Deathloop – X Gon’ Give It To Ya
They say time is a flat circle, a series of events repeating themselves ad infinitum until the glorious heat-death of the universe. What better way to stave off such spiral-inducing thoughts than to rediscover Deathloop, Arkane Studios’ most recent exploration of the immersive sim genre which hit Xbox Game Pass today.
If you’re looking for a review, then let me direct you to the thoughts of our illustrious EIC who bestowed an A rating upon the game last September. I’m here to discuss how Deathloop fares on the Xbox Series X after numerous patches and significant updates including the latest, ‘Goldenloop’, which added new weapons, enemies and more to incentivise returning players to revisit the island of Blackreef.
It’s safe to say that Deathloop is still visually impressive a year on, the art style doing a lot of heavy lifting when sheer depth of detail might not be apparent. More time for patches and polish means the Xbox release goes off without a hitch – I had multiple crashes on PS5 after launch, which was understandable shortly after release but disappointing nevertheless, while my hours spent on the Series X were buttery smooth, helped in part by the four visual modes players can select from. Visual Quality, Performance, Raytracing and Ultra Performance. Performance and Visual Quality both offer dynamic 4K scaling and aim for 60fps, but I found Visual Quality struck the best balance on the Series X despite hairier combat situations seeing the occasional frame rate dip. Raytracing mode suits screenshots quite well, but its locked 30FPS feels sluggish against the frenetic combat Deathloop offers and requires a full game restart to turn on and off, making this something best saved for dedicated in-game photographers only. Ultra Performance drops to 1080P with up to 120FPS but without a VRR-enabled TV you will see some screen tearing. Sound design is equally impressive, Arkane especially going the extra mile with a surprising amount of voiced dialogue that helps develop the characters at each crucial juncture or, in the case of Colt, simply while the player explores Blackreef and the many secrets lurking above and below its surface
It won’t be a surprise that Xbox players are receiving Deathloop in its prime, bugs squashed and kinks ironed. Xbox owners looking for a thrilling adventure with twists, turns and time-sensitive shenanigans owe it to themselves to give it a try; for Game Pass subscribers, there’s really no excuse not to. Of course, there’s far more to a game than just technical aspects and while the Player2 Deathloop review was positively glowing in 2021, not everybody here felt the same about it.
I had a contentious relationship with Deathloop, picking it up on release and, despite putting around 15 hours into it, failing to get across the finish line. At the time, I had just revisited both Dishonored 2 and Prey, hoping to have yet another exquisitely detailed world to explore as I slunk through the shadows and read every piece of worldbuilding text I could get my grubby little mitts on. But a dozen hours into Deathloop, I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something…off. While the titular ‘loop’ made for an intriguing premise, it didn’t connect with me the same way the narrative of previous Arkane titles did. Parts of the design also felt at odds with what I expected from the developer, the areas in Deathloop an amalgamation of the discrete levels of Dishonored mashed together with the sprawling feel of Talos I in Prey. For whatever reason – I suspect perhaps some surreptitious under-the-hood adjustments made since have also helped – I find myself far more engaged on this playthrough, perhaps better able to focus on what Deathloop IS rather than what it wasn’t when I put it down in late 2021. I’ve easily equalled my progress on Xbox when compared to the PS5 version in far fewer hours, an easy feat in a game where prior knowledge is not only power but essential to unlocking the finale. There’s a joy that felt absent on my first playthrough and I’m eager to unravel the remaining mysteries of Blackreef. For anybody who missed Deathloop last year (or like me, had it miss them) I’d recommend giving it another shot.
Deathloop was played on an Xbox Series X console with code kindly provided by Power Up PR.