We got dinged at VideoGamer because we don't think Detroit is a very quality video game (in terms of narrative; it certainly looks very nice and I think the key actors do a good job). That is not, in any way, a moral judgement on you if you do like Detroit. And in fact, from a certain angle, I enjoy Detroit very much! I've been playing it on live streams and to show that we can bridge the divide between 'thinking Detroit is quality' and 'thinking Detroit is not quality', these are my favourite things in Detroit so far, in order.

This does mean there are a lot of spoilers ahead, so obviously don’t read this if you don’t want to know anything about Detroit: Become Human.

The bit where Connor promises a defective android he won't be hurt and then that android gets shot in the actual face while Connor stares at him

The first scene in the game (which is also the demo that came out a few weeks ago) is robocop Connor negotiating with a deviant android who has killed his owners and is threatening to jump off a building with their daughter. There are several different endings, including one where Connor goes off the roof with the deviant and saves the girl, and one where Connor doesn't manage to save her. In all cases Connor's face remains beautiful and impassive because he currently has no emotions save those his human makers told him how to emulate. This is, in its own way, lovely (Connor is my favourite of the android characters because he is the most robotic at the start, which suggests he has the furthest potential journey to travel; also because he tests blood samples by licking them).

It is especially lovely if you pick the ending where you talk the deviant off the ledge by promising him that he won't be hurt if he lets the girl go. The deviant is shot in the face immediately upon letting the girl go, and collapses to his knees. He says, 'You lied to me Connor…' and Connor gives absolutely zero fucks about any of it, including the girl lying crying on the floor. He walks away like a Terminator made by Burton Menswear, and I love it.

The bit where Markus is taught to paint

Markus lives with a nice old man called Carl, a very successful artist (meaning he is rich enough to afford compassion toward androids and a giant house). In one scene Carl teaches Markus to paint art – not just paint an exact replica of what he sees, which is what Markus does on his first attempt, but to do proper art. The player gets to choose what Markus paints from a few options. After getting over my initial disappointment that 'dignity' wasn't an option, I chose the emotion despair, and Markus painted a crying man because that is what despair is, and it was the best art of all the art I've ever seen.

I also really enjoy the point at which Carl complains about the commercialisation of art. 'No one gives a damn about art. All they care about is how much money they're going to make out of it,' he says, whilst living in a giant mansion with a robot servant. 

The bit where Kara finds bad drugs hidden in the washing powder

Kara is initially owned by a Bad Man named Todd (who has a daughter called Alice) who, despite being massively in debt still deems it essential to own an android that cooks and cleans for him. Anyway, one of the reasons we know he's bad is because he smokes Red Ice, which I assume is some species of meth, and he hides the baggy of Red Ice in the washing powder, for some reason. But I don't know why because he smokes it really openly in the living room, so it's not like he can be that concerned about either law enforcement or exposing his young daughter to meth. When Kara finds it he threatens her and says to never touch his stuff, but Kara is a domestic servant. He told her to clean up. Her job is literally touching your stuff, Todd.

The bit where Markus calls Carl 'dad'

Later on, if you make the same choices I did, Carl has a heart attack and dies, and Markus is like 'No! Dad! No!' This is an amazing scene because Markus is, obviously, an android with strict protocols so either a) this is the first time Markus has said it b) he developed the habit and Carl was okay with it or c) Carl specifically told Markus to call him dad. In any case, it comes out of fuckin' nowhere in the scene, presumably because without it the audience might not have realised that the dynamic Carl and Markus had was a father/son one. I mean, there is the whole thing where Carl's birth son Leo says that Carl sees Markus as a better son but. You know. You need to make these things really explicit. The fact that Leo is present to see Markus call Carl dad is also perfect, because if you're Leo and you're suspicious that an android is supplanting you in your father's affections, well, BOOM! All your suspicions have just been verified. Fuck that android up.

Markus started crying in this scene, and one of our moderators who was watching me stream said 'WHY DID THEY BUILD HIM WITH TEAR DUCTS?' which is a fair enough question. Because most of the time the androids aren't called upon to display any emotion, so do they come with tear ducts as standard because, like, some androids have replaced actors and need to emote? Is weeping functionality an extra upgrade like disc insurance for weird humans that want their robots to be sad? What's the deal here?

Lieutenant Anderson's amazing desk stickers

Connor's human partner is Lieutenant Anderson, and you get to nose around his desk a bit while he's not there, if you want to. Anderson has a Tragic Past (I assume) because near his desk is an old picture of him in uniform, clean shaven and with a short haircut. In the present Anderson has long hair and a beard and drinks a lot, from which we can infer Something Terrible Happened to turn him from 'Hero Detective' into 'Maverick Cop Who Plays By His Own Rules, And There's Only One Rule And It's That He Hates Androids' (Anderson is played by Clancy Brown, who is a very good actor and brings a lot of subtlety to this role).

Anyway, Anderson has covered the divider between his desk and the one opposite with an amazing collection of stickers that say things like 'If you're not a bartender then go away', 'How is my driving? Call 1-555-IDONTCARE', and cheery anti-android slogans including 'We don't bleed the same colour.' I liked these because they're extremely accurate to the tone of the terrible pseudo-memes you see shared on Facebook, potentially attached to a picture of a Minion. I also love them because a lot of them are clearly bumper stickers and they're not on a car. Especially the one about driving. Because he must have seen it and just loved the attitude, the IDGAF style, and put it on his desk wall to inform everyone he doesn't care, thus demonstrating that really he does care. There are also post-its stuck around his mirror saying this kind of stuff, because he even hates himself. Anderson's stickers may represent the most nuanced storytelling in the game.

The bit where Kara and Alice go to a creepy mansion and there's a stuffed ostrich

Kara and Alice go to the creepiest mansion imaginable and the man who lives there literally has android blood on his hands when he talks to them, but they still trust him I guess? Anyway before it's revealed that he's a terrifying sadist who experiments on androids to create 'monsters' (one of whom literally genuinely says 'but who's the real monster?') you can poke around his entrance hall, and he has an amazing stuffed ostrich there. You can look at it. The game specifically gives you a prompt to stare at the ostrich. It has a throw over it's back, for some reason. And it's like: the guy who owns me, a weird stuffed ostrich that he doesn't even display and instead uses as storage for a throw, is clearly some kind of dangerous pervert.

The bit where Connor and Anderson go to a sex club

Aw yeah.

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