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    Die in order not to die, the Deathloop review

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    Who I am
    Philippe Gloaguen
    @philippegloaguen

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    Innovate. A mission that seems increasingly difficult to accomplish for thick productions. With the proliferation of independent projects, the room for maneuver for triple-A titles is increasingly reduced, to the point that it is often the independent games themselves that become a source of inspiration for high-budget productions.

    Fortunately, in all this there are still those who manage to find a way to propose a new formula, which they do not know already. We are talking about Deathloop, which, albeit without crying out for a miracle, manages to give us a sense of novelty, which tickles and awakens those dormant sensations of the passionate player, who over the years has given vent to every curiosity, genre and mechanics that the world of video games had to offer. to propose.



    To die in order not to die

    Deathloop goes strong, a few seconds, no possibility of interaction and we are already at the first death. We wake up on a beach, displaced and disoriented, a feeling that moves between the avatar and the player in a natural way, without complex or cumbersome gimmicks. 

    Catapulted into the shoes of Colt Vahn, we immediately understand that we are reliving the events that led to our death. Finding ourselves taking our first steps on the beach, the events slowly begin to make sense. From this point, each new piece of information helps to give us an idea of ​​what happened. Thus begins a process of gradual discovery that will create a perfect symbiosis between avatar and player, sucking us completely into the desire to untangle the puzzle. The mission to accomplish is simple but complex at the same time: you have to break the loop.


    The Blackreef Rules

    A production that aims to set the bar very high cannot simply make use of a charismatic protagonist, something else is needed. You need a frame to place the painting on, and the frame we're talking about is Blackreef. The fictional island of Blackreef is divided into four districts, maxi arenas in which our raids will come to life. Each area can be visited during four moments of the day: morning, noon, afternoon and evening. The choice of when to visit one of these four locations will be at our discretion; once the mission has started we will not have any time limit to complete it.


    The beginning of the adventure leaves no breath, we start off like a bomb

    When to finish it (once the goal is completed) it will be our choice - but be careful - to finish it means to move on to the next arc of the day. The loop is divided into four stages, once the evening is over, the day will start again, and we will be forced to a new loop. We will find ourselves on the beach again, losing all progress and kills made, but be warned, this is not a problem. Each loop that we will experience is an extra step to learn details from the game world and obtain other useful information to break the repetition of events. Thanks to a power in our possession, in case of death, we will have two possibilities before having to start the loop again, these are reset at each advance of the day. 

    By any means

    Having acquired the information necessary to understand how the loop works, we just have to get to work to break it, yes, but how? Visionaries, eternalists, tablets and weapons. These are the fundamental points that make up the complex puzzle to be put in order. 


    I Visionary they are Colt's eight antagonists, charged with protecting the loop at any cost: our job is to kill them all. It is not a simple thing, as they, for safety, are divided into different areas of Blackreef, and can only be found at a specific time of day. The primary goal of the player is to make sure that two visionaries are found together every span of the day, in order to be able to ring the eight kills in a single loop. The key to bringing them together is to change their routines, taking advantage of the information scattered around the map. The Eternalists they are simple soldiers, meat to be cut to pieces when we find them on our way. Nothing particularly complicated, except when they start to be very numerous.


    Life, death… by any means

    The weapons they represent the means by which Colt can outperform the competition. They are divided by quality, from the less performing ones (which can also jam) up to rare and unique weapons obtainable by completing certain quests, which we leave you the pleasure of discovering for yourself. Each weapon can be upgraded with dog tags, available as loot from enemies. The problem is that, once the loop is restarted or after suffering more than two deaths, our accumulated arsenal will disappear into thin air. Fear not, one of the visionaries has created a special technology that allows you to store weapons between loops: the infusion. Infusing items will cost energy, recoverable from the corpses of visionaries or time-damaged items scattered around the map.

    The tablets they are unique powers available to different visionaries, by killing them in specific missions, we will be able to recover and infuse them, making them ours forever. We learned the rules of the loop, we discovered how it is composed and how to master it, but how does all this translate pad to hand? When it comes to gameplay, the guys from Arkane they are probably second to none. Already in the past with Dishonored e Prey we appreciated the skills, but with Deathloop they have certainly taken a step forward. 


    In terms of playability, the title offers an enormous amount of possibilities, limited only by our imagination. The shooting system has probably taken the most decisive step in terms of feedback and responsiveness. The only criticism that can be raised (by more demanding players) is the excessive use of aim assist, which when associated with a single weapon will make you a real unstoppable war machine. 


    The weakest point of production lies without a shadow of a doubt in the artificial intelligence of the enemies, which is absent to say the least. During our test we witnessed situations that to define grotesque is to minimize. The awareness of the enemies is absolutely nil, it has happened to us several times to slaughter one of their companions in plain sight without them noticing. Fortunately, all this does not significantly affect the perception of fun that you have playing Deathloop, on the other hand, however, it downplays the importance of the powers of the tablets. Excluding the translation (imported slavishly from Dishonored) all the others could be negligible, useful to quench our thirst for blood towards the enemies rendered helpless and forced to suffer. 

    Does DualSense strike again?

    Side note for the "protect loop" mode, which places us on the opposite side of the fence, in the role of Julianna Blake. The goal will be to take out the Colt of another player, real or some of our friends who are trying to break the loop. It is a secondary addition, such as not to distort or decisively impact the experience, but without a doubt a gimmick that will not displease. 

    Then we cannot fail to tell you about the implementation of the DualSense, exclusive of PlayStation 5 (the only console on which Deathloop is currently available). The pad created by Sony returns intoxicating sensations during gameplay: every reload, every shot exploded, every step, every single action transmits intense, precise and engaging feedback into the player's hands, thanks to both vibrations and adaptive triggers. Truly one of the best implementations along with return (speaking of loops).

    From a technical point of view, the games developed by Arkane have never particularly shone from a graphical point of view. This is not to say that they weren't beautiful to look at, in fact, it's probably the exact opposite. The main skill of developers is to make a level design of very high thickness. The multiple approach options must be supported by a large map, developed vertically and fully explorable by the player. To do this, the structures must have an architectural and structural sense, and from this point of view the four areas of Blackreef fully fulfill their duty. 

    Deathloop offers the best of itself from an artistic point of view: each environment, each point of the map is made in an exemplary way, each object is positioned according to a logic; it will be difficult to come across places where, for example, there is a wardrobe just to block the passage. The different areas of Blackreef will change according to the time of day you visit them, changing the weather conditions or the accessibility of some areas. 

    We tried the game on PS5, here's how it goes!

    The PS5 version (and it is the one we have analyzed) offers three possibilities of use: performance, resolution and framerate unlocked, and Ray Tracing. We can recommend without a shadow of a doubt play Deathloop in performance mode, so as to give emphasis and justice to the frenzy offered by the gameplay. We advise against the other choices: in the second option the framerate is very unstable, with evident drops, even of 20 / 30fps; in the third ray tracing is limited to shadows, which are more than acceptable even in performance mode. Nothing to say for the particle effects of the powers, well-made textures, except for some rare cases where, if viewed closely, there is a decrease in quality. The polygonal models of Colt and Julianna are well done. The animations unfortunately are not up to the rest; being an FPS, fortunately, it is only noticeable in melee attacks and silent kills.

    Audio advertising plays a key role in entertainment, and therefore deserves the same care as the visual sector. The noises in Deathloop are important, fundamental clues to understand how to move within the game world. We tried l'audio 3D thanks to headphones Press 3D Sony, and we have to admit that they helped us identify where landmines were located, or where the danger was coming from. To accompany everything, there are soundtrack specially created, which hold up well the pace and help to understand when in battle we can define ourselves "safe". Note of merit for the dubbing, with Julianna which stands out slightly for interpretation compared to Colt (same voice actor as Deacon St John in Days Gone), but nothing so obvious. The accompanying characters are limited to the homework. 

    That sense of emptiness

    To get to generate the perfect loop it took about one fifteen hours, also collecting a good amount of unique weapons in specific missions and varying degrees of tablet enhancement. Duration is a relative concept in a title like Deathloop. Once all the necessary information has been gathered and all the pieces of the puzzle have been put together, it takes just over half an hour to complete the game by killing all the visionaries. Know, however, that without the necessary knowledge acquired during the adventure it is impossible to execute the perfect loop right away.

    USEFUL INFO

    We bought and reviewed Deathloop in PS5 version. We suggest playing in performance mode, in order to fully enjoy the frenzy offered by the gameplay.

    Duration
    • We got to the end credits in about 15 hours
    Structure
    • There is also a mode, inverted, called "Protect the loop"
    Game Card
    • Game Name: Deathloop
    • Release date: 14 September 2021
    • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5
    • Dubbing language: English
    • Texts language: Italian

    The sense of emptiness has come to an end. Throughout the campaign, the storyline was a great glue, but it crumbled a little towards the ending, which to be good adds practically nothing to the story (nor does it take it away). With the conditions that were there, much, much more could be done. Deathloop net of the imperfections that we have listed is a very valid game, an experience that every player worthy of the name should do. It is not easy to approach, not for the level of challenge, but for the idea it proposes. However, completing the game leaves us with the feeling of having completed something precious, to be protected over time. Arkane's guys dared, and they did it well.  

    Review by Daniele Ciccarelli
    Graphics

    The technical sector of Deathloop is not the brightest point of the production, but thanks to the skilled artistic skills of Arkane the final result is still very respectable, giving really not bad glimpses. The weakest point is the animations.

    75
    SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM

    The audio in Deathloop is central, it represents an integral part of the gameplay, music that helps to understand the state of the battle. The dubbing is of a good standard, the protagonist is a voice already known (Deacon St. John of Days Gone), also very good the voice actress of Julianna.

    80
    GAMEPLAY

    Being an Arkane game there would be no questioning, the gameplay is the highlight of the Deathloop course. Fun, varied and full of solutions. A production that does not look bad, on the contrary it stands out in their already important palmarès.

    88
    Total Rating scale
    81
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