Read the previews and the moment I saw “Androids Sit at the back of the bus and aren’t allowed to go into certain places” talked about in uniform style across the previews told me everything I need to know.
I played the demo and WOW. I mean I was expecting the writing to not be good in any way because it’s not just David Cage but David Cage telling this kind of story. But the writing is so bad that the demo’s like ten minutes long and I almost didn’t finish it. Holy shit. This game makes Beyond Two Souls look like Planescape: Torment, it’s genuinely stunning. Like damn, I wasn’t expecting greatness but I strongly recommend you all try the Detroit: Become Human demo to see how bad it is.
I un-ironically enjoyed Beyond: Two Souls because he stumbled into make a pointedly stupid late 70s/early 80s paranormal b-movie simulator. Detroit: Become Human though, this game takes itself REEEEEAAAAALLLLLLYYYY seriously. Every line of it is delivered with this aural and visual flair of “EXPERIENCING THIS GAME IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE” despite it being the tritest dialogue ever.
I want you all to understand something. Remember that movie Bright? I liked it.
That’s how bad the writing in Detroit: Become Human is. The one person on this board who liked Bright thinks it’s the worst shit ever.
So it’s nothing we didn’t already see two (?) years ago at E3, not exactly giving any new information we didn’t already have.
I’m not even sure there’s enough writing in the demo to really say that much. It’s self-serious, middling performances, which can quickly turn on how charitably you’re taking it in. Over the weekend I watched the triple of scifi movies Netflix brought the distribution rights for in 2018. Annihilation, The Cloverfield Paradox, and Mute. Oh hey, scifi stories that are basically there for the ride (and spectacle) and can veer drastically between what they intend to be emotional notes and dropping that to focus on the aesthetics or scifi contrivances. Hey, I just remembered Altered Carbon came out this year too.
This is probably going to end up towards the bottom end of that scale (although visually some of the flying stuff in Mute is probably worse CGI than in Detroit - how did that get released like that?) because David Cage will have refused to listen to other writers, to let actual directors manage the mocap sessions, or to actually change things based on notes from editors. But there’s not a lot in this demo on which to base that (more the long history of having hope that maybe the writing will get better in the next game when it never does).
It still looks nice for real-time rendered but the player-controlled animations continue to lag behind the cinematics (with constantly improving visuals making the gap more and more pronounced) in a way that makes me feel like there’s got to be a major step up in that area. It’s not outright farce but it’s starting to make you wonder who bothers throwing more investment into the visuals only to hand over movement control to the player and watch their avatar bumble around the scene totally unlike the mocap movements for the rest of the experience. When a protagonist needs to climb all over terrain then maybe you cut it some slack but being unable to navigate a perfectly flat apartment without looking terrible trying to navigate round a table - stuff could do with getting some more focus.
Even if the demo was great (I’m getting the sense that it’s not, but hypothetically speaking), remember how Indigo Prophecy/Fahrenheit had an awesome demo that turned out to be the only good part of the whole game.
Man, sometimes I just stop and think about how much of a mess Indigo Prophecy was…
That’s exactly how this demo is built too. Though while Indigo Prophecy’s demo could be figured out with observation and experimentation, Detroit uses the character’s nature to remove entire areas of though process from the action of “playing a game.” Like there’s a level of hand holding and telling you how things will turn out if you do a thing that’s so intrusive that if the final game is as far away from the demo as possible it would be an improvement.
I just played the demo, and despite the awful dialog and exploitative situation, I managed to have a decent time with it. It reminded me of the diner scene in Indigo Prophecy, in that it offered a small, highly interactive slice of the game’s mechanics that could play out in any number of ways. Incidentally, the diner scene is probably the last time I thought to myself that Quantic Dream was onto something. In any case, the demo certainly did not make me want to buy Detroit, but it was enjoyable enough as its own self-contained thing.
I have been literally thinking of this quote all day because it is terrifyingly true, cursing the pixels that make up the font that brought that demonic thought from your mind digitaly to this page,infecting the forefront of my thought process and now I don’t know what to do with myself.