Back in 2018, Detroit: Become Human came out, and by all means, it was a great success. The game was highly lauded, and I still firmly believe it’s much better than its predecessors: Beyond: Two Souls and Heavy Rain. We’ll go into a bit of depth about the story and replayability, so warning in advance: there will be spoilers ahead. If you’ve not played Detroit: Become Human before, I advise you to stop reading now.
I remember playing Detroit that year, and there’s no doubt it was one of my favourite games. However, there was one thing I remember disliking: replaying it. I hated it at the time, but after a five-year hiatus from the game, I think I’ve finally forgotten enough of the plot that I can enjoy it again.
Before I start, though, I need to take a moment to appreciate the title screen. I didn’t appreciate it enough the first time around, but Chloe was a fun addition to the main menu. The discussion of AI was more interesting and relevant now than it was five years ago, and she always had something new to say. But I won’t chat about the title screen for too long, except I will miss having comments when I enter the game.
One of the best things about Detroit was the multiple story strands, and I do like games where your choice matters. Unfortunately, it’s also a game that will make you depressed if you make the wrong choice. I still feel guilty for some of my choices, especially when they stick.
I always said I’d replay it when I stopped remembering most of the plot, except the problem with this game is the plot is actually really memorable. It’s a narrative-driven game, so forgetting the storyline isn’t easy.
But enough time had passed that I decided to play it again. Unsurprisingly, I found it easier to play than when I initially did five years ago. Unfortunately, I still remembered some major plot twists, and it did take away some enjoyment. In this case, I’d say the main plot twist that does ruin my replayability value is Alice’s reveal as an android.
There’s nothing wrong with Alice being an android from a narrative perspective, except it does make me question Todd. Todd is Alice’s father, and he’s abusive towards her as he blames her for his wife leaving him. While on a rage-fueled red ice trip, he goes to beat Alice upstairs, so Kara needs to become a Deviant to stop him. This leads to you either attacking Todd or outright killing him.
Now, Todd is not a sympathetic character, and he has no money. He also hates androids. So when I replayed it, I had to wonder. After all, Todd’s depressed by his wife leaving him and taking his daughter with her, but how could he afford two androids? Compared to our other surrogate android father figure: Carl (RIP), Todd’s arc is never actually explored, and we all forget about him later.
The focus then turns to Kara’s relationship with this little human girl. It was heart-warming and showed that androids and humans could get along. Kara and Alice’s relationship showed that humans and androids could be a family, while Hank and Connor’s relationship explored friendship and learning to understand one another.
When Kara was revealed to be an android, it was underwhelming. We knew that android children were in the game, but Alice never really showed signs of being a Deviant. She essentially stuck to her code as a child that needed to be looked after. While I enjoyed the theme of androids coming together to make a found family, I don’t think that it was as necessary, as it doesn’t really make any difference depending on how you play as Kara.
Meanwhile, the other storylines were still fun to play. Markus has fun introspective decisions about revolution, and Connor has Hank. I will take no further questions on why Hank and Connor have the best storyline.
Overall, I think that there is replayability value in Detroit: Become Human, but is it worth playing the whole game again? Personally, I don’t think so. I think I would rather play each separate chapter, but that’s about it.
Is it still a good game? Absolutely. Are some strands better than others? Again, I want to include a resounding yes.