Parents need to know that “Detroit: Become Human” is an interactive sci-fi adventure for the PlayStation 4. The game is set in a near future in which artificially intelligent androids are created and sold as pseudo-appliances to fill certain roles in society. There are some heavy themes, including domestic violence, the struggle for equality, social disorder, drug use, and more. Over the course of the story, players will see/experience a fair amount of realistic violence: People are shot, stabbed, beaten, and otherwise injured. There’s also sexually suggestive content, partially nude androids, and discussion of androids as sexual partners. Profanity-laced dialogue includes frequent use of “f--k” and “s--t,” and frequent drug use and drinking are shown as the stories unfold.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
“Detroit: Become Human” takes place in the future — Detroit in the year 2038. Society has seen a massive shift thanks to the development of advances in technology, culminating in the creation of intelligent android servants. These androids can be bought and sold, programed to fill specific roles, and serve humankind’s whims. But what happens when these androids start to question their purpose? The game answers this question by taking players on a journey through the lives of three androids: a caretaker who learns to rise up and unite his kind to resist oppression, a prototype law enforcement investigator tasked with keeping his brethren in line, and a servant whose love for a child’s well-being overrides the limits of her programming. While each android has their own story to tell, their paths are intertwined. Choices have consequences. Submit or resist. Violence or peace. Life or death. Their fate, and the fate of society as a whole, lies in your hands.
IS IT ANY GOOD?
This sci-fi tale is less like a standard video game and more like an interactive movie, because your decisions affect and change the development of the plot. “Detroit: Become Human” isn’t like most standard games: You’re not upgrading equipment, picking up new skills, or racing to the next waypoint. Instead, you’re experiencing a new world through unique sets of eyes, making difficult, life-altering decisions and then watching how those choices unfold. That’s not to say there aren’t a few game-like elements from time to time. Usually these are quick-time events, which are tests of reflexes and attention somewhat like a glorified game of Simon Says.
If you look at “Detroit: Become Human” as something other than a video game, you’ll find that it does a great job of telling its story … and in some ways, telling your story, too. The decisions you make seamlessly craft a genuinely unique tale catered to you. There are so many branches in the game’s plot that it comes with a built-in flowchart that lets you sort out how your decisions paved the way for the narrative. This comes in handy with later playthroughs, because you can sort out where the story branches and what you can do differently in a way that doesn’t give away what will happen if you take a different path at a given fork in the road. No matter which path you choose, Detroit’s plot is sure to have an impact. By seeing through the eyes of these androids and experiencing their lives, you can’t help but feel empathy for their plight.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 17 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 2 out of 5
Positive role models: 2 out of 5
Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 4 out of 5
Sex: 4 out of 5
Language: 5 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 5 out of 5
Consumerism: 0 out of 5
Platforms: PlayStation 4
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date: May 25, 2018
ESRB rating: M for blood, intense violence, partial nudity, sexual themes, strong language, use of drugs.