Features

Step into androids’ shoes in Detroit: Become Human

How ready are we for a world filled with androids?

Published

on

The year is 2038. Androids — machines with human-like features, not the mobile operating system — walk among us. If it sounds familiar, that’s because this kind of story has been told and retold countless times in books, movies,and television shows like a sci-fi cliché.

However, what makes Quantic Dream’s interactive drama game Detroit: Become Human an outlier, as opposed to its many thematic brethren, is when it is set. In most iterations of the androids and/or robots narrative, they’re set in a distant future. This game takes place in 2038, a time that doesn’t seem too far off (that’s 20 years from now!).

So, think about it: Can a real-life Cyber Life — the company responsible for making these androids — rise up between now and then? It’s not too far-fetched of an idea. As early as now, we’re already worried about artificial intelligence (AI) taking over human jobs, not to mention stories tackling how AI-powered humanoids can take our place in the sack.

Androids line up on a shed to recharge

It’s a future that is both fascinating and terrifying. Sure, we might be ready for the logistical challenges it might pose, but how prepared are we as a society to take on the psychological, moral, and ethical issues that may arise when this future comes?

These potential realities are precisely what the people at Quantic Dream want us to face in this game. At nearly every turn, what you decide to do will lead to a different outcome. This component of the game could have you playing for hours on end. During the briefing, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Quantic Dream and Executive Producer of Detroit: Become Human, Guillaume de Fondaumiére, mentioned that the opening scene “The Hostage” alone already has six potential endings — all of which you can opt to go through.

Flowchart of the opening scene “The Hostage”

Multiple narratives

Another thing that makes Detroit: Become Human, in Fondaumiére’s words, “rather unique,” is that it’s not bogged down by a short running time because it’s a game. This allowed them and allows us to explore the many aspects of this potential reality.

“The great thing about Detroit is it can tell a story for 30 to 40 hours. That lets you explore a great number of themes,” said Fondaumiére. “And the other thing is that it’s a game. We give the player the possibility to tell his or her own story.”

This story is told through three perspectives, albeit all through android lenses. First, there’s Kara, a house help android, designed and programmed primarily for housekeeping chores. Then there’s Connor, a Cyber Life agent whose tasks involve helping solve the mystery of why and how certain androids appear to be breaking their programming. Lastly, there’s Markus whose owner is an accomplished but old and ill artist who encourages him to think for himself.

Kara with her light indicator turning yellow which means the situation could be escalating

How did they end up with three characters? Fondaumiére shares that as the story was being written, the game’s director and writer David Cage had more questions about this world that they were building, and it led them to the conclusion that “it didn’t make sense” for all these questions to be asked only through a single perspective.

“Using different characters gave [David] the possibility to get different perspectives and to be able to create the bedrock for these questions to emerge,” said Fondaumiére.

Connor and Lt. Anderson in the car right before examining a crime scene

Fondaumiére broke down the perspectives for each character: “Kara, I guess, we’re touching upon the emotional and social sides of these questions. With Connor, we’re investigating androids. What happens? What makes them become emotional? Sentient? And with Markus we’re centered around the question of freedom. What if, all of a sudden, these androids no longer want to be our slaves? What if they start to question their place in our society? What will they do?”

Markus administers medicine for his old and ill owner

Markus lives with an old, accomplished artist that influenced his views on freedom

Gripping story, stunning visuals

The idea is great and the execution, perhaps, even better. Playing Detroit: Become Human feels like binge-watching a Netflix series but with you at the helm. The cinematography in each shot feels well thought-out, the visuals are so captivating that some moments feel like you’re seeing live action actors. The best part is you’re involved. Every decision you make with each character affects how the people these androids are surrounded by react to you, therefore affecting the events that will transpire next.

Kara’s emotional bond with Alice pushes her to do things beyond her programming

There’s so much emotion that is effectively communicated through the combination of great camera work and fantastic acting. The game hooks you in as effectively as a TV series does and quickly makes you emotionally invested in the plight of the three main characters.

Markus administers medicine for his owner

What Fondaumiére repeatedly emphasized is how Detroit: Become Human is the player’s story, more than anyone else’s.

“Through gameplay, you’re going to ask yourself many questions, and it could change your attitude and how you decide. We give the player the possibility to tell his or her own story.”

Their role, he says, is to “show you the logical consequences.”

Connor is constantly in crime scenes caused by defiant androids

Fondaumiére hopes that after one playthrough, players go back and play again and really track how their initial decisions and the outcome that those produced affected how they played the rest of the game. He wants the players to be able to form their opinion on this potential reality so that when it comes — and he strongly believes that it will — we will all be ready.

Asked if he’s open to owning his own android, Fondaumiére set his answer up by saying how he’s a geek and is constantly fascinated by the advancement in technology, so in two words: “Why not,” adding that getting a few extra hours for himself because he can have someone else run his errands is an idea he can entertain.

Would you want to own an android?

Detroit: Become Human will be released on May 25, 2018. Pricing are as follows:

Standard Edition:

Philippines — PhP 2,799
Singapore — SGD 72.90
Malaysia — MYR 229
Indonesia — IDR 729,000
Thailand — THB 1,890

Collector’s Edition: (Includes the full game, digital soundtrack, dynamic theme, and a physical art book)

Philippines — PhP 3,199
Singapore — SGD 84.90
Malaysia — MYR 259
Indonesia — IDR 849,000
Thailand — THB 2,190

SEE ALSO: God of War: A must-play for 2018

Features

9 Best Gaming Smartphones (Q2 2018)

Choose your weapon for mobile gaming!

Published

on

We’re almost midway through the year, so it’s time to update our Best Gaming Smartphones list! Our initial list during the first quarter of 2018 included six suggested phones, but for the second quarter, we now have nine. Some have stayed, and there are definitely new entries.

Without further ado, here are our top picks for the best gaming smartphones:

Apple iPhone 8

Whether you like iOS or not, you can’t deny that iPhones (especially the latest releases) are one of, if not the best mobile gaming platform. Apple’s devices run smoothly and are favored by developers so it’s a no-brainer that games released for iOS are guaranteed to be in tip-top shape. We chose the iPhone 8 Plus here because of its larger display at 5.5 inches and bigger battery compared to the iPhone 8’s, and it doesn’t have a notch that gets in the way like with the iPhone X.

SEE ALSO: Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus Review

Motorola Moto Z2 Play

Motorola’s game-changing Moto Mod accessories make their Moto Z series special. If you pair the Moto Z2 Play with the Gamepad Moto Mod, it’ll be an instant portable console. The Gamepad adds dual control sticks, a D-pad, and four tactile action buttons which mean you don’t have to rely on touch controls anymore. Also, the Moto Mod magnetically attaches to the phone with no wireless pairing required and has its own built-in battery. The gaming accessory works with the powerful Moto Z2 Force, as well. The phone is already due for an update, and the Moto Z3 Play’s announcement is just around the corner.

SEE ALSO: Moto Z2 Play Review: To mod or not to mod

Nokia 7 Plus

Nokia is definitely back in the game and the Nokia 7 Plus is our choice from their arsenal. Why? It’s got a flagship-grade processor and it runs pure Android. It’s like having a Pixel-like device but at a fraction of the cost. The tall aspect ratio is also a good feature for better gaming.

SEE ALSO: Nokia 7 Plus: The Android One midranger

OnePlus 6

The latest OnePlus 6 phone is now out and it’s definitely one of the best smartphones you can buy for gaming. It’s powered by the latest Snapdragon 845 processor and comes with 6GB of memory — a combo that’ll surely deliver without hiccups and lags. The display notch can get in the way of your game though, but that can easily be fixed in the Settings menu.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus 6 is officially a complete Android flagship phone

Razer Phone

When we were shortlisting our gaming smartphones, the Razer Phone was already on the top of the list. The phone is focused on being a true gaming smartphone since it’s made by Razer. It’s got the latest specifications to play popular and demanding games, a 5.7-inch IGZO panel with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, front-facing stereo speakers, and a long-lasting battery. It also has other features to make it a daily driver, but you can immediately tell that the Razer Phone is built for gaming.

SEE ALSO: Razer Phone Review: Best smartphone for gaming?

Samsung Galaxy S9+

We’re replacing the Galaxy Note 8 with the latest Galaxy S9+. The premium Galaxy phone comes with the latest specifications — may it be the Snapdragon or Exynos variant. It also has one of the most beautiful phone displays with curved edges that make gaming more immersive.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ Hands-On: AR Emoji and super slow-mo

Sony Xperia XZ2

Another fresh entry on the list is Sony with the Xperia XZ2. It has powerful specifications and a gorgeous HDR display just like the other phones here, but it has something that makes it standout: the Dynamic Vibration System. You can feel the game (or even video) on the Xperia XZ2 thanks to its DualShock-like vibration system that mimics a similar experience on PlayStation controllers.

SEE ALSO: Sony Xperia XZ2 Review: Flexing more camera muscles

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S

When Xiaomi launched their latest borderless flagship phone earlier this year, it was the fastest Android phone on AnTuTu’s test and even in real-world usage! Packed with the latest Snapdragon 845 processor and up to 8GB of memory, the Mi Mix 2S will be able to run even the most demanding mobile games. It’s also priced competitively just like the OnePlus 6, but this one doesn’t have a notch. 😉

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S Review: Faster, smarter

Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (AI)

We’re putting two Xiaomi phones on the list, because why not? While we wait for the successor to the Mi Max 2, the best budget-midrange phone from Xiaomi is the Redmi Note 5. It can handle the latest titles, although they might not be at the highest settings. For a budget phone, it’s already an impressive feat to be able to run popular titles, so no complaints here.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Hands-on: The new budget smartphone king?

Continue Reading

Accessories

Xiaomi Haul: Spring Edition

Xiaomi is not just about smartphones

Published

on

Prev1 of 7
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Xiaomi is primarily known for their value-for-money smartphones that sell like hotcakes during online flash sales. But like CEO Lei Jun said in an open letter recently, Xiaomi is more than a hardware company; they are an innovation-driven internet company.

Much to my excitement, the Chinese company started opening physical Mi stores all around Asia in recent years selling not just smartphones, but also products ranging from smart home tech to toys to fashion items.

Fast forward to 2018, Xiaomi now has a whole ecosystem of products from startups and companies that they funded. In the last few months, I’ve acquired a few of them from trips abroad and the mall so now it’s time to unbox and start using them.

Amazfit Pace, CNY 799 / PhP 6,200

Xiaomi produces its own fitness trackers but they look like, well, a fitness tracker that doesn’t look good on most people’s wrists. Amazfit Pace is also one of the smartwatches available at Mi stores, and arguably one of the better looking ones. It has a heart rate sensor and GPS built-in, modes for running, walking, biking, and more. It promises 5 days of battery life, and you can even sync your data through the Strava app.

The box comes with the watch, user guide and warranty information, a micro-USB cable (sigh), and a charging dock.

Functions are honestly quite limited for it to be a full-fledged smartwatch; there are no other apps available for download right now since it runs on its own OS. And, it still looks very much like a sports watch so it’s not something I would wear everyday to work or to my brother’s wedding. But if I were to get really serious about tracking my activities and fitness goals, I’d still rather wear something that looks like a watch and not a hideous band of rubber.

Prev1 of 7
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Continue Reading

Reviews

ASUS ZenFone Max (M1) Unboxing and Review

The battery prince

Published

on

These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smartphone with really poor battery life even if devices are getting smaller and slimmer.

Although every now and then, big-battery devices come along and make our super-slim phones feel inadequate. The latest smartphone to do so is ASUS’ budget smartphone, the ZenFone Max (M1). Is this your GadgetMatch?

Continue Reading

Trending