Between promising gameplay, unique atmosphere and high-level storytelling, find out what we think of Bethesda’s latest game in this test.
Released September 14, Deathloop is the latest nugget from Bethesda studios and more precisely from Arkane Lyon. Based on a concept of time loop and deadly goal, it’s a title that offers a bold storyline while relying on a familiar game system, a well-established action-adventure FPS.
Between novelty and nostalgia, isolation and eternal celebration, Deathloop tells the story of Blackreef Island, through the eyes of Colt, a man devoid of memories stranded on the island’s shore and whose sole purpose is to break the time loop in which he finds himself.
While it appears early in the narration that Colt has special abilities, this isn’t the only person on the island who is immune to the effects of the Time Loop. Indeed, her former friend (or enemy?) Julianna decided to prevent her from accomplishing her goal, namely to kill the 8 visionaries to get out of the loop. Find out what we think of this PS5 exclusive in this test Deathloop.
Every thing in son time
First, the narration of Deathloop is extremely complex and surprisingly well put together, which allows it to be enjoyed throughout the game. Although the time loop is a theme widely used in the 7th art as in many video games, Arkane succeeds in giving it a new breath with a consequent relief, which will keep you in suspense for hours. Blackreef is actually made up of multiple layers that you have to know how to dissect with time and the tools provided by the game.
As the studio so aptly states, “ knowledge is power “, And we would have a lot of fun adding” when it is used appropriately “. Indeed, not all knowledge is equal on Blackreef and, apart from visionary avenues, it is up to the player to determine what will be useful to him according to the global vision he has of the situation. Similarly, certain tracks sometimes clutter the dashboard when they are not necessarily exploitable to achieve its ends.
The player must indeed take into account a myriad of parameters – such as the time of day, the district in which he is located, or the visionary he is studying – to come up with his final strategy which will lead him to kill all of them. the Visionaries in a single loop. To do this, reflection, patience and exploration are essential. Fortunately for us, beyond its notable complexity, the narrative framework of Deathloop manages all the same to remain coherent and we have the pleasure of discovering little by little the strings which govern the island of Blackreef.
This is also felt in the user interface, which remains as intuitive as it is complete. If the loop system itself is excellently worked and well organized, we can testify to a real effort to make it understandable via the exploration menu, with multiple categories which all find their meaning depending on the context and its advancement in the game.
An FPS at 1001 possibilities
The rich history of the game is also a great way for developers to experience many possibilities in terms of gameplay and mechanics. Deathloop feels like a standard FPS overall, with an emphasis on exploratory phases and combat phases. The few supernatural powers, justified by the biological anomaly of the island, add an interesting dimension to a rather classic gameplay but which works nonetheless.
Immediately after having launched into nature with your few weapons and assets, you have the choice to continue your adventure as you see fit. Thus, all styles of play are the same in Deathloopwhether you have chosen an active lane or a stealth lane. You will also have the pleasure of testing all the weapons that Blackreef has to offer, the latter being well balanced and having a rather efficient handling. They also benefit from the support of the features of the DualSense, which gives them a welcome relief.
You also have the possibility to improve them thanks to a system of charms that you collect in different ways, and to keep them from loop to loop; this allows you to build up an arsenal even when you die, and thus greatly increases your chances of overcoming obstacles that have stood up to you before. Power is therefore not only linked to knowledge, but also very largely to your risk-taking and what you acquire over time.
Contrary to what you might think, time is not against you in Deathloop. At each stage, you have the possibility to grasp the obstacles in a stealth way and therefore take more time to achieve your goals. Even after that, feel free to take a tour of the rest of the neighborhood to gather more information before completing your journey.
Back to future 2.0
Side by side with the narration, the visual ambiance of Deathloop is one of the aspects that particularly appealed to us. Inspired by a decor of the 1960s, the decade in which the island began to be populated thanks to the AEON program, everything has been reworked by the developers to give it a unique and quirky style.
As a result, many of the elements present in the environment of Blackreef – whether it is the cars with both old and futuristic designs, the archaic technology, or the bright colors of the modern-looking apartments – leave a mark similar to that. what leaves the film Back to the future 2 currently ; Blackreef looks like a future world one would have imagined in the 1960s.
This gap between past and future, without forgetting that the present does not exist (or continuously?) In Deathloop, reinforces the immersion of the player on this island cut off by time and in perpetual renewal. It creates a feeling of dread, mixed with claustrophobia, which also takes advantage of Blackreef’s abrupt allure in herself.
Down the masks
The characters of Colt and Julianna, as well as their obvious accomplice relationship, bring lightness to the narrative thanks to dialogues filled with humor and well-measured interventions. If we have sometimes encountered problems of synchronicity with the dialogues, which are superimposed on those automatically generated when we interact with the objects, they remain on the whole very well dubbed – even in VF – and an asset for the immersion .
Julianna’s interventions specifically, both in the dialogues and in the gameplay, bring an agonizing dimension pushing the player to paranoia, who is afraid of seeing the hunter appear on every street corner to hunt him down. Similarly, playing Julianna is quite enjoyable in the sense that the challenge is at its height and it’s always funny to invade a friend’s part.
In addition to this central duo to the narrative, the secondary characters are zany, masked people who roam the four corners of the island with no real purpose. At the start of the game, Julianna requisitions them to help her track Colt, so they shoot on sight until the end of the game. However, the NPCs reflect the use of a very unconvincing AI that does not necessarily honor to the rest of the title.
Big weak point of Deathloop, the Eternalists – as they call themselves – take fairly predictable paths, aren’t smart for two pennies, and don’t react all the time when their buddies get shot dead not far from them. We can therefore safely say that the difficulty does not lie in adversity with these characters who do not create illusions for very long. However, their dialogues are a real mine of information as long as you pay enough attention instead of attacking them from the start.