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Deathloop Game Review
Deathloop is a new immersive simulator by Arkane, known for Dishonored and Prey. It focuses on the adventures of the mercenary Colt on Black Reef Island, trapped in a time loop. We tell you how the new Arkane game develops the usual ideas of immersive sim.
Like other immersive sim games, Deathloop always has at least two ways to solve a particular game situation. Kill or bypass enemies. The guard turret can be hacked or disabled. The code for the electronic lock can be found in someone's note or heard in a character conversation. When it comes to getting into a guarded building, the main character will always have at least two ways - through the front door and the window.
There are other recognizable elements in immersive simulations: diaries with useful information, audiologists, complete freedom of character movement on the level, and special skills that help in the passage - for example, teleportation and remote hacking of electronic devices. In Deathloop, many of these elements are revealed in a new way, largely thanks to the time loop mechanic, which causes all of the game's characters to relive the same day over and over again.
There are no manual saves in Deathloop, but the game does not punish mistakes
The events of Deathloop take place on Black Reef Island, where there are four neighborhoods-the Complex, Downtown, Freestad Rock, and Charles Bay. In each of these neighborhoods, the protagonist Colt, trying to break the noose, can go in the morning, in the afternoon, in the afternoon, and in the evening. Depending on the time of day, the appearance of the neighborhood changes slightly: some establishments close, others start working, different events happen, characters gather in different places.
Colt's goal is to explore all the neighborhoods at every time of day, to find all possible information on the ideologues, the local mini-bosses, to find a way to get close to them and kill them. Only after all the ideologues are dead will the noose be broken-at least that's what Colt sincerely believes. He needs to kill eight of them in one day without restarting the loop.
After the intro, where the developers spend about three hours of real time talking about the rules by which Deathloop works, you can go to neighborhoods from the menu - the game has no open world or hub. And in the same menu, you can change the time of day - this is useful when you need to come to Downtown, say, in the afternoon, but you've just restarted the loop and it's morning in the game. No one, however, is stopping you from spending the morning exploring the Complex, returning to the menu when the clock reads noon, going to Charles Bay, and then returning to the menu again, which automatically sets the clock to noon, and going to Downtown at that point.
To visit, for example, two districts in the morning or three districts at noon is not possible: the hand of the clock itself shifts towards the evening when you leave the level. However, there's no timer in Deathloop that would drive you to the exit - and if you've already entered a certain area, you can spend at least five hours in it until you explore everything.
The trick is that you can't save while in the area. Deathloop records progress only when Colt enters or leaves the location. And if the main character, who stealth sneaks into the party of one of the ideologues, will notice the guards, download the saving made five minutes ago, and try to sneak unnoticed again, will not work. True, Deathloop doesn't punish mistakes. It would even be truer to say that the game does not suggest that Colt can make a mistake at all. Everything that the hero can do, Deathloop is prepared for - in fact, it strongly encourages experiments and solutions invented on the fly. And if the guards noticed Colt sneaking along the wall, it's time to get a bigger gun. Or activate the turret, which the character has recently reprogrammed. Or to lure enemies into a trap set around the corner.
Deathloop, like Dishonored, has many mechanics for stealth and open conflict. Only in the previous Arkane game half of these mechanics are easy to miss if you're cautious and constantly save and then boot up when things don't go according to plan. Deathloop, on the other hand, the lack of saving here and now motivates you to use every tool the player has.
Notes and diaries in Deathloop give you even more options
Narrative through notes scattered around the world, diaries, and audio recordings is a familiar element of the immersive sim genre, dating back to 1994's System Shock and 1998's Thief: The Dark Project. Creators of immersive sims, including Arkane, have been embodying this element in their games for years, but only Deathloop seems to have used it in an unfamiliar context.
In the new game, the information Colt learns from letters on hacked computers, notes, and so on not only reveals details of the lore, but also helps in the further passage. The most striking example is when Colt in Downtown finds a scrap of paper with the code to the safe standing in Charles Bay scratched out. True, the passwords on the pieces of paper were in previous games of the studio. In Deathloop such sources sometimes hid much more useful information. Say, information about where and when this or that ideologue will be located. Or correspondence of the key characters for the plot. Or hints, with which you can find an additional way to the goal.
The time loop here works not only as an element of the setting. It allows you to return to already explored locations with new knowledge, to visit the same levels several times to learn as much information as possible, and the result is a perfect plan to kill all the ideologues. Some of them may be in different areas of the island during the same time of day, preventing Colt from reaching them within a single day. However, ideologues sometimes move to other areas - and this allows the hero to catch up with several enemies at a time. First it is only necessary to find out more about the ideologues' plans - and at the right moment to strike a decisive blow.
Deathloop is the only immersive simulator with multiplayer
One of the ideologues on Black Reef is Julianne. She, unlike the other inhabitants of the island, knows about Colt's plans and every day tries to find him and kill him. It finds, however, not always: the meetings with Julianna - random events. But only in those moments when the girl is controlled by the AI. Sometimes real players may invade Black Reef in the guise of Julianna, whose task is exactly the same - to find Colt and kill him.
Deathloop is the first immersive simulator with multiplayer. At the same time, all the mechanics familiar to fans of the genre in battle with another player work just as well as in single-player mode. Unique abilities in single player give Colt a significant advantage over enemies, and even Julianna under the control of AI is not too difficult to defeat, even though she is more dangerous than ordinary opponents thanks to the same special skills. And only in multiplayer, when the player controlling the girl invades someone else's game, Colt immediately stops feeling his unique advantage. Not to say that he turns from a hunter into a victim - Julianna and the main character still have equal opportunities - but it is not possible to wander peacefully through the locations, as before.
In multiplayer, however, the possibilities that Deathloop offers become more valuable anyway, because all those traps, hacked turrets and mines in doorways are not only needed to play with enemies, but to defeat Julianna.
Because of the multiplayer, Deathloop doesn't turn into a fully networked game or a service game, and it doesn't get any less elaborate. It is primarily an immersive simulation game from the developers of Dishonored and Prey, which has all the advantages of the previous Arkane games. In addition, if you want, you can turn off the multiplayer feature altogether - then no one will invade your game.
The five most important facts about Deathloop
- This is a new immersive simulation game created by a studio that has specialized in games of this genre since 2002.
- It is a shooter, a stealth action and a role-playing game at the same time - the style of play everyone can choose for themselves.
- The main task of the player in Deathloop is to kill eight ideologues and break the time loop.
- It's the only immersive simulator with multiplayer: another player can play as one of the main character's opponents.
- Deathloop is available from September 14 only on PC and PS5.
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