The concept of androids breathing life per say is no stranger in the world of the entertainment industry. Take for example HBO'S latest successful series "Westworld, [VIDEO]" [VIDEO] where androids walk and interact within a Jurassic-like park, except, of course, without the presence of dinosaurs and with a touch of old western spirit. In a world where cars exist without the need for a human pilot and technology prevails in our everyday lives, it's no wonder why we tackle this concept numerous times.

Recognized by previous interactive games such as "Heavy Rain" and "Beyond: Two Souls," [VIDEO] [VIDEO] Quantic Dream aims to recreate a similar success with "Detroit: Become Human." Although "Beyond: Two Souls" was not as well-received as its predecessor, "Heavy Rain," it was mostly due to the linearity that director David Cage, ironically, tries to avoid in his games.

In this latest entry, it seems that Cage picked up a few notes from the linearity complaints department and went back to its "Heavy Rain" roots. Expanding on both choices and visuals, Quantic Dream delivers a beautiful cinematic experience but hits a few road bumps along the journey.

The Setting

Set 20 years away from our present, the world has embraced the various technological advancements humans accomplished during the years, among them, androids. From cooking to your lover, these androids have become as common as televisions in our homes. The perfect "human" whom you can order around to pick up your sweaty socks with no question on their part. The calculating "human" who can shoot without hesitation if placed in the army.

Detroit, Michigan is only but a glimpse of the future this world takes place in.

It is the home for three peculiar androids that set the motion for another change in this ever-evolving world. Connor, Markus, and Kara are the three protagonists which you, ironically, take control of and in which the game alternates their storylines for you to decide how their journey will end. Connor is an android sent by its creator, Cyberlife, to hunt down "deviants," the term used to describe androids who run amok or are "faulty." On the other side of the coin, is Markus, a caregiver who has a close connection with the human he takes care of. Last, but not least, is Kara, an android who becomes part of domestic abuse due to her being designed to take care of housework.

As you take turns controlling these androids, you explore different areas of the city, none devoid of gorgeous visuals and attention to detail. Magazines that you collect fill you in on the status of the rest of the world, of Russia, China, and even the Arctic. With such rich and detailed environments, it left me with the desire to explore a bit more within the levels I was placed in, as my character occasionally bumped against invisible walls that popped up a glaring red sign of what I was supposed to do.

Perhaps, if there were to be a sequel, we could even go beyond Detroit.

It's all about Choices

If you are familiar with Quantic Dream's works, then you know that these games are not about the mechanics of executing a 20-chain combo against your rival. Instead, it is the decisions you make that shape your relationship with the NPCs you come across and whether it can mean life or death to him/her or even yourself. Do you act or not? Should I have said this or that? This game manages to effectively make you question if you made the right choice, the right choice meaning the path you wanted to take.

As previously said, "Detroit: Become Human" has multiple paths that your characters can be led to, with the possible branch being shown at the end of each section on your character's flowchart. That said, the game managed to surprise me the various possibilities I could have unlocked in levels that could be as short as 20 minutes. I often ended regretting not talking to particular characters or taking items that could have triggered a possibility for me to use in a future section. Of course, one cannot ponder till the end of times to decide (unless you pause it), so you must be quick to plan your next move, or else random dialogue will be chosen for you.

The best part is that even before you start the game, you are met with choices that affect each time an android that greets you in the main menu. While I have only played through this game, once, it accomplished to make me want to go back and take, for example, the pizza instead of the hamburger, to see how drastically it changes my character's path.

Story

This game relies on its story, as such it aims to keep you engaged and to connect with your characters, to the point, that if you accidentally kill someone, you will be bawling and be depressed for a week. The story did manage to keep me entertained; however, there were instances in which I felt some dramatic moments were not earned, or too cliched. For example, (spoilers) Markus' rise from a caregiver to a beloved leader with a sudden change of ideology and badass combat. Such surge felt a bit rushed, and I would have been a bit more conflicted in my choices, or at least felt that he was conflicted if the game would have spent a bit more time in this shift. It does not also help that the soundtrack, while beautiful on its own, tries to establish his accomplishments in a grandeur manner. While the actions he does are world changing, his sudden shift of perspective was not as grandeur.

Instead, I became more invested in Connor's and Kara's journey where I felt the urgency and determination of both to accomplish their goal. While Connor is an android determined to hunt deviants, he is not as different as his supposed enemies. Connor's storyline borrows the detective angle from "Heavy Rain," with his ability to recreate and create possible scenarios. While it was not groundbreaking, I did enjoy the implementation of it since it makes sense that androids would have the capability to foresee survival chances. Last, but not least, Kara's storyline is where all the heart is and where I found myself tearing up the most at the end of her journey. The theme song and its variations that accompany her scenes only kick it up a notch, sometimes prompting me not to progress the story and stand there to listen to the track endlessly.

What brought me down from fully immersing myself in the story, is that it sometimes focuses on cliched NPCs or situations that you can eventually deduce what role they will play. Since the overall plot touches themes related to civil rights movements, one character’s personality was made borderline stereotypical, with his only goal to be the bully or the representation of hatred against androids. It does not work because the game is already presenting you with examples of people hating androids around the city with protests and bans. If that character is going to show up consistently, make his hatred justifiable or at least understandable.

As such, make it subtle, because this game is massive in exposition and hammers, again and again, androids' rights and liberty. The game tackles race discrimination, and we are constantly reminded, almost to the point that you could say it is too "on the nose." Markus' storyline is the best example of this, with some dialogue choices that are taken straight out of real historical movements and it makes you feel as if you are reading your history book page by page.

Should I stay, or should I go?

With a rich and detailed world, "Detroit: Become Human" makes you feel and see that the main characters are humans beyond their appearance. While the game has its few misfires along the way, it is saved by the great performances of the voice actors as well as the sheer scope of its graphical beauty. It's a game you want to experience by yourself, with numerous paths that are readily available for you to discover. Just as with past games, Quantic Dream pushes your morality boundaries and makes you question yourself, how human you are with the choices you have made.