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Quantic Dream's past games, despite leaving an important mark on the adventure genre, have increasingly struggled in a post-The Walking Dead world. They have constantly pushed the limits in terms of film-like presentation in video gaming, but their writing left something to be desired.
Thankfully, Detroit: Become Human represents the studio's most emotionally mature title yet. The presentation is as good as its ever been, but it's the writing that's taken the most notable bump in quality over the studio's prior titles. It's not a plot that's as personally emotional as Heavy Rain or Beyond: Two Souls, but the level of thought and polish in the script is immediately noticeable and appreciated. The 20 Minutes into the Future setting and android protagonists also give justification and context to gameplay mechanics; the augmented reality glasses from Heavy Rain made little sense in its realistic and contemporary setting, but fit nicely as built-in features for an android police investigator. It's also a great thing to see that the studio held back on its love for unneeded and frequently fetishistic Fanservice this time.
Things are not perfect with Detroit, however. For all the steps forward that the game takes, the sheer lack of subtlety or nuance that the game parallels the plight of its androids to the real-world civil rights movement is glaringly tone-deaf. While Connor's storyline is immediately engaging and remains gripping, the storylines of Markus and Kara just don't generate the same level of interest, and the game can't help but to toss in a Shyamalan-like plot twist for Kara that only makes less sense the more you think about it. A smaller complaint is lack of originality; it's not saying anything that works like Blade Runner or Deus Ex: Human Revolution haven't already said, and with more tact to boot.
Nevertheless, Detroit is a hopeful turning point for Quantic Dream. There's a level of maturity here they've reached for in prior titles, but never managed to grasp until now. I would recommend this over any of their past titles.
The game where it sloppily handles the racism allegory? Eh... I dunno.
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