David Cage games, either you love them or hate them. To be honest up till now I’ve not been overwhelmed by them. I’d only really played Heavy Rain previously and while I enjoyed the story I had a couple of serious complaints around Quick Time Events, branching paths and player agency.
Detroit takes the interactive movie concept to the next level and addresses all my concerns from the earlier game. Those problems still exist, will always exist, because that’s the nature of this style of game. However, QTE’s don’t feel like the driving gameplay, branching paths feel more varied, and as I player I feel I actually have agency in the action and outcomes.
Indeed, I had no problem playing this game three or four times through, taking different paths, making different choices and getting different endings. I was surprised at how tight the story was and how enjoyable exploring the branching narrative was.
Story wise it will remind UK players of a recent Channel 4 drama starring Katheryn Parkinson called Humans. Very similar looking androids exploring extremely similar themes of robots becoming sentient and resulting questions of slavery and identity.
While Cage may lay on the United States Civil Rights angle a little thick at times, the story is engaging and at times very thought provoking.
Graphically Detroit is a stand out game with character models beyond anything you’re likely to see anywhere else until the next generation. For supposed robots I’ve not seen such perfect facial animation anywhere outside Hollywood pre-rendered CGI.