In addition to our hands-on preview for Deathloop, we fielded a bunch of your questions across our social media platforms.
Firstly, thanks for sending in a lot of great questions and I hope I go a fair way to answering all of your questions on what exactly makes up Arkane’s genre-bending shooter.
@ThatsDruidic asks: Is this a roguelike, or is it a story progressing through the loops?
It’s a roguelike in the sense that there are loops, but the story does progress loop-to-loop.
Although Colt might wake up on the same damn beach every morning, he’s got a memory like an elephant.
@TechSkywalker asks: How similar is it to Dishonored and Prey with the powers and gunplay?
Although there will be comparisons to both, being they’re both Arkane properties, I found the more prevalent similarities to Dishonored came through the verticality of Blackreef and its many routes and back doors for stealth aficionados.
When it comes to gunplay, it has Prey vibes for sure but where it concerns the marriage of magic and guns, I feel like Deathloop has more in common with BioShock than even Arkane’s past works.
@jmsmd1 asks: Is it forgiving, or will I get punished for doing something in a different order to a previous loop?
From my experience so far, the game doesn’t really punish so much as it does try to inform. Whether it’s through world cues or Colt’s usually funny monologue, if you cock something up during a loop, the game does its best to let you know what to try as an alternative.
The beauty of the game is it’s about experimentation and moving those puzzle pieces around. And by being divided into several time blocks, even if you don’t quite finish the lead you were working on, you’re often able to turn the loop into something worthwhile by shifting focus to another objective later in the day.
@jmsmd1 asks: Can you save mid-run, unlike Returnal?
I’ll preface this by explaining what a “run” looks like in Deathloop.
A loop takes place over one day and is divided up into four time blocks. Provided you don’t meet your end, the game auto-saves as you exit each district to advance to the next point in time.
So effectively, you’ve got three points in a run where the game will auto-save and it’s safe to turn it off.
@PDArebellion asks: What’s the repetition like? Does it feel like a chore?
Not at all, if you refer to @jmsmd1’s first question, the game gives you enough to focus on each time you loop that it doesn’t really feel like you’re on ‘a run’ per se. You learn from mistakes and even when you do mess it up, there’s something else to discover that’ll help you later on. It all feels quite organic, and it helps that the story pushes itself forward and grounds the whole concept.
@dt6825 asks: Is it Game of the Year?
It’ll be the best game called Deathloop, I can say that for sure.
@WforDeathloop asks: What is the progression system like for Julianna?
What I can say is that we’ve not been able to play as Julianna throughout our preview period. But when I got to see the game in a hands-off presentation a few months ago, they did imply that there was no real incentive when it comes to playing as the antagonist in Deathloop.
Based on that, it doesn’t sound as though there’ll be any kind of progression model for her. When she invades in regular play, she has a Slab that’s chosen at random from the pool of Visionary powers, so perhaps when you drop in to cause a bit of chaos it’ll be all randomly generated. That’s all conjecture however, I look forward to learning more once the possibility opens up.
In short, there’s no goal except to fuck shit up.
@WforDeathloop asks: What are some of the best trinkets you came across?
There are a lot of great trinkets that I was quick to infuse when the opportunity arose. As a havoc-driven player who often charges through the light of day to try and mow people down, I tended to opt for the trinkets that’d buff my damage output when at low health which is a state I’d regularly be in.
That said, there are cool trinkets that’ll suit stealth players, too. Like ones that greatly increase the range of your Hackamajig so that turrets and sensors can be dealt with from a distance, and ones that give bonus damage for attacks from behind.
@SyamaMishra asks: Is it two-player versus or one-player with an AI antagonist?
Well, it’s both! Deathloop is a single-player game that sees the hero Colt, who’s trying to break the loop, constantly invaded by the antagonist Julianna whose main goal is to protect the loop at all costs.
The catch is that Julianna can be played by a player, or it can be A.I. controlled if that’s what you prefer.
There is, indeed, a performance mode. The game defaults to it.
@occams_razor_ asks: On a scale of ‘1’ to ‘Dishonored’, how does it feel? How fun is it?
I mean, it’s immediately clear that Deathloop is an Arkane game. As far as how alike it is to Dishonored, I’d say pretty similar in terms of player movement, how much Blackreef does remind me of Dunwall, as well as how intelligently the missions are designed.
It should go without saying it’s a lot of fun and it’s tremendously rewarding.
@mitchob0102 asks: What are the HUD and UI like?
Again, pretty similar to Arkane’s past games. All of the pertinent information is carefully housed around the edges of the screen without encroaching too much on the action. As for that UI, I’d describe it as overwhelmingly busy at first.
The game deals with so many elements, from the leads you pursue, loadouts, and general intel you’ve picked up. It’s quite a task to keep all that in one, tight menu and I think once you come to understand it, Arkane does extremely well to curate it all in an understandable format.
@LizardBoyChaot1 asks: Can you have it set so that only an AI Julianna will be attacking you?
Yes, you certainly can.
She’s not what I’d consider super bothersome any time she invades, but she’s no pushover either.
@BBQMeatLovers asks: The best art style for a first-person shooter?
I am very partial to BioShock and Superhot if you’re prepared to count that as a shooter, but Deathloop has a strong visual identity that will hold anyone in good stead who’s ready to argue for it as the best.
It’s very striking.
@humpjbear1 asks: Does the game have a similar gameplay loop to Hades?
In terms of its core loop, Deathloop is more like Hades, despite it not actually being about a temporal loop per se, than just about any other so-called roguelike out there.
Like Hades did, the way it blends progression into the repetition and never lets the player drop his or her head as though the game has bested them should become the benchmark for how to make these games.
James Ward asks: How does Deathloop differentiate from Bulletstorm?
They both have style, they’re both shooters? Uh, beyond that, in almost every way imaginable.
Dave Pearce asks: Does it still look like a last-gen game visually?
Did it ever?
Mitch Ayre asks: Does the time aspect feel pressuring?
As I’ve explained above, and within the preview, I haven’t felt the pressure to succeed as far as breaking the loop goes. The game does a great job of doling out objectives that keep you on track, and when you make a meal of it it isn’t the end of the world because the game immaculately balances so many leads and threads to tug on.
Aside from a few select challenges and tasks, there’s no real urgency enforced upon you once exploring Blackreef during any block of time.
Jett Rothnie asks: How do the adaptive triggers feel while playing?
Deathloop makes great use of the DualSense’s features, including the adaptive triggers. It does a lot to emulate the sensations of Colt’s experience throughout, whether it’s a crisp rumble to create the sense of snow underfoot or the steady rhythm of the game’s many firearms.
If the triggers behave differently depending on whatever gun you’re using it isn’t insanely noticeable, but there’s always a sense of amazement and frustration whenever one of Colt’s lower-tier guns jams and locks the trigger up with it. There’s also a blunt stiffness that comes with swinging a melee weapon that feels great. I also love how Deathloop makes use of the controller’s built-in speaker to project Julianna’s constant barbs at Colt over his comms.
It can, of course, be toggled off because it does tend to pop louder than you might like.
Melanie Scott asks: Does it have gyro aiming?
Not that I noticed.
Blaise Smith asks: How long until it’s available on Game Pass?
Though I sense an undertone of sarcasm to the question, I’m going to take a punt on ‘one year’ as my answer.
Harry Mills asks: Is it as boring as it looks? A time loop Dishonored game?
Cam Nish asks: Do you have access to the trophy list? If so, how does it look difficulty/time wise?
I don’t have access, we’re gated from them pre-launch. However, what I can probably say is that in the ten, or so, hours I’ve played so far, I’ve managed to pop a good dozen trophies including a few delightful silvers.
THE PLAYSTATION 5 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS PREVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.