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Deathloop Review

Developer: Arkane Studios

Publisher: Bethesda

Reviewed on: Playstation 5

Also available on: PC

Release: 15/9/2021

Rating: M

Price: $99.95

Mystery games are far and few between these days. When I first saw the trailer and preview for this game, I thought it was a online game similar to Returnal in which you play the same stuff over and over and over again. Well it's 2021 and I have both been there and done that. Do I really want to do it again? Fortunately I was surprised that this is not the case with Deathloop, the game itself is a mystery that unravels as you traverse through the story figuring out exactly what the hell is going on. Story aside the impressive visuals on the Playstation 5 system are reminiscent of the recent Metro Exodus re-skin. The studio Arkane take full advantage of the Dualsense controller with enhanced controls and the speaker and vibrations to immerse you into the story of the game. Through it all are two characters you will love (or love to hate) as the mystery unravels and you explore the Loop and determine what must be done. Deathloop is proof there is still plenty of originality in video games and a combination of single player and multiplayer gameplay make this an experience you won't soon forget.

When you first enter the game, you need to finish the single player path to a certain point before you unlock the multiplayer option. This will make no sense at all when the game starts, but as you start to play the story, you get an understanding of what the game director Dinga Babaka is going for here (spoiler alert - effing brilliance!) Players start the campaign as Colt, a swole and confident security guard with a killer jacket. You walk around the beach following text that guides you on the direction to walk. This all looks pretty normal(ish) until you reach a door, enter Julianna, the other protagonist of the story who is trying to stop you from remembering something but trying to get you to remember something else. As you move through the first area picking up weapons and ammo, you unlock a key code that grants you access to different areas around the island which unlock objectives to break the loop and unravel the mysteries of the island.

As you run around the island, the floating text gives you some great insight into any items that may be laying around or danger up ahead. You may have ventured there before and been mowed down so text saying "Find another way" alerts you to groups of enemies who lay ahead. As you keep playing and more of each area is unveiled, you start to realise what is going on and your trust (or distrust) of Julianna and the facility starts to unravel.

Gameplay wise this game is not afraid to throw everything at you. You can choose how you enter into certain areas through stealth or a run and gun approach depending on how well stocked your ammo is and how many loops you have left in your current playthrough. The main play is a first person shooter mode that also combines some hacking through the expertly named the Hackamajig also allow for dual wielding so you can shoot and hack your way through areas riddled with enemies, turrets and electronic doors. There are also other abilities you can gain through tablets that drop when you kill certain enemies which will help you destroy enemies that will assist in eliminating those that are harder to kill with the weapons you have. Every map has different objectives you explore to get different results, you can also control the time of day which determines which enemies and missions are present at that time. This is the biggest advantage of the game which stops the revisiting of familiar places feeling like a grind (I'm looking at you Marvel's Avengers!)

What would a great game be without a killer soundtrack, and this is something that Deathloop excels at. Thanks to the game's signature song 'Deja Vu' The song is reminscent of James Bond iconic opening songs while adding to the rich tapestry and visuals that Deathloop offers up. Each location in the game is meticulously details with the environments reminscent of the recent Metro Exodus PS5 update. The character designs are unique and the birds eye view of the Loop loading screen as time of day changes, while brief, is a visual feast.

Whenever we play a PS5 game, you have to comment on the use of the exceptional Dualsense Controller, and here it is no exception. The speaker is utilised in the controller when communicating with Julianna which helps feel like you are holding the mobile phone in your hand immersing you further into this world. The haptic feedback as you walk around different environment is subtle and fun, along with the triggers when activating the Hackermajic and the various weapons you pick up. It is something that we do mention often, but no other console offers this experience and in a game like this where things are just completely bonkers, it can help you feel grounded and connected to the world.

After you finish the main campaign, you can switch characters and play as Julianna, making it your mission to seek out Colt in the map you have been randomly dropped into and stop him from hacking the locks so he can leave and ultimately killing Colt. You need to do this before Colt finds and kills you. The great thing is there are no guides to tell you where the other is, it is all about stealth or running and gunning depending on your style. At first I found this a little annoying but it kept it fresh and matches from lasting more than a few minutes. If you can as well make sure you hang around the enemies when you are playing as Julianna. The banter is hilarious and keeps you entertained if you are taking the stealthy approach. I didn't have any connection issues or notice any major lag or dropouts. That being said only a handful of people have this game at the moment so I will check back when the game goes live for everyone.

Deathloop took me by complete surprise. By utilising the best parts of the Playstation 5 along with a truly gripping story that eggs you on to keep playing to unravel its secrets, Arkane have once again delivered a world that I can't wait to dive into again and keep playing in multiplayer online as more gamers discover this gem. Playing through the single player campaign will keep you guessing as to what is actually going on, and never quite goes where you think it will. Even though the idea of playing the same level may sound tedious and pointless, Deathloop manages to make it exciting and feel like a fresh experience everytime you jump in. The world truly feels alive thanks to its impressive visuals and use of the DualSense controller on the Playstation 5. Deathloop has truly cemented itself as one of the great games of 2021.

Deathloop is available exclusively for console on Playstation 5 and PC on September 14.

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