Ever since the first Dishonoredgame came, Arkane Studios has for many been considered experts in putting together exciting worlds that add up to both exploration and experimentation. Enjoyably enough, this is something the new Deathloop lives up to – in style.
Welcome to the time squeeze
In Deathloop, we play as the assassin Colt, who is stuck in a time loop where the same day repeats itself indefinitely. The action takes place on the island of Blackreef, which is divided into 4 different areas: Karls Bay, The Complex, Fristad Rock and Updaam.
After playing through the introductory quest, you can explore all four parts of the island of your choice, but each time you move between the areas, time will also go one step further (all areas can be explored in the morning, morning, afternoon and evening. ). Depending on the time of day you visit a place, there will be different things going on there, and there are good reasons to stop by all the places several times.
The island is ruled by an organization of eight visionaries, called The AEON Program, and the overall goal of the game is to kill all the visionaries in one day to end the time loop and make the world normal again. To do that, you have to play through the loop many enough times to get an overview of what the visionaries are doing at any given time, how to get there, and of course how to kill them.
You get specific assignments that can be completed to work towards this goal, but notes and objects in the world can also help steer you in the right direction. The villains can be killed in several ways, but ultimately you need to find a comprehensive plan that allows you to get past all the visionaries at the right time.
Level design from top shelf
In terms of game mechanics, Deathloop is not completely far from Arkane’s previous games. The whole game takes place in first person, and what you do is a mixture of exploration, sneaking and action.
The whole game is designed to make you feel familiar in the world in the same way as you do in, for example, Dark Souls and the latest Hitman games.
You can choose how you want to proceed, whether you want to sneak past the enemies or plop down everything that moves. There is a good variety in weapons and powers, and how to equip Colt between the time loops can have a big impact on the style of play. In addition, there is a hefty upgrade system, which allows you to adapt the characteristics to both the character, weapons and powers you gather.
The visionaries move around during the day, so for most it will take a while to put together the whole complicated puzzle, but due to a simple and straightforward mission setup, I never had trouble finding meaningful things to do to work towards. the overall goal.
As you have played through a number of days, you can arm yourself with ever better equipment. In addition, you have more information about the outside world that can be used to your advantage. It is quite admirable how complicated the developers have chosen to leave the structure.
In the world, you can collect a material called “Residuum”, which allows you to store equipment and weapons in the arsenal to use it across the day. With sufficient Residuum you can build a powerful arsenal with everything from upgraded teleportation forces to super powerful special weapons.
A little tame multiplayer
In addition to the standard single player mode, you have access to a multiplayer mode. It allows players to take on the role of one of the visionaries, who goes by the name Julianna. Like Julianna, you can invade other players’ sessions and kill Colt as many times as you want. Based on how the different modes were presented in the main menu, I actually thought that the multiplayer mode should be a bit more extensive, but it is only a mode that allows you to jump into the game to friends or random players and destroy for them.
On the one hand, it works great as an extra element of uncertainty when playing as a Colt. You can never feel completely confident that you will not be invaded by another player, and it can be really stressful to be invaded while you are in the middle of something else.
Unfortunately, the Julianna mode does not quite live up to the main part of the game. In reality, Julianna’s mode is little more than an additional mode that you can play with when you finish the story. It is true that there is a separate progression system in this part that gives you better equipment and weapons after you have killed a number of players, but by and large this mode does not feel as solid as the main mode.
That said, it does not have much to say, because the rest of the game is undoubtedly some of the very best I have played this year. While it may be tempting to describe Deathloop as a kind of cross between Dishonored, Hitman and Dark Souls, it has so much identity and distinctiveness that I do not feel it is adequate enough to describe what Deathloop is. The whole game is designed around the time loop, and the goal is to finally get it closed. The road there is both interesting and memorable, and for me it became so immersive that it became almost impossible to put the game away from me before I reached the caption.
Take advantage of the hardware
Another thing that impresses is the technical quality. Arkane has, as usual, gone for a slightly more stylized graphic expression rather than realism, but jaggu it’s delicious! In the settings you can choose between several graphics modes, where all deliver a good experience. In performance mode, you get 60 frames per second, without the image quality looking significantly worse, so for many this will be a natural choice. But all modes seem to deliver what they promise. I am particularly impressed with the lighting, and it really helps to lift the presentation another notch.
As in other PlayStation 5 games, the DualSense controller’s extra features are put to good use. All firearms provide slightly different resistance in the adaptive triggers, and “haptic feedback” is used diligently to let you feel vibrations from explosions, differences in the surface you walk on and other small grips that help to increase the empathy you get as a player. It may be just a subtle difference, but for those who are fans of this functionality, it is certainly a good implementation.
Playing Deathloop is a joy in almost every way. Arkane Studios has looked at its previous game projects, built on its own formula and put together something that feels both distinctive and stylish. Both the storytelling, the open world, the presentation and everything that has to do with the game itself deliver to those degrees. I can not shake off the feeling that the developers have not been completely sure how to get the multiplayer part to fit in, but fortunately it does not take anything away from the rest of the gaming experience. Colt’s part of the game is both varied and really smart. I can not remember the last time I was so impressed by a game design as when the various pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place, and the game came to a bloody conclusion. Deathloop demands more from the player than an average blockbuster game tends to dry, a design principle that the game only benefits from.
Arkane is very strong in what is probably your latest game on PlayStation. If Deathloop is an indication of the level of quality we can expect from them in the future, I’m not the least bit worried about the studio’s future at Microsoft.
Deathloop launches September 14 for PlayStation 5 and Windows (Steam). We have tested the PlayStation 5 edition.