Deathloop has finally appeared on Xbox Series consoles. The time-travelling caper from Microsoft-owned Arkane Studios debuted as a PS5 and PC release last September – a time-limited console exclusive owing to a pre-acquisition agreement with Sony. That original PS5 release had some flaws but has been patched since release with additional content, visual fixes, and a new 120fps graphics mode. But with a fresh start on new consoles, has Arkane finally delivered a properly calibrated version of their first-person adventure? Is this the definitive Deathloop experience?
Deathloop is a curious game. Like many prior Arkane titles, it’s superficially a first-person action game, but success depends on exploiting unique character abilities, stealth, and environmental hazards. It offers open-ended gameplay but not in an open-world environment – it’s a tightly curated experience that still manages to excite and surprise. Making progress hinges on exploiting the game’s central conceit – a time loop that makes the game restart at the end of each day. It’s not quite as strict as a game like Returnal, and it’s structured as a more conventional single-player adventure. Still, this isn’t a rollercoaster ride, and conquering the ‘Deathloop’ requires a lot of backtracking and patient exploration.
Technically speaking, this largely resembles a last-generation title. To be clear, it’s not unattractive by any means but the visual techniques at hand are generally in line with eighth-gen fare. Asset quality is reasonably high at least, and shadowmap and volumetric lighting quality is solid across all consoles. Deathloop isn’t aiming for a hyper-detailed aesthetic, with stylised characters, lower-density textures and simple particle effects – and it does at least succeed in conveying its retro 60s look. Plus, in the year since Deathloop’s original release, we’ve seen vanishingly few visually advanced efforts on console. Most software is still mired in the cross-gen era, with little visual distinction between current-gen and last-gen versions. So Deathloop is still keeping pace with general trends in high-budget games, outside of a handful of graphically ambitious outliers.
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