|release date||September 14, 2021|
|Genre||Action RPG, Stealth, Adventure|
Arkane Studios, the creators of Dishonored, Prey and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, have released a new game called Deathloop. This is a stylish adaptation of the Groundhog Day theme with charismatic characters, humor and a detective component. Below we figure out who will like the new immersive sim from the legendary studio, and who won’t and why.
The plot of Deathloop is similar in concept to the general ideas of BioShock and Dishonored. There is some alternative utopian world in which eight not always scientists, but ideologues (local bosses) created a time loop and cycled one day. The island is divided into four sectors (Frystad Rock, Charles Bay, Complex and Downtown), people live here and they all know about what is happening. Every day, the inhabitants have fun and feast, subtly kill themselves and others, in order to be reborn the next day.
But the main character, a security chief named Colt, gets fed up with the time loop and decides to break it. To do this, you need to kill all the ideologues and destroy the machine in one day. But Julianne stands in his way — one of the eight, as well as the lack of information and the rest of the island, which is trying to prevent him from interrupting the cycle of time.
Despite the confrontation in the plot, in the relationship between Colt and Julianne, the developers managed to create that very “chemistry”. They argue and swear, joke and make fun of each other, simultaneously ridiculing temporal anomalies, ideologists and other topical issues. In Deathloop, there is unexpectedly a lot of high-quality and correctly dosed humor.
Each looped local day is divided into four parts: morning, noon, afternoon and evening. All of them affect the location, its appearance and the activities of the NPC. Here they are called residents. In the morning on one map it can be quiet and gloomy, and in the evening a concert or other fun is already being held. The appearance of locations and the location of opponents also change, so going through them again and again is not as boring as it might seem at first. And you have to do it constantly.
Of course, you can die in the local Groundhog Day, but the hero is reborn on the beach, where he appeared at the beginning of the game. He has no weapons, as well as skills with bonuses. And this is already a kind of local variation on the theme of the rouge like genre. True, with time, and with the help of a local element, some of the things after death can be kept with you.
There are no manual saves here, so the game remembers the state of the character while entering and leaving the location. Anything that can happen between these two time points is not saved. Therefore, it is better not to die on missions, but there are exceptions here. At the beginning of the game, Colt is given the ability to rewind time when he dies. There are two attempts at one exit to the location and they are updated between tasks or when Julianne is killed (more on her later).
Deathloop is definitely action and definitely role-playing. But first of all it is an immersive simulator. That is, all levels and tasks in the game can be completed in several ways. If desired, it can be stealth, with the protagonist stealing, silent killings, hacking security systems and more. But if you want fun, then go ahead without any problems, destroying enemies and simultaneously getting close to the ideologues. It is allowed to get to the desired point in several ways, and to fill up the boss in two or more ways. Levels can be explored in detail, make traps for enemies, read notes, immerse yourself in the world and come up with various clever ways to pass.
At the same time, the game does not force the gamer to choose any one option, but, on the contrary, encourages him to go through it in different ways, demolishing bosses when necessary and quietly clearing the area in the right places, hacking and carrying automatic turrets, distracting and so on.
To kill eight ideologues and break the time loop, you need to learn a lot about them. Everyone has their own habits, and at different times of the day they are in different locations and even sometimes meet each other. It is better not to miss such moments and grab two birds with one stone, but for this you have to pump well.
Ideologists are local variants of mini-bosses, but killing them is not as difficult as you initially plan. After all, while the hero is collecting evidence and literally playing detective, he is pumped along the way and comes to the goals already in a fairly hung with buns condition. Plus, the limited locations help, so escape routes are built automatically in the head.
This is complemented by far from the smartest artificial intelligence in the history of games, forcing opponents to run en masse to the hero, almost without using any bypass tactics. Enemies know how to hide behind cover, but sometimes they poke into walls, show miracles of inhibition and often miss when shooting. True, the character does not need much — a couple of three hits maximum and you are dead.
In Deathloop, the hero must be equipped with charms — local skills and improvements. To begin with, we raise weapons from enemies. Here it is divided by color from gray to purple, as in role-playing games. The higher the level, the more body kits you can attach. And the gray and green guns jam at the most inopportune moment, which does not happen with their other color options.
Weapons are also found in caches, which are available at certain locations in one of four time periods. True, for this you will need to carefully study the evidence and find clues. No one will lead the player to a powerful gun so easily, as well as lead the player by the handle throughout the entire plot.
The main character Colt also becomes stronger with the help of trinkets. Various bonuses are inserted into four slots in the form of damage reduction, double jump, quick energy replenishment, and more.
The main character also has skills. True, in addition to the “Reprise” mentioned above with rewinding time back when killing, only two skills are allowed to be put. They are obtained from the killed ideologues and are different and can also be improved by trinkets. For example, invisibility, throwing enemies up or binding them with energy, after which all actions applied to one resident will happen to others. For example, several opponents are literally killed with one shot.
A feature of the passage of Deathloop in the periodic invasions of Julian during the mission. Randomly, she enters the map and hunts Colt. At the same time, all exits from the location are closed, and in addition to it, the nearest residents rush at the hero.
To get out, you need to turn off a special antenna that blocks the doors remotely. If you are lucky and get to her quickly, then there is a chance to avoid meeting with Julian and stay with the good found on the map. If you wish, you can fight with her, because in terms of strength she is approximately at the level of ideologists. And the local AI, as mentioned above, does not shine with intelligence, so it’s not difficult to cope with it.
But this is if you transfer the game offline. With the network turned on, the role of Julianna is taken on by a real player. And this is where the fun begins. The more sophisticated the gamer, the more difficult it is to deal with him. He can watch for you when you exit, or stupidly sit on the roof and shoot accurately with a sniper, suddenly pounce with a sword, or do something else. A ton of options. The same is available to you if you go to the open games of other gamers.
Although Deathloop is a first-person shooter by genre, it is difficult to call the game a full-fledged “shooter”. Shooting, although it feels juicy, still seems to be some kind of artificial. And it seems that there is a return and it’s not easy to aim, and different sounds of the weapon were brought in, and it behaves differently, but it feels like something artificial.
Deathloop is still more about action, stealth and role-playing than about shooting. Similar «plastic» weapon feel was found in Dishonored, Prey, and BioShock. It is a pity that the creators of Wolfenstein: Youngblood failed, or maybe they were not going to, to make the shooting more realistic.
Deathloop plays great on PlayStation 5. Recall that the game is a temporary exclusive for this console, and will later be released on PC. Fake shooting is improved by triggers that resist, and tasty sounds of shots, flying shells, reloading and more are heard from the gamepad speakers. Through the gamepad, there are many other interactions with the player. For example, DualSense acts as a walkie-talkie through which Colt communicates with Julianne. The vibration of the new generation is also present, but not on such a scale as in the same Returnal.
Despite its deliberately drawn style, Deathloop looks modern. There is ray tracing, 60 frames per second, as well as 4K. The visual style of the game is a mixture of Dishonored, We Happy Few and BioShock.
There were no glitches and bugs in my walkthrough, but colleagues from other publications complained about rare crashes, freezes and fps drops. I have never recorded anything like this. Perhaps I got lucky.
Deathloop has atmospheric and engaging soundtracks. It is unlikely that you can listen to them separately, but inside the game they work 100%. Russian voice acting is one of the best in recent times. The voices are well-chosen and the actors play their roles perfectly, creating the aforementioned chemistry between the characters. There is no Ukrainian translation.
Deathloop is a wild mix of genres, but first of all, it is a new, well-assembled and meticulously built immersive sim of the AAA category. I can’t call such games massive, therefore, it’s most likely impossible to recommend this version of Groundhog Day to everyone. If you are a fan of the previous Arkane games, as well as the BioShock series, then you will definitely like Deathloop as one of the best games from the French developers. At the same time, fans of straightforward plots, where the player is not forced to do everything on their own, as well as fans of more realistic shooting, should take a closer look at other releases of the fall.