[TEST] Deathloop: To Infinity, But Not Beyond

If, at the first images of Deathloop, many players were thrilled by rediscovering the aesthetics and the feeling of Dishonored, the rather particular concept of the game ultimately left many people doubtful. After more than 25 hours on the game, I can tell you that there really was nothing to worry about. Well, not that much.

Genre : Rogue-lite Tinted Immersive Sim | Developer: Arkane Lyon | Publisher: Bethesda | Platform: Steam | Price : 59,99€ | Recommended configuration: Processeur Intel Core i7-9700K @ 3.60GHz or AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, 16GB RAM, Nvidia RTX 2060 (6GB) ou AMD Radeon RX 5700 (8GB) | Languages ​​: FR | Release date : September 14, 2021 | Lifetime : 25h for the solo taking your time.

Honey, this will come full circle:

In a daze, Colt wakes up on a beach in front of a magnificent rising sun. It would be idyllic if he hadn’t just witnessed his own death a few seconds ago. As you progress thanks to messages that oscillate in the air, the questions pile up: Did I drink so much to hallucinate? But by the way, who am I? What is the door code? Why is this Julianna trying to help me? Or does she want to kill me? But above all, why does this clone of myself let go of me from a cliff and cause my death? Difficult to say more without taking the risk of disclosing the scenario to you. It’s a shame because, it’s rare enough to notice it, it is very well put together. And very well staged with neat and mature dialogues that we enjoy reading or listening to. Ubisoft should really take the seed from it, because the characters in Deathloop are all very well crafted. There is the right amount of humor, quirky, etc. without ever doing too much.

If at the beginning, Deathloop may seem somewhat difficult to understand, everything is finally cleared up very quickly as its concept is relatively simple. But difficult to explain, isn’t it Dinga Bakaba? Stuck in a temporal phenomenon that endlessly repeats the same day, you will have to break this loop. To achieve this, it will be necessary to collect as much information as possible, then eliminate, in a single day, eight targets scattered in four distinct zones and temporalities. The days are divided into four parts – morning, noon, afternoon and evening – which are all different times when the accessible places change, as well as the opportunities. So it’s up to you to choose which area to explore at what precise time of the day to hope to learn more. For example, on this lonely scientist who seems to be suffering from heartache, a subject that could well be of service to us. Gradually, you will gather more and more intelligence until you have the perfect plan to take out all your targets in one cycle. Speaking of gear, and since Deathloop has a rogue-lite component, you lose everything you picked up during the four times of the day – weapons, upgrades, etc. – once the cycle restarts. Unless you spend Iridium, a resource scattered around the map, to store interesting items. Thus, you will gradually build up your favorite arsenal. If it may seem complicated, the single player campaign is fortunately completely marked out by the developers. There are clear directions whether you’d be better off investigating the science complex or the amusement park at a certain time of day. Otherwise you can turn off in-game markers and enjoy a more immersive experience. Note that once the main campaign is over, you will actually only scratch the surface of the content of Deathloop. It is like a necessary appetizer to understand that there are many other ways to achieve a goal. Not to mention the side quests, sometimes well hidden. Secrets that you will enjoy discovering as the aesthetics of the game are perfectly mastered.

Indeed, without being photorealistic, Deathloop once again shows all the talent of Arkane’s teams. Really worked decors, a wacky artistic direction inspired by the 60s and carried out with brio, beautiful colors, a real feast for the eyes. The sound is not to be outdone with a very convincing sound design, but above all a superb soundtrack.

Action! Curly!

Like previous Arkane titles, and more specifically Dishonored, Deathloop once again offers you a great sense of freedom. Four great maps – times four times of the day, don’t forget – are packed with secrets, shortcuts, and multiple ways to get what you want. Moreover, this is where the principle of loops turns out to be a very good idea, because it allows players to multiply approaches, test things and gradually discover lots of elements. Especially since the layout inside the levels differs depending on the time of day: some places blocked at such time, others open, NPCs present or not, etc. The maps are really full of nooks and crannies to unlock. This results in a rich and deep level-design with, as a bonus and as usual, remarkable work on environmental storytelling. What, again, to have fun with the codes of the immersive-sim that the studio fully masters. A blocked door? You could find an eternal ventilation duct not far away, or else a place from where you could pull the opening button, discover by searching, an access code, destroy the electric generator which prevents you from passing through the door. window littered with lasers, etc.

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This loop system comes with another very frank desire of the developers: action! Clearly, the team made the choice to move away from infiltration – even if it is always possible – in favor of fighting of all kinds. And not just by coming up with all kinds of ways to kill your enemies. No, the main novelty is that the bodies of your victims disappear on their own after a few seconds. Well, that’s what we thought we understood, because AI behaves at the very least strange. We will come back to this later. If it’s confusing at first, it ultimately prompts you to rush into the heap without worrying about the reactions of other enemies. And what a foothold to wander gracefully from roofs to balconies, chaining the frags in an original and fluid way. A shot of blink here, a shot in the head there, before hiding behind a low wall to hack a turret so that it dezinges the two morons next to it. As regards the armament, you will be able to customize your weapons and your skills in abundance thanks to a whole bunch of ornaments that you collect from the corpses or according to your peregrinations: higher health, double jump, less recoil on your weapon, etc. And, if you die, don’t worry, a skill that is always available by default allows you to resurrect twice. You will understand, in addition to traditional weapons – which also have a very good feeling, you will also have powers very inspired by Dishonored: throw enemies, bind them so that they suffer the same damage, teleport , etc. It is also unfortunate that once in play, you can only alternate between two powers.

Annoying faults

This is not the only regrettable point of Deathloop, unfortunately. Dynamic and successful fights are great. But a pity that the AI ​​is so failed. She doesn’t really represent a threat and you will have no trouble cutting up by ten, the poor brainless models who will pounce on you. It’s a type AI: let’s all try to go through this door frame, being careful to get in single file. It’s all the more unfortunate that, as said above, all the gameplay around works extremely well. So you end up moving through the levels a little automatically, without encountering any challenge. No option to manage the difficulty, so we just play it infiltration out of spite. Which still quite breaks the charm of the game and the intentions of the developers.

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Another problem that somewhat spoiled my experience: the management of our inventory. As I specified earlier, you have at your disposal, firearms, powers, but also grenades and a tool to hack turrets and other cameras. Except that you can only use one weapon and one of the elicited props at the same time. The problem is that the configuration of the keys does not facilitate the task at all. Indeed, by default, the click wheel is used to: throw grenades, activate your power and hack enemy turrets. Suffice to say that you won’t be able to do all three at the same time, which is often very restrictive – to be polite.

Finally, without reaching the finish level of Fallout 76, Deathloop is marred by several technical issues. If I had no optimization problem in WQHD on a 2080ti, 32GB of RAM accompanied by an i9-9900K, I did however encounter a lot of bugs. Scripts that do not launch, the screen that fills with black or downright crashes. A whole series of problems that force you to restart the game … and therefore sometimes your mission from the start.

By improving the AI, correcting bugs and offering more options to configure your keys, we would not be far from the exemplary game! Let’s bet that Arkane quickly gets down to fine-tuning Deahtloop.

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The PVP that saves the day

Luckily, Deathloop’s PVP leveled up a lot. During the single player campaign, Julianna, your antagonist, will regularly come and try to kill you by invading your game. Its purpose is to protect the loop and therefore kill you. Whether you succeed in eliminating it or not, it will necessarily be necessary to hack an antenna to be able to leave the level. Julianna can be controlled by the AI ​​but also by another player and of course by yourself if you start PVP mode. If you can wait several minutes for matchmaking to find a game, then the joys of cat and mouse are yours. Since the other player will necessarily have to go through the antenna to leave the level, you can play it as a minefield. Or, go directly to look for it in the level. When you play as Julianna, other NPCs see you as an ally and don’t notice you. The same goes for turrets, cameras, etc. What to reverse the trend and revive the interest of the title. More demanding initially, as you start with basic weapons and a single power, you will end up unlocking new weapons, powers and what is needed to improve them very quickly. Note that for those who are cautious, it is quite possible to play the single-player campaign in “offline” mode which will guarantee you to be invaded only by the AI ​​which tends to get stuck in the background, remember – the.

On the verge of missing out!

Deethloop is beautiful, exhilarating in his moments of action and has a rich, interesting and very well staged universe. Relying in part on the foundations of the excellent Dishonored, Arkane Lyon has succeeded in renewing its recipe by offering a much more action-oriented title and with a very successful loop mechanic. Deathloop, had it not been impacted by some particularly annoying flaws, could have competed for the best single-player FPS of recent years. He will have to settle for being a very good FPS, quite possibly the best of the year. In particular thanks to a very nice multiplayer which gives again interest to the game. We still sincerely salute Arkane’s effort to try new things!

Deathloop is available from our partner Gamesplanet at -15% or € 50.99. This is a Steam key.

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