A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Detroit: Become Human is an interactive sci-fi adventure for the PlayStation 4. The game is set in a near future in which artificially intelligent androids are created and sold as pseudo-appliances to fill certain roles in society. The bulk of the game involves players making choices at certain key moments and then watching how the results of their unique chain of decisions unfold. There are some heavy themes, including domestic violence, the struggle for equality, social disorder, and drug use. Over the course of the story, players will see/experience a fair amount of realistic violence: People are shot, stabbed, beaten, and otherwise injured. There's also sexually suggestive content, partially nude androids, and discussion of androids as sexual partners. Profanity-laced dialogue includes frequent use of "f--k" and "s--t," and frequent drug use and drinking are shown as the stories unfold.
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What's it about?
DETROIT: BECOME HUMAN takes place in the future -- Detroit in the year 2038. Society has seen a massive shift, thanks to advances in technology, culminating in the creation of intelligent android servants. These androids can be bought and sold, programed to fill specific roles, and serve humankind's whims. But what happens when these androids start to question their purpose? The game answers this question by taking players on a journey through the lives of three androids: a caretaker who learns to rise up and unite his kind to resist oppression, a prototype law enforcement investigator tasked with keeping his brethren in line, and a servant whose love for a child's well-being overrides the limits of her programming. While each android has his or her own story to tell, their paths are intertwined. Choices have consequences. Submit or resist. Violence or peace. Life or death. Their fate, and the fate of society as a whole, lies in your hands.
Is it any good?
This sci-fi tale is less like a standard video game and more like an interactive movie, because your decisions affect and change the development of the plot. Detroit: Become Human isn't like most standard games: You're not upgrading equipment, picking up new skills, or racing to the next waypoint. Instead, you're experiencing a new world through unique sets of eyes, making difficult, life-altering decisions, and then watching how those choices unfold. That's not to say there aren't a few gamelike elements from time to time. Usually these are quick time events, which are tests of reflexes and attention somewhat like a glorified game of Simon Says. But these are a double-edged sword. While they help you feel like you're taking a more active role in the events, tracking the on-screen prompts makes it difficult to pay attention to the effects of your actions.
If you look at Detroit: Become Human as something other than a video game, you'll find that it does a great job of telling its story ... and in some ways, telling your story, too. The decisions you make seamlessly craft a genuinely unique tale catered to you. Even seemingly insignificant decisions like opening a window can have major implications later. There are so many branches in the game's plot that it comes with a built-in flowchart that lets you sort out how your decisions paved the way for the narrative. This comes in handy with later playthroughs, because you can sort out where the story branches and what you can do differently in a way that doesn't give away what will happen if you take a different path at a given fork in the road. No matter which path you choose, Detroit's plot is sure to have an impact. By seeing through the eyes of these androids and experiencing their lives, you can't help but feel empathy for their plight. These are more than just living appliances or tools for modern convenience. These are characters struggling to achieve a higher sense of purpose and to prove not only that they deserve equality in a society that demeans and degrades them, but that, when push comes to shove, they can be more human at heart than the world in which they live.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Detroit: Become Human different because some of it is against androids rather than humans? How does it affect things that the androids look like humans?
How do games, movies, and other media like Detroit: Become Human address current social issues? What are some parallels that can be drawn from the plot to both past and current real-world social issues?
Is it important to weigh the possible consequences, as well as the benefits, of making certain life decisions? What are some good ways to work on making the best choices? Are there ways to repair the damage from poor decisions?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: May 25, 2018
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Robots, Science and Nature
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.