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Is Deathloop Worth It? Gameplay Review

Deathloop is a game where you are supposed to break the loop by trying again and again making you wonder is Deathloop worth it? It is a mechanically and gameplay-wise impressive game. Deathloop has a slow opening but starts to take the pace as it opens up. The game wants you to know what to expect and don’t shy away from sharing a little bit of information. There is no step-by-step guide but there is always enough information to keep players going. The open-ended nature of the game gives players more freedom. There is a great amount of mystery and developers have done a great job while trying to let players find out the answers. Everything revolves around the loop and death is not the end as players have the chance to come back.

The environment can change based on the time of day which brings more verity to the game. The game will offer you different opportunities to approach a location. Exploring a location can unlock new areas that were previously not available. So exploration and opportunities work together to provide a good experience. There is the option for both stealth and gun-blazing combat. Players have to be careful about their choices as it can change what they get in the end. There is no time limit in the time loop and each day starts a new. Deathloop is not a complete rough-like game as it is more forgiving. The personality of characters and story narration might not be some people’s liking. All this makes you wonder Is Deathloop worth it? Let’s find out.

Premise

You play as the guy named Colt who is stuck in the time loop. The entire loop consists of a single day that keeps on repeating. He has no idea how much time has it been since he is in the loop. Colt does not even know how he got stuck in the loop and how he got to where he is. When a day resents, Colt is back on the beach of Blackreef which is the island where the game takes place. Colt is trying to break the loop by piecing together different pieces of information. Eight visionaries in the game are key to breaking the loop.

The game’s setting takes place in the 60s and you will see a lot of items from that era. Even the way characters dress is also from that era. The game will show you that visionaries are not good. Some of the things that they do are pretty vile which will motivate you to take them down as soon as possible. The story of the game is bizarre but it’s intentional. There are a lot of weird moments in the game and these moments give identity to the world of Deathloop.

The Narration

Most of the game’s story is narrated through notes and audio logs. If you don’t consider this information carefully then you might not understand what the story is about. This will lead to a lot of loopholes in the plot. Things that do not make sense start to become common knowledge once you know what’s happening. This decision makes narration vague which makes it both good and bad depending on the preference of players. Such is narrative is a disaster for me but it can be different for different players. Is Deathloop worth it for its premise? There is more.

Setting

Setting plays a huge part and it can change the gameplay. Locations and time offer possibilities that can change how you approach an area. A day is divided into four parts which include, morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. Even the way an area looks can change depending on the time of day. If there is a rock concert happening in the evening, then you will see preparation for the concert at other times. So depending on the time of day, circumstances can change which changes the way you approach an area or location. The location of enemies will also change based on the time of day. Time can change how you assassinate visionaries since their location can change as well.

The beginning and end both take place at Blackreef Island. At the end of the day, you can lose everything if you don’t infuse it which I will get to later on.  There are lots of choices to around on the map. The choices that the time of day provide are a lot so you can visit the same spot on different time while still having a new experience. Revising the same spot can also provide new leads so you might need to revisit the same spot to get more leads. Depending on the goal you can stay in time of a day for a few minutes or hours. So there is no time limit for any part of the day. Is Deathloop worth it based on its setting? Let’s discuss some more.

Deathloop

Level Design and Change in the Environment

The level design of the game is intricate, even if areas are small. You can go around from one area to another with ease. Levels design makes it easier to go from one area to another without much hassle even during combat. It makes exploration easier but if you are not careful then you can miss some big spots.

Depending on how you get to an area you might miss a big spot and won’t know about it even when you complete the game. So, exploration can reveal things that you will miss otherwise. The more you explore an area the more opportunities are available over time. The map will become bigger as you unlock more areas. Is Deathloop worth it to you for the level design?

The changes in the environment based on time and opportunity keeps it fresh. These changes also help in diversifying the activities. The amount of exploration that the game has is on par with the length of the game. So it is enough to keep the game fresh to some extent by the end. Length and the constant change in locations keep the game fresh. It is not like the game lacks repeatability. There is enough repeatability to make you frustrated if your tolerance for repeatability is not that high.

Combat

The combat of the game is good and it can get intense from time to time. Deathloop is not a difficult game and it can feel forgiving most of the time. There is no difficulty setting so you can’t increase its difficulty. The game can become difficult in intense shoot-outs because health does not regenerate.

There is always the option for you to go either gun blazing or in stealth. Both will work and once you get enough abilities combat becomes more fun. Abilities can become OP if you upgrade them from the start through killing visionaries. Stealth is simple but effective and it is not that important part of the game since stealth is not the main aspect of it.

Players who can use the abilities and weapons in perfect harmony can use some crazy moves. For a skilled player, everything that you have seen in the official gameplay is possible. You can jump around and bring chaos to the combat. Is Deathloop worth it for its combat? There is more to it.

AI of the enemies can be worthless and stupid that can feel frustrating at times. Enemies won’t even care if you shoot nearby enemies. Sometimes they won’t even care if you shoot someone in front of them. Their response to attacks is pathetic and they can’t even respond properly to an attack.

The Visionaries and Abilities

Visionaries are bosses and they have superpowers. Once you take down a visionary then you can take their ability or weapon. If you want more information for progression then you have to open safe and won’t have to kill the visionary. The information in safe helps in breaking the loop which results in progression. You can keep on killing visionaries over and over to level up your abilities. This encourages repeatability which can be good or bad depending on the preference.

Colt can use different abilities and as you progress more abilities will unlock. Shift is teleportation that can help you reach inaccessible areas. Karnesis lets you throw enemies around which is similar to Psychonauts 2. Nexus can link two enemies together and killing one of them will kill both. There are other abilities as well, all these abilities make combat varied and interesting. It can remind you a lot about the Arkane Studios Dishonor series.

Weapons have unique attributes that make them different than each other. Gunplay is good and firing guns feel satisfying. Weapon feedback and shooting animations are quite interesting. Each weapon is unique from the way they fire to the way they are reloaded. There is even an SMG that can be converted into dual pistols. Colt will kill enemies with melee in a cool way which makes melee takedown quite interesting. Is Deathloop worth it to you for its weapons and abilities? There is still more to the combat.

Deathloop

Infusion and Customization

Once the day resets, you can then lose everything that you have including weapons and abilities. If you want to keep a weapon or an ability then you would need to infuse it. Infusing enables you to use the weapon even when the day resets. Infused weapons are saved weapons that you can bring to combat. You can only take three abilities and two weapons with you.

If both weapons use the same ammo type then you have to be more careful since you can run out of ammo quickly. Sometimes you will find weapons that you would want to bring back for infusion even if you don’t need them. The currency used for infusion is known as residuum points. You can spend these points to keep a weapon or anything else that you want to keep. Infusing powerful weapons and abilities can make the game easier.

Trinkets are attachments for weapons, abilities, and Colt. Trinkets for weapons can increase accuracy, recoil, and things like that. Slab trinkets can make abilities more effective and can even change the purpose of an ability. Trinkets for Colt help him sprint faster, double jump, and so on. You will want to use different abilities and weapons to find a good balance. The game can become easier in the end once you get powerful abilities and weapons. Is Deathloop worth it for its customization? Let’s discuss some other aspects of it.

Information is the Key

By the time you reach the end, you will have fully upgraded all your weapons and abilities. Depending on your playstyle certain activities could be more useful to you than others. Deathloop is not a complete rough-like game since it is more forgiving, you will still need to start from the beginning at the end of the day. In each loop, you have three lives and after ending the three lives you have to start a segment from the beginning. Is Deathloop worth it to you based on what you know so far? there is still more to it.

Information is important and that is true for everything that Deathloop has to offer. Once a loop resets, you lose everything that is not infused but everything you know about an area would remain with you. Knowing things can help you approach scenarios differently. If you know the location of enemies in a segment of a day then you can plan accordingly. Certain opportunities are only available at a certain time of the day. Knowing about these opportunities and the location of enemies can help a lot. So having intel is not just important for progression but gameplay as well.

Invasion

At an unpredictable time, Julianna will invade the player and try to assassinate Colt. This is known as invasion and it is the PVP aspect of the game. Another player will invade you and will play as Julianna. Taking down Julianna can be rewarding as it can refresh your lives, provide an upgrade to one of your abilities, and, you can also take any weapon she has. She has to end all your lives but you only need to kill her once.

She is another player so invasion can be problematic, you can lose everything that is not infused if she kills you. You can always turn off PVP invasion and then only AI Julianna will invade you. The AI of Julianna is better than normal enemies but she is not as good as a real player. Turning on PVP can lead to some frantic moments and suddenly make the game more intense. Match-making can be a problem since it can take quite a while before the match make can let you invade another player.

Julianna and the Perspective

Julianna also serves as a unique character with her own upgrade and arsenal of weapons. The more you play as Julianna the more she will level up which will unlock new stuff. You can also invade the game of other players. Players can turn off PVP, make it friends only, or Public. Invading other players can be fun and it can help you unlock cosmetics for both Colt and Julianna. She can lay traps at different locations and can even turn an NPC into her. It is easy for other players to identify the duplicate Julianna but in intense combat, it can be helpful. The idea of invasion is similar to Dark Souls games.

Before Colt starts a mission Julianna will call him and insult him. This feels refreshing but after some time, it all starts to feel the same and becomes repetitive. Players having more knowledge of an area will be at an advantage as it enables them to lay a trap or avoid them easily. Once again, Intel can play an important part in gameplay. The game lets you create your own identity and Invasion lets you see the character development from two different perspectives. Is Deathloop worth it to you for the PVP? There is more to the game.

General Gameplay

Change in time can bring visual changes to the game that can open new paths and close the others. Every discovery, quest, and Intel is noted in the quest log making it easier to avoid repeatability. You can pursue multiple things or a single puzzle. Each discovery will bring you closer to breaking the loop. Once you piece together enough logs and audio logs, you can piece together the story. Such a choice of narrative helps player perceive their own narrative. So a lot of what you know about everything happening in the game will also depend on how you piece together the puzzles.

The game will always point you in a certain direction and won’t leave you unguided. However, it won’t babysit every step of the way as it wants you to make your narrative. Deathloop strikes the balance between discovery and guided entertainment. It propels you in a direction and you won’t even know why you are doing so. Killing visionaries with superpowers is also a major part of the game. It will have an impact on combat, general gameplay, and progression. The freedom that it offers makes you feel like you are making your own identity. Invasion makes you see the narrative of  others based on their character. So there is a great emphasis on freedom of narrative as well.

Rewarding Exploration

As explained earlier that experience can change based on different variables. How you get to a location, whether you will be detected on your way or not, all can change with time. So enemy encounter in a location can be different based on what is happing at that time. Knowing about the location of enemies or something happening on the map can help a lot. Knowledge is power and the more you know the better the encounter. Exploration will open new venues which will open up more opportunities. These opportunities can be rewarding and will also help in the gameplay.

Getting a code from a visionary can help Colt open a specific door that can unlock a path, previously not available. The location of the character will only change based on the time of day. So you will find characters in the same location in the morning whenever you visit that location in the morning. You will not find the enemy in the same location at noon, afternoon, or evening. Time can have an impact on where enemies can be. Is Deathloop worth it for its rewarding exploration?

Deathloop Is Not Next-gen

Deathloop fits the explanation of the next-gen game since it is available on PlayStation 5 and PC (Timed PlayStation Exclusive will be available on Xbox Series X/S). Unlike other next-gen games, Deathloop is bad even in the look department. It plays like a game from 8th gen consoles and feels like a game from 8th gen consoles (Xbox One, PS4). Even some cross-gen games look and play a lot better than it. So don’t expect a next-gen experience from it with eye-popping visuals.

The voice acting of characters is good and there are some funny moments in the game. These light-hearted moments can feel interesting as they can change the pace. You have to select weapons and abilities before starting each mission. It also has DualSense support for haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. So you can feel weapons and abilities while using them.

Deathloop

Verdict

Deathloop has a good design that lets you make your own narrative. Its narrative choice can be a nuisance for players who don’t want to explore stories by piecing together different information. Careful tactics and information are important to the game. Having information is always helpful for both progression and gameplay. You can either go gun blazing or stealth to achieve the goal. The information, narrative, and level design go hand in hand with each other. It wants you to make a narrative as per your experience rather than giving you straightforward answers.

The changes in opportunities based on the activities make it feel similar to the Hitman series. It has a confidently designed structure that works well when fully utilized. Writing can feel awkward at times but its open-ended nature makes it feel better. In a sense, it has a secret agent setting with a time loop. The total playtime of the game ranges from 15 to 25 hours depending on how much side stuff and exploration you do. It is not the best game but is decent enough.

Now let’s answer the question Is Deathloop worth it? Well, if you are looking for a game with a different kind of setting and narrative then it could be the game for you. If you are looking for a game with decent gunplay and combat then Deathloop could still be the game for you. It is also a game for players who are into rough-like games though it is not a complete rough-like game. It is not the top game with eye-popping visuals and mechanics but it provides a good experience. None of its issues will get in the way of experience which leads to decent gameplay.

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