Deathloop (First Impressions)

Deathloop has been one of my most highly anticipated games for quite a while. There’s been many, many trailers, gameplay showcases, game developer updates and more (which could have been added to due to the release delay). However, before the game released this week I almost had Deathloop fatigue. But now, it is finally out! I actually forgot it was coming so soon, but I ended up pre-ordering it (3 hours before release) and playing for the past two nights.

In Deathloop you play as Colt, an assassin who has lost all of his memories. Colt is stuck in a time loop on Blackreef, where he is attempting to assassinate the eight visionaries to break the time loop. Aside from the visionaries there is a frenemy character, Julianna. While her main goal is to make sure Colt doesn’t break the loop, she is also helping Colt understand what’s going on a bit better. Deathloop is a fun, learn as you go, experimentation type of game that blends the rogue-like/rogue-lite elements of a gameplay loop, with balanced FPS (First-person shooter) gameplay.

Deathloop is published by (Microsoft owned) Bethesda Softworks and developed by Arkane Studios (creators of the Dishonored series and Prey). It is a PlayStation 5/PC (Timed) Exclusive and should be making its way to Xbox consoles some time next year.

My First Pre-Load

Deathloop (2021) – PlayStation 5

After pre-ordering Deathloop digitally on Monday night I realized that this was my first time pre-ordering/pre-loading a digital game on a console. Most of my pre-ordered games are either picked up at Best Buy or delivered by Amazon. It was fun and exciting to download Deathloop early on my PlayStation 5 and see the “Countdown to Play” — that just built even more hype to be able to play at midnight vs waiting until the next day (and possibly a delivery person).

Although I have talked about how I sometimes miss the midnight game releases of the past, this is definitely a much better system. (1) I didn’t have to leave home in the middle of the night, (2) I was in my pajamas the whole time, (3) I didn’t have to stand in a line of strangers, (4) the game was pre-loaded so I could start playing right at midnight. For a midnight store release I wouldn’t get home until 1AM or later, plus I’d then have to load the disc onto my console. Most of the time I would get home, load the game onto my console and go to sleep.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to begin pre-ordering and pre-loading every single new release game I want. I will continue to buy physical editions too. I’m just happy this way exists for my extremely highly anticipated games. There are some games I can wait an extra day for and others that I want to play right away.

Early Gameplay Impressions

Deathloop (2021) – PlayStation 5

I’m not trying to spoil the story of Deathloop for anyone. I don’t even know the full story yet, I’ve only played a few hours. I want to share some of my early thoughts and what I’m really digging in Deathloop. I will say that some of the videos below may contain some story bits (or spoilers). If you’re really into not knowing anything before playing a game then you don’t have to watch them.

Deathloop (2021) – Taking Shots

Let me begin by saying that I’m totally loving Deathloop. It definitely feels like a next-gen gaming experience to me. Many of the games I’ve played on my PlayStation 5 so far have either been updated versions of PlayStation 4 games or games released on both generations (other than Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart).

Deathloop is fast-paced, with gorgeous visuals and the controls feel great on the DualSense controller — they could have done a bit more with the haptics and adaptive triggers. I have heard of some problems on PC, but I wouldn’t be surprised if those were from PCs that aren’t using the latest parts. I haven’t experienced any crashes or problems yet.

Deathloop (2021) – Colt vs Julianna

The way the story is written and the voice acting are both fantastic. Although I don’t know the full story yet, I love the fact that the player is figuring everything out along with Colt (the main character). It’s so cool to go through this journey with Colt (voiced by Jason E. Kelley) as he uncovers this puzzle piece by piece.

Instead of saying “Here’s your mission, now go do it all,” the game gives you smaller objectives until you build up to the “big mission” (aka taking out the Visionaries in a single day). I also really enjoy the back and forth between Colt and Julianna (voiced by Ozioma Akagha).

Short tips are carefully laid out all around the world. They reveal themselves as you pass them by. I really appreciate the typography being strategically placed on the different environments. The art direction in this game is stunning all around. Deathloop does a great job at teaching the player how to play the game. The game also features it’s wordy explanations on certain abilities and game mechanics as you learn them.

Deathloop (2021) – Pre-loop cutscene

Blackreef is a beautiful, dark and colorful world. Each area is totally different. I’ve already made my way through creepy caves, fantastic fun houses, beautiful buildings and I can’t wait to see the rest of this world. You can tell a game has great level/world design when you find yourself stopping to enjoy the scenery around you (even mid-gunfight). I even find myself taking a break at times to look at posters on the walls. The world features a psychedelic aesthetic with some paranormal elements too.

Deathloop (2021) – Music Tempo

Deathloop features a killer soundtrack with heavy classic rock-style guitar riffs. The music tempo speeds up when the action gets going. It also instantly slows down when you’ve defeated all of the enemies searching for you. It definitely adds an extra element into the whole Deathloop experience. The music and overall sound design definitely make the game an immersive experience — I’ve been playing strictly with my PlayStation 5 Pulse 3D Headset and that’s the way to play.

Deathloop (2021) – Hack & Kill

Since Deathloop takes place in a repayable loop I was expecting a single large or medium-sized map. It actually features a collection of maps (or levels). The world layout works sort of like the Borderlands franchise, in that once you reach the edge of one area there’s a loading point to enter the next area. It’s usually a quick load to the next area, and you get to see some sweet Deathloop artwork while you wait.

There’s one thing I heard during my first night of playing Deathloop which was a great tip for how this game works.

“On Blackreef, knowledge is progress.”

-Deathloop

Remember that one tip, and I think you’ll be fine. Pay attention to everything that’s going on, because you never know when you might uncover something that will help you in a future loop. I’m excited to continue playing this game and I hope to put together a game diary of my experiences once I’m done.


Deathloop is out now on PlayStation 5 and PC (via Steam).

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