Exactly a year ago Deathloop was released, the last peculiar production of Arkane Lyon, made exclusively for PlayStation 5 and designed to take advantage of the functions, currently unique, of the new Sony console. As everyone now knows, however, the acquisition of the Zenimax group by Microsoft has made Deathloop famous for reasons beyond the very nature of the title in question.
Net, however, of representing Arkane’s latest production to reach a Sony console exclusively, temporal or not, Deathloop is first of all a courageous title, in some ways innovative and capable of making people talk about itself for the peculiar gameplay choices made by the developers. Deathloop, however, is also a title with rather evident criticalities and which, although a year has already passed since its release, are still capable of making Arkane Lyon’s latest effort a title that is either loved or hated.
There remains no doubt that the arrival of Deathloop on Microsoft’s Game Pass represent a very good Boost for the title that can now finally be tried by all subscribers to the service, avoiding bitter disappointments and exhausting struggles to find a console that is increasingly difficult to buy.
Prisoners of Time
Thanks to the time loop, which restarts a day at the end of the events that take place from dawn to midnight, more than a trap Deathloop is a great mystery to solve, based on a series of unknowns to be found in order to untie every knot and arrive at the final solution. The title of Arkane is a world that, while not changing, manages to offer dozens and dozens of opportunities to the player. This is because, unlike the Eternalists who live the day without giving it real weight due to the constant loss of memory with each restart of the time loop, Colt remembers what happens in each cycle and treasures it to direct each subsequent action.
From this constantly learning from mistakes, and from discoveries, it follows that Colt obtains the enormous power to shape at will the micro-events that shake the immutable flow of time. Every day takes place in exactly the same way for all the others except for Colt, who can choose a different approach each time to deal with a situation which, while taking place in the same way, can be forced in a different direction, generating a temporal digression. which will also affect the following events of the day.
The success of the formula presented by Deathloop stands thanks to that sense of constant progression that is instilled in the player through the ever increasing awareness of what happens during the day. The new skills, new weapons and new tools to interact with the game spaces, can be earned by completing the missions available in the different phases of the day, and will allow, with cunning, to deflect the deadly bullet of repetitiveness that threatens the players whenever a game has a structure based on repeating the same dynamics several times.
The initial stages of Deathloop, to be completely honest, are very tight and guided. A sequence of deliberately confused events that, unlike the rest of Colt’s adventure, never manage to be truly compelling, risking to generate a slight hint of boredom in anyone not used to Arkane’s narrative style. Once the introductory phase is over, however, Blackreef will turn into a real playground… your playground. Deathloop is an Arkane title in every fiber of him and, like others before him, places his strong point in guaranteeing different and always original approachespartly thanks to the combinations of tools and skills available to Colt, partly thanks to a level design of the highest level and partly thanks to an innate ability, on the part of Arkane, to know how to tell any kind of story, managing to make it intriguing and captivating.
We will never stop repeating it, the real strength of Deathloop is the ability to give the player carte blanche on what to do, and how to do it, and a series of game mechanics that push him to constantly experiment. At each time loop that starts again, the Visionaries can always be killed in the exact same way, but why do it when the game offers a constant flow of different possibilities to sow death? Ultimately in Deathloop there are no real consequences if you fail, and death really has no value within the loop.
A thousand ways to kill
In Deathloop, Colt will have a machete to perform silent kills, a Strelak Charge (a grenade that takes on three different configurations), and the Hackamajig, a device capable of violating turrets and sensors, distracting enemies by messing up the frequencies of the devices. electronic, and unlocking doors to access places previously impossible to reach.
With just these tools at your disposal, the possibilities are numerous and totally dependent on the style of playbut if you add the dozens of different guns present in Deathloop to this triptych of skills, it goes without saying that in a short time you will begin to study always different and literally crazy attack strategies.
Knowing the routines of the characters will allow you to set traps for them and enjoy the moment of their departure from afar, as well as knowing the paths they will take will give you the opportunity to precede them to surprise them with weapons drawn, in a riot of bullets and frenetic action movie actions. from the early 90s. The weapons, as per tradition for the titles that mix timid looter shooter dynamics with a handful of concepts taken from the Rogue Like genre, will be of variable rarity, and the purple or orange ones will be provided with unique abilities .
At the same time, however, killing the same enemies in Deathloop could give you different rewards, as well as giving you a unique weapon with a completely different ability. We particularly appreciated how the lower rarity weapons do not just “do less damage”, but have peculiarities such as jamming, which will not be found in better quality, and rarity, guns.
With regard to the weapons, we particularly appreciated the ability of Sony’s Dualsense to simulate the resistances of the various weapons present in Deathloop, as well as the return of the typical feeling of a weapon that jams, thanks to the resistances present in the adaptive triggers of the controller. PlayStation 5. In the version for Xbox Series X | S this feature has obviously failed, and although it cannot be considered a defect, we must admit that we were sorry not to find a partial palliative through the vibration motors present in the controller’s triggers. from Microsoft.
The tablets complete the arsenal available to Colt: these are supernatural powers that can be obtained by killing the Visionaries. What’s even more interesting is that by killing them more than once you can get boosts for tablets that further modify an ability to make it more lethal, or to extend its usage time or the duration of the associated effect. The tablets are strongly reminiscent of the supernatural powers seen in Dishonored, but the way they can be combined makes them truly unique and customizable based on the context that will be addressed.
A maximum of two can be equipped, requiring the player a minimum of strategy before embarking on a new mission within the time loop. The Tablets, in their simplicity, represent another of those aspects present in Deathloop capable of really changing the way in which you can complete an objective, allowing you to kill in always different ways, as well as “rushare”Within the play areas to avoid repeating situations already experienced over and over again within the time loop.
Dying and having to start over, in fact, must not be perceived as a limit, but, as we have repeated several times, must be grasped as a new possibility to experiment. It is the time loop itself that, by its very nature, stimulates exploration within Deathloop, and it is the accumulated progression between cycles that holds everything together harmoniously. To do this, the development team used the most classic of clichés: the Residue, which is a substance capable of allowing Colt not to lose its powers or the most performing weapons between one cycle and another, making each loop always different and, in some ways, better.
Deathloop on Xbox Series X | S
The Xbox Series X | S version of Deathloop does not differ particularly from the one previously released for PlayStation 5 and, net of the total absence of the features associated with Sony’s Dualsense and the presence of the Goldloop update, it has very few differences with the latter.
The graphics modes remain the same already present on the Sony console: Performance mode, with dynamic 4K scaling, performance priority, no ray tracing and 60 fps; mvisual quality odality, with dynamic 4K scaling, priority graphics fidelity, no ray tracing and 60 fps with moderate dips; mRaytracing odality, with dynamic 4K scaling, high graphic fidelity, ray tracing enabled and frame rate pegged to 30 fps.
The artistic sector is also similar, which continues to confirm one of the highest peaks reached by Arkane thanks to a skilful blend of 60s pop style, some hints of steam punk and a constant reference to psychedelia of the period to which it is inspired.
As the merits remain, already rewarded when Deathloop arrived on the market at the end of 2021, even the defects found in the past are repeated in this new version of the title. Enemy AI remains one of the most disappointing presented in a recently produced video game, with predictable routines and an almost zero, and not at all intelligent, response to the player’s actions. A shame, because on many occasions, no matter how fun it is to bully opponents by treating them like meat, the dive fails, just as the difficulty curve drops dramatically downwards.
Analogous speech regarding Deathloop multiplayer which, although it is a divertissement original, shows the side of a huge unexpressed potential. By taking advantage of the invasions that Julianna, the adventure antagonist, regularly makes during the various time loops in an attempt to stop Colt, you can physically enter another player’s game and play the villain of her adventure.
A very interesting concept but that, over the past twelve months, has proved to be not very intriguing due to the few players who have decided to play the main adventure while remaining online, probably for possible fears of seeing their progress disappear due to a shotgun from sniper landed by another player.
A real shame, because on the few occasions in which we have had the opportunity to play with friends, we have experienced how this peculiar online mode also lends itself to an extreme freedom of approach. Julianna is not forced to kill Colt, which is why in some circumstances we found ourselves collaborating with other players who helped us solve a puzzle or figure out how to move at a certain time of day in order to progress with the story. A completely different approach than the one intended by the developers? Maybe yes … but we’re not so sure.