time that they have to save the little girl. Obviously, their outcomes weren’t pretty and were given heartbreaking cut scenes. I started the negotiation process with a 40% chance of success, and by the end of the dialogue, ended it with 99%. The cut scene was dramatic and certainly rewarding.
This is what makes the game promising. As a fan of crime shows and games like L.A. Noire, Detroit: Become Human has the potential to be one of the best and most thrilling games within its genre. It’s a game that weighs your choices and gives you several possible outcomes, easily pulling the player to the edge of their seat. Whether or not it translates to the big picture story of the game remains to be seen. But so far, Detroit: Become Human is shaping up to be one of the best PlayStation exclusive game in 2018.