While Deathloop is being lauded as easily one of this year’s best games, it certainly throws a lot of concepts at you in the first few hours of the game. The game spends an overwhelming amount of time getting you up to speed on its basic mechanics. How the time-loop works, upgrading your arsenal, and how the free-form objectives work, for example.
Part of what makes Deathloop so great is that, even after several hours, you still find new ways that elevate your playstyle. However, you might find yourself thinking that you wish you’d known about these tips much earlier in your playthrough.
Haven’t bought Deathloop yet? Before you jump into our tips, you can buy a digital copy for PC, – the Deluxe Edition packed with tons of extra content, for just £64.99. Without further ado, here are six things that we wish we’d known before we started playing Deathloop.
Time only moves when you do
No, this isn’t Superhot, but Deathloop shares a similar concept. The game is centred around the cyclical time-loop that keeps the island’s inhabitants trapped in the same day. It’s through this that the player is tasked with getting to know the island inside and out, re-living each moment time after time.
Unlike other time-loop focused games, such as Forgotten City or Outer Wilds, there isn’t a great deal of pressure to get things done within a time limit. Each day is split up into the Morning, Noon, Afternoon, and Evening. However, time only progresses between those four states when you travel between different areas. For example, you could theoretically hang around in Updaam for six hours in the morning. The time of day will remain the same until you exit the area via the tunnel network.
Removing a hard time limit frees the player to fully explore each area meticulously, which is something that you’ll want to do. With secrets packed into every corner of the levels, the world of Blackreef is just itching to be discovered. Especially in the early hours of the game, feel free to take your time and fully experience what the different areas have to offer.
You can turn off online invasions
Another big mechanic of Deathloop is the concept of world invasions. This sees the antagonist Julianna occasionally appearing to hunt you down at random moments. It’s a fun aside that can properly disrupt your loop attempts, but defeating her can accrue lucrative rewards.
Julianna invasions are also where Deathloop’s multiplayer mechanics come into play. When connected to the game’s online servers, other players can choose to invade your game as Julianna herself. It offers up some interesting PvP combat in an otherwise wholly single-player experience.
However, if like me you are abysmal at first person controls on a pad, then you might find yourself getting frustrated with getting floored by these PvP invasions. Luckily, it’s possible to turn off this online functionality and play Deathloop in pure single player fashion. It won’t stop Julianna from invading you – that remains a key part of the loops. However, she’ll appear as an NPC rather than controlled by another player. It makes dealing with her much more manageable and might end up improving your overall experience.
Slabs can be upgraded
Slabs are the collectibles that provide Deathloop’s characters with their otherworldly abilities. They’re obtained by killing a selection of the eight Visionaries, the characters Colt must kill to end the time loop. There’s five in total, and each of them create new gameplay opportunities to help you on your journey.
What isn’t immediately obvious, though, is that these abilities can be upgraded. By collecting the same Slab in a future loop, you’ll unlock upgrades that enhance these powers even further. For example, one upgrade for the Shift ability lets you swap places with NPCs, opening up creative new ways to kill.
As there is essentially only one of each Slab in each loop (unless you kill Julianna, who carries a random Slab each time) we recommend that you infuse the Slabs as early as possible. Infusing an item lets you keep it in your loadout for future loops. Luckily, killing a Visionary usually drops enough Residuum to afford the hefty Slab price, so you shouldn’t find yourself running short. Speaking of Residuum…
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
By now you’ll be familiar with the Infuse system that lets you retain items across time loops. This is done by harvesting and spending the Residuum resource at the end of each area or day.
Along your travels, you’ll end up collecting several Personal and Weapon Trinkets. These act as modifiers for your gear and come in a selection of different varieties. You’ll end up picking up tens of these throughout each loop, and it’s unlikely you’ll afford to infuse them all along with you.
That’s where the Sacrifice system comes into play. You can sacrifice weapons and trinkets in return for a bump in Residuum which can in turn be used to infuse your higher tier items. You’ll want to do this at the very end of each loop. Any trinkets or equipment that you know you aren’t going to infuse, sacrifice them. This will give you more Residuum to spend on the higher tier weapons and upgrades.
Make use of the Lead tracking menus
Deathloop takes a very open approach to its mission design. There’s no right or wrong order to approach each objective in. While this gives the player plenty of agency, it’s easy to sometimes feel at a loose end. To get around this, Deathloop incorporates several handy menus that show exactly which objectives you have to work towards.
In one menu, you’ll find a list of Visionary leads. Following these will lead you to discover the many creative ways in which you can take out the eight targets scattered throughout Blackreef. As you uncover information about each of the targets, this will be referenced here as well as displayed in full in the Intel section.
There’s also a separate menu for Arsenal leads. Following these will guide you to unlock the five ability Slabs available in the game, as well as a couple of special firearms. But we’ll leave those up to you to discover properly. It’s helpful to return back to these menus whenever you feel like you’re reaching a dead end. They’ll usually give you a prod in the right direction.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can deactivate the HUD markers for these leads and simply use them as a reference. This way you have to use your surroundings and the environmental details to learn how to complete your current objective.
Don’t be afraid to go loud!
With Deathloop sharing a lot of its DNA with Arkane’s previous Dishonored games, you’re likely to feel inclined to use stealth much of the time. However, you’ll find yourself imbued with the Reprise ability early on in the story. This allows Colt to return to life twice before dying properly and resetting the loop.
Because of this, the risk of death is drastically reduced, allowing players to experiment with ideas without risking their entire progress. Enemies also lose their aggression when they kill you, so you can go right back to being in stealth even if you get spotted. A lot of Deathloop’s abilities lend themselves well to going loud, and some of the game’s best weapons are heavy hitters.
While a lot of the game’s narrative information requires the player to be thoughtful about how they traverse through each level, there is scope for going in all-guns blazing. Don’t be afraid to give it a try – there will always be another loop.
Those are just a few things that I wish I’d known before I started playing Deathloop. Let us know if these helped you across our social channels!
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Featured Image Credit: Bethesda/Arkane Lyon