Deathloop put to the test: ambitious but discouraged genre mix

Deathloop put to the test: ambitious but discouraged genre mix

Deathloop put to the test

Deathloop in the test: It is really difficult for an assassin: He is constantly on the lookout to avoid being discovered. He has to watch his victims with great patience and strike at exactly the right moment. And then all he has left is a quick escape, in which he is not allowed to leave any traces if possible. In other words, there is a great risk of getting caught - and even a small mistake can ruin everything. The rough Colt, on the other hand, has completely different problems: It wakes up with almost no memory on the beach on an island called Blackreef. Without knowing how he got there, he searches the nearest bunker for any clues. Just then, on the radio, the voice of Julianna, who Colt seems to know, rings out. She warns him not to break the so-called loop and even threatens to kill him if he tries. Or rather, she basks in her anticipation of killing Colt - and has apparently already done so several times ...

A day without end

Every morning the same bleak outlook: This is the supposed fate of death loop protagonist Colt, who is trapped in a time loop. Source: Arkane Studios / media agency plassma The ominous loop that stretches across the entire island is nothing more than a time warp. In other words: at the end of each day the clock turns back 24 hours and everything starts all over again. You will only find out why this is so in the course of the history of Deathloop (buy now / € 50.99) and will of course not be spoiled by us here. However, you shouldn't expect an Oscar-worthy story. All explanations and plot twists are too mysterious and too cool instead of being really logical.

Regardless of this, we can reveal your actual task that lies ahead of you: In addition to numerous mercenaries, there are eight so-called visionaries on the island who need to be eliminated, including Julianna. You have to liquidate them within a day to break the loop, which is why you first have to diligently hints With the machete in hand, you should approach your opponent from behind rather than from the front. Source: Arkane Studios / media agency plassma collects information about their whereabouts. You can also use scripted events to ensure that two or even more visionaries are in the same place at the same time - and that you could kill several birds with one stone.

Although the day is at the end of a loop starts again, you never have to start all over again. On the one hand, certain information that you have already collected will help speed up your next rounds. A simple example of this is the code number for opening a safe, which you logically only need to find once. On the other hand, as part of your research, you will get hold of a very special ability with which you can use the so-called residual. This is an energy that you can extract from glowing objects and transfer it to others - above all into your weapons. You can own them permanently and, if you wish, equip them at the beginning of a new loop.

An assassin with unusual talents

Aside from weapons, your equipment consists of boards that you can find after defeating one Visionary captured. For example, you can visit an exotic bar: some places look really chic and lively. Source: Arkane Studios / media agency plassma make invisible for a short time or let opponents hurl through the air from a distance. On the other hand, you tend to find new weapons on the side, primarily when exploring a building or after a fight against common enemies. Then there are the seals with which you either improve your weapons - for example with better penetration or a faster reload time - or pimp Colt himself so that he takes more hits or can jump twice. Another important element of the game is the hackamajig, which you can get in the starting bunker. The tool is used, among other things, to open electronically locked doors or to reverse the polarity of a gun so that it attacks your opponents instead of you.

"Well meant" does not automatically mean "well done"

All of this now sounds like a clever mix of three very different games: The loop idea is reminiscent of the indie adventure Outer Wilds, your role as the assassin, including collecting clues on how to best achieve your goals, is clearly a reference The Arkane Studios borrowed from Hitman and the concept of weapons and panels from roguelite titles such as Hades. The good news: Deathloop is teeming with intelligent puzzles and secrets that are a lot of fun. The bad news: Otherwise, the French were apparently a bit afraid to break away from traditional genre conventions. Deathloop rarely feels like one of the games just mentioned and is reminiscent of an ordinary first-person shooter with a good portion of adventure elements.

One of the main reasons for this is the course of a loop, namely not in real time like in Hitman or Outer Wilds. Instead, the game is divided into four times of the day, in which you are only allowed to visit one of the four areas at a time. There the watch remains practically frozen while you trigger special events with old-fashioned triggers. The areas are admittedly well designed. As soon as you have progressed far enough in the game, you can keep weapons, tablets and seals permanently with the help of your collected residues. Source: Arkane Studios / media agency plassma and visually appealing. There are some differences between the different times of the day, which is why it is worth combing through several times - but only in the first few hours of the game. Because after a while it becomes increasingly exhausting to constantly travel between the same places.

Next, Arkane Studios came up with the reprise game mechanics, thanks to which Colt can die twice within an area and without one completely trigger a new loop. In view of the ambitious concept, this also feels strange and, above all, completely kills the thrill of the roguelite bonds. Another problem is the ultimately much too linear structure, which cannot keep up with either Outer Wilds or Hitman . Arkane Studios has come up with a much too rigid plan from which the player should not deviate as much as possible. You are allowed to complete different tasks in a different order. But Deathloop is miles away from the countless solution options that competitor Hitman has offered for years. And if you do come up with an alternative, it feels like a mistake or even like cheating.

A nice example of this is the ClassPass that you need to enter the villa of visionary Frank and the At the same time, the use of the boards and the reprise option are prohibited: Arkane Studios has come up with a really nicely crafted mission for this purpose, at the end of which you can explore the villa without a passport. However, we hardly enjoyed walking this path. We had already come up with a pretty cheap trick with which we could literally bypass the ClassPass without negative consequences.

Opponents without a brain

The biggest weakness of the game is clearly the AI, the deathloop anything but "done" appears. It doesn't matter whether you have a horde of simple mercenaries in front of your eyes or a visionary: Your opponents are constantly getting stuck in corners or Arkane Studios - from fan project to Triple-A developer

The developers of Arkane Studios had big goals in mind from the start when they founded their studio in Lyon, France, in 1999. They wanted to continue the great Ultima Underworld, but unfortunately did not get permission from rights holder Electronic Arts. Instead of simply giving up, Arkane Studios renamed the project and in 2002 published Arx Fatalis, their first noteworthy insider tip.

Since then, the French have usually spent a lot of time and diligently crossed classic ego- Shooter action with a good helping of role-playing games (see Dark Messiah of Might and Magic) or adventure (the Dishonored series). In between, they worked on major titles from other studios, including Bioshock 2, Call of Duty: World at War and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. try to run away from you without moving. As soon as you have the ether board, with which you can make yourself invisible, it becomes even more embarrassing: Even if you activate the board only a few meters in front of your opponent and then stand completely still, they look around haphazardly and have not the slightest idea where you are. You can also expand the board with such powerful abilities that at a certain point we have almost completely given up cautious sneaking up. Instead, we just stood in the middle of the street, made ourselves invisible and clumsily shot one opponent after the other without putting ourselves in serious danger. And even in the few cases in which this impetuous "tactic" went wrong, the generously designed recapitulation feature saved us. Admittedly, the trick does not work in places where the triggering of an alarm causes new enemies to appear. However, these passages are very rare and on top of that expose another bad habit of game design: The replenishment literally appears out of nowhere and in places where just before not a single soul was in sight.

Exhausting Opponent

To be fair, it should be said immediately afterwards that the AI ​​does not dilute the fun of the puzzles and at least no unfair wedges in front of the legs. At the latest when you receive the ether tablet, you can face your opponents very cheekily and one after the other shoot another. Source: Arkane Studios / media agency plassma throws the player. All the more annoying your opponent Julianna as soon as she can penetrate your area and chase you. Such an attack happens so often that it usually takes place several times within a loop. Incidentally, it is not enough to send Julianna to the afterlife: you have to hack a radio antenna so that the doors to the other areas open again. Again, this task becomes very boring very quickly because the antenna always appears in the same place.

Finally, it should be noted that there is a small online mode in Deathloop: If it is active, then similar to Dark Alien Souls players take on the role of Julianna and attack you. To what extent this concept actually works is difficult to assess before the official release date. However, we fear that the raids could become even more exhausting and annoying. In the case of the stupid computer AI, you finally know that the troublemaker can be eliminated quickly and easily.

Decent presentation

Otherwise, there is technical in the PlayStation 5 version we tested not much to complain about in Deathloop, even if the graphics can't keep up with current PS5 titles like Returnal or Resident Evil: Village. But the setting is carefully worked out and the game world architecture, along with the puzzles, is the greatest motivational anchor. The same applies to the soundscape, which is beautifully restrained with the music and mainly shines with crisp effects. The German voice output has a slight radio play charm, but the bottom line is that it is professional enough and also supports the audiovisual atmosphere. In addition, the game uses the loudspeaker of the PlayStation 5 pad - for example, you can always hear Julianna's voice right in front of you instead of "from a distance".

Deathloop (PS5) 7/10

Graphics - Sound - Multiplayer - Pros & Cons Interesting loop concept Fun puzzles including many secrets Both beautiful and large game worlds Good audiovisual atmosphere Weak AI with catastrophic dropouts Disappointingly conventional level design Hardly any alternative possible solutions Increasingly exhausting backtracking Exaggerated frequent invasion of Julianna is extremely annoying Other pros and cons. ..

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