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Deathloop - Tales from the Loop


Mr Do 71
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Just now, Minion said:

Yeah, shift is useful for getting into some spots though.

Oh, absolutely. Shift's so ingrained in my traversal I'd even forgotten that it was a separate power.

 

Invisibility was the other one I took along, mainly just for getting through tripwires more easily.

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13 minutes ago, Kayin Amoh said:

Oh, absolutely. Shift's so ingrained in my traversal I'd even forgotten that it was a separate power.

 

Invisibility was the other one I took along, mainly just for getting through tripwires more easily.

Shift through tripwires :)

 

this game of the year so far for me.

 

I found that guy in the theme park house thing. If you shift into the open window he’s right there, if only I could snipe him through the window 

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If you want even a remote semblance of challenge you can play the game with nothing but a machete. No slabs, trinkets etc. It’s still really easy. 
 

I don’t understand the point of the machete. You can already melee (kick) and oneshot stealth kill from behind. Why have a whole slot dedicated to a weapon which does the same thing?

 

One of the ways they could have made better use of the loop mechanic is making your resources or weapons finite. If you can only disable so many cameras/turrets per level, or guns/slabs/trinkets were consumed after each level until the next run, you’d have to actually plan and execute. Maybe if infusing items only allowed you to carry them to the next level and everything but knowledge reset each loop, that would be an interesting challenge.

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I'm around 6 hours into this and despite being super hyped after the reviews and being a big fan of Arkane's work in theory over the years I'm not sure it's quite clicking with me yet. 

 

First off the story. The game throws you straight in and while I think this can be a good thing it doesn't do a great job of setting up who any of the visionaries are or why I should care about them. Dishonoured always did a really good job of linking everything together and telling me why people are bastards but I think because this is trying to be more of a mystery it's just left me feeling like I'm wandering around killing bosses because they have icons on them rather than for any narrative reasons. I read someone in here saying it would have been great to have Hitman style intros for each Visionary and I couldn't agree more.

 Also I'm not sure if I've just been slow over the opening few hours or if it'll just open up more as I play but I don't know who Colt is, I don't know who Julianna is, I've got no idea why he wants to break out of the Loop or why she doesn't and it's all just lead to me feeling like I'm walking around this beautiful stylish world without any real agency. I know it's a mystery but it just lacks that hook to keep me interested so far.

 

Gameplay wise the shooting and powers are fun. I've unlocked Shift and Nexus and Nexus is just crazy great. But I'm starting to feel like the whole thing is just a kind of interesting shooting gallery rather than anything deeper. Like I say I've not played a huge amount but everywhere I go the only thing to do with the baddies is murder them. So you get some pass to go into a house and I thought "oh cool, a disguise!" but no. It just lets you through the door and then you have another cramped area in which to kill loads of guards. I don't want to go full Edge here but it's seeming a bit style over substance? There are plenty of ways of dealing with baddies and that's really great 

 

As I say it's still relatively early days. I really really want to like it and I'm hoping it's just a case of going through things a bit more and seeing how the different elements start interacting once I get to grips with them a bit more. I keep picking up these little notes suggesting I try different things but it's all such a barrage for those first few hours that I'm just sort of thinking "right another little note about a random safe or whatever" and then it all gets forgotten. Any tips for getting into the story/characters more or is it just not that great? 

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Story/Characters - you have to read. There’s quite a lot of exposition in the opening mission until you kill Julianna for the first time, then there’s a reasonable amount of backstory for each - but the problem might be that you start to forget it it before you get the next bit if you’re not careful.

 

got most of the way to a clear run half an hour ago, and then got killed just as I killed my last visionary. Quite annoying 🙂

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I got jumped by some gamer called JenovaCid.

She had some stupid slowing power that really screwed me up so on my last life I got out the poison cloud pistol and just kept on shooting. She then fired through the cloud which caused chain reaction explosions and effectively killed herself.

I’m now sending JenovaSid the video ….with the ending bit where I died right after edited out.

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It’s a strange one this. I certainly feel compelled to go back and keep playing, but my opinion of it feels very much aligned with @Moz.

 

The combat is really easy, to the point where I simply don’t need to use any of the powers. It might be ‘fun’ to use them, but unless they’re essential, I feel that’s a bit of a failing of the games design.

 

Also, so far at least, I haven’t had to figure anything out for myself. As an example, I needed to find out some information in order to identify one of the visionaries and at one point I entered a room and suddenly Colt said something to the effect of ‘ok, I’ve got what I need’ and it turns out some enemies had had a conversation telling me what I needed to know. Well, I didn’t even hear what they said! And suddenly I’ve completed my task.

 

At this point I can’t even be bothered trying to follow what’s going on. Someone else mentioned Outer Wilds earlier in the thread and I think it’s a good comparison. That game forces you to be invested in the story in order to proceed, and I think that’s what made it so successful. This just feels like a long series of checkpoints. For those that have completed it, does this change at all?

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Just now, Mystacon said:

Also, so far at least, I haven’t had to figure anything out for myself.


Only played the first ‘mission’ of this, but this is what I picked up on too. I’d just downloaded Outer Wilds again ready for the DLC, and started a new save file, and that game really doesn’t give much away at all. Maybe a location, or a hint, but it’s up to you to plan what you’re doing on the next run, and that’s one of the most fun things about it. There doesn’t seem to be much point in the ‘time loop’ mechanic of the game tells you what to do on each run, I guess?

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12 minutes ago, Mystacon said:

It’s a strange one this. I certainly feel compelled to go back and keep playing, but my opinion of it feels very much aligned with @Moz.

 

The combat is really easy, to the point where I simply don’t need to use any of the powers. It might be ‘fun’ to use them, but unless they’re essential, I feel that’s a bit of a failing of the games design.

 

Also, so far at least, I haven’t had to figure anything out for myself. As an example, I needed to find out some information in order to identify one of the visionaries and at one point I entered a room and suddenly Colt said something to the effect of ‘ok, I’ve got what I need’ and it turns out some enemies had had a conversation telling me what I needed to know. Well, I didn’t even hear what they said! And suddenly I’ve completed my task.

 

At this point I can’t even be bothered trying to follow what’s going on. Someone else mentioned Outer Wilds earlier in the thread and I think it’s a good comparison. That game forces you to be invested in the story in order to proceed, and I think that’s what made it so successful. This just feels like a long series of checkpoints. For those that have completed it, does this change at all?

 

Right there with ya, buddy. Feels like this hit a lot of roadblocks over its development. I can't help but feel the difficulty got a major downgrade, and maybe also the number of deaths before waking up on the beach was increased. Whatever the reasoning, the balance is now way off. 

 

I also guess the amount of instructions, dialogue and handholds were dialled waaaay up. It feels to me like the system of written clues was originally quite minimal, then at one point during production realised no-one would understand so wrote a bunch more ancillary material. 

 

I say that as the way info is conveyed in this game is awful; basically post-its constantly plastered in your vision. The game's main inspirations are the Bioshock series and MGSV, but both of those had better info-dumps, and minimised them through having cut scenes and character interactions. 

 

And yet I'm still playing! The world you're investigating is superb - a high watermark in level design, I'd say - and I like the interconnecting systems and story beats. 

 

A very, very odd game. 

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I think they got hung up on "The Crossing" a long time ago and wanted to introduce Invasions into a Dishonored style game, partly because it's an old idea of theirs and partly because it's now a popular mechanic in other games which extends the shelf life a bit.

 

The problem is, getting invaded in Dishonored or Prey would be a nightmare because you'd run into other enemies and get spotted and killed really quickly. So to balance that they give you loads of firepower and make the enemies crumple like tissue paper in a single hit. In the process the game becomes more of a shooter which also has wider market appeal, which is understandable after Prey flopped. 

 

The problem is, they're now building levels for Dishonored stealth mechanics and then filling them full of Borderlands AI to compensate for being invaded and widening the appeal a bit. Both of which make a worse game. The level design and the gameplay aren't in sync at all, because the difficulty is trivial and there's no specificity to the challenges. I've not been forced to stealth or shoot once yet. I'm walking through all these elaborate levels headshotting people like John Wick while noticing all these intricate routes across chandeliers and through vents which you never, ever need to use. And if you do try, the stealth is so broken that you can't take it seriously. it's embarrassing.

 

The loop mechanic seems like a very, very convoluted way to reuse levels wrapped in a clever structure. The only thing I've had to do of any interest so far really is redirect power at the start of each loop three times. And doing that is again a trivial task.

 

I can understand most of the decisions they made (Sony exclusivity, heavy emphasis on controller/console, heavier emphasis on combat etc). Then Microsoft came along and bought them, and now they can do whatever they like. So I want to see a hard swing in the other direction ideally.

 

I could still be wrong. It could all come together brilliantly and I'll start to get it. I really hope so. Right now it's a misfire for me, but I'm happy to forgive them as they had to react to Prey flopping while developing in the midst of a pandemic. Those 10/10 reviews are absolutely baffling though.

 

Either way, the time loop genre keeps trucking on. Outer Wilds DLC is out next week. And I've just bought the Forgotten City too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p24cqO7rP8o

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1 hour ago, Paulando said:


Only played the first ‘mission’ of this, but this is what I picked up on too. I’d just downloaded Outer Wilds again ready for the DLC, and started a new save file, and that game really doesn’t give much away at all. Maybe a location, or a hint, but it’s up to you to plan what you’re doing on the next run, and that’s one of the most fun things about it. There doesn’t seem to be much point in the ‘time loop’ mechanic of the game tells you what to do on each run, I guess?

I think a big problem is that Colt is a voiced character rather than the silent protagonist of Outer Wilds. So with OW you'd read something and then there would be silence, so you'd have to work it out yourself. Nothing changes until you've made the connection with your own old slow brain. In this, as soon as I read a note Colt says "well fuckin' alright, I need to fuckin' go to the fuckin' lighthouse at fuckin' noon" and if you've not made that connection yourself yet it just leaves you feeling confused and stupid. 

 

I'm like Moz, really hoping I have "the moment" with it because I love the concept and the style's amazing. The powers are really fun too and I currently only have 2 unlocked so hopefully they'll give things a bit of a kick up the arse too. 

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1 minute ago, BitterToad said:

In this, as soon as I read a note Colt says "well fuckin' alright, I need to fuckin' go to the fuckin' lighthouse at fuckin' noon" and if you've not made that connection yourself yet it just leaves you feeling confused and stupid.

 

Yep, this 100%! This is the part which is most disappointing. I could understand the game itself being pretty easy if the macro puzzle was interesting. But it's (so far) a series of checkpoints with all the puzzle solving on autopilot. If it were more of a roguelike/lite with really fun engaging combat that would work too. Instead it shoots straight down the middle and delivers a tiny squirt of everything, but none of it has any depth.

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The performance issues on this seem weirdly and widely varied. The PS5 version has been absolutely rock solid for me, no crashes, freezes, slow downs or anything substantial to report (touch wood). The only glitches I've had is one where I shotgunned a visionary and his weapon (which I was supposed to pickup) flew back and fell between some scenery where I could see it but not pick it up and had to leave it, and I also found a random enemy just bobbing up and down in the edge of some water running on the spot once. But on the whole it's been very good. Actual gameplay has been nailed on 60fps throughout.

 

The difficulty thing is an interesting one. On the whole I agree, the combat in small chunks isn't hard at all and you don't get forced into exploring the powers all that much, however you can still get mullered by a group (or a visionary) if you aren't on the front foot. I was playing last night and ended up fighting raged super exploding sniper Juliana who one-shotted me, followed by two other visionaries at once and it was actually the standard enemies were actually the real threat as there were just all over the place with no reprise left while I was trying to focus on targets. In the end I just murdered everyone to avoid surprises.

 

I'm still enjoying it a lot, but I would say it only properly clicked the last two day cycles I've done as I now feel I know what's going on, what my objectives are and how I can affect things. The first 4 hours or so the plot delivery of lots of reading while Colt shouts at things wasn't really making it easy to grasp. I also agree there is a fair bit of missed potential in the mechanics both of the abilities and the loop itself (some mentioned over the last few pages). It feels to me like it has all been settled down for more accessible mass-market action game appeal - which I completely get from a commercial point of view and the wider gaming customer. However the more hardcore gamer in me would have loved to see this:

 

a) properly difficult challenge wise (Bloodborne level hard for example - I think it balanced risk/fear and reward really well and meant decisions mattered more)

 

b) with more complex integrations between loop, plot, mechanics (basically more metroidvania-esque stuff both with what you can do, but also how you change the next loop/levels organically as that element feels very scripted to me - e.g. learn that enemy A is responsible for locking a certain door at noon, so by killing him in the morning it means you can use that door at night for something else as a shortcut, that sort of thing not just "you've reached plot point C so that door is now open all the time".)

 

c) more invested in the character development (I like a lot of the design and writing in this, I just don't feel I've picked up most of that detail when it comes to the other visionaries, etc... they are just objectives for me to kill at this stage and I know there is more going on than that)

 

All that said... I am ultimately really enjoying playing it moment to moment, and keep looking forward to the next run. I absolutely loved the Dishonored games and while I'm not sure this one will stay with me as long as those, Arkane have definitely got some special sauce they seems to put in their games which make me want to play them and I'm excited to see it through and unlock everything.

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I found it a little easy at first, but then I appreciated that. It was like playing Dishonored but more immediate and forgiving. For me that's an invitation to experiment more and take bigger risks. It's liberating. But I never stopped having to be careful - it's easy to get surrounded and taken down if you just run around shooting everyone - and there are some challenging bits that I had to play through a number of times to find an effective route and strategy.

 

When I eventually finished the game, it was from using all the experience and abilities I'd built up from looping through so many times that allowed me to execute the final day almost perfectly. All the mistakes learned from and ironed out, as if they'd never happened. In that sense it works perfectly as a time loop power fantasy.

 

And as much I like a good investigation game, I think this has the balance right since it's trying to keep the pace up. There are some bits and bobs to figure out, but mainly you need to go to the right place at the right time to get what you need. It's more important for me that it reveals a new layer with each loop. I really wouldn't have wanted this to be like Outer Wilds. It doesn't feel like a compromise, it feels in tune with the tone of the rest of the game.

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I had another big session last night and definitely near the end now, I've fully upgraded some of the slabs and have the means to deal with most of the Visionaries in one loop, not quite there yet though. I've spent more time focusing on trying to get some of the optional/secret stuff lately, which has been a mixed bag. In some cases it has been fun and others exposing the problem with timeloop games where you either fail or didn't get the right solution and so have to restart a day to try things in another order.


I definitely agree with the criticisms above about the game shoving information in your face before you have had time to process or figure it out yourself. Stuff like conversations you didn't hear, killing Visionaries accidentally (or not even realising they are Visionaries until you killed them). Sometimes the game straight out tells you where or when Visionaries are supposed to be and you have no idea whether that's from info you learned recently or its Colts memories coming into play. The whole memories/alt-Colt thing gets confusing right from the get-go, where menus or Colts voice lines talk about Visionaries, their habits and personalities and you feel like 'was I supposed to have known this?'.

 

Likewise the handholding of the mission list and trackers really spoils any sense of discovery, even with the trackers turned off you don't get time to digest information and figure out consequences. You get lots of moments like Colt saying 'oh, I bet 2-Bit can help me with that' when you have no idea what 2-Bit even is. Yet suddenly all the relevant info is stuffed into your trackers and you are left feeling spoonfed and a bit confused. 

 

Having said that the discoveries list and mission trackers are really nice in terms of keeping track of what info you have learned for places and times of day. I just wish they had kept the info in those as clues or suggestions rather than giving you solutions straight away. I think Treble above is probably right that they probably started dev with much less player direction but people probably got overwhelmed or annoyed with having to go through loops trying different things with no results. Its a common issue with timeloop games but as Outer Wilds showed it is possible to give out clues and information without simply railroading the player and spelling it out for them.

 

As for the combat difficulty, I've been sticking with non-combat focussed powers/trinkets and so in the later levels it can be hard if help is summoned. The enemies tactics are overwhelming with numbers which of course is deliberate to tie into the group-focussed powers that you have, and to let the player go wild with the arsenal. I don't necessarily agree the AI has been toned down because of Invasions, its just gutter tier AI anyway. I guess that makes repeated loops easier and the focus becomes more on environmental traversal than worrying too much about enemies but it is pretty sad to see. In some cases its just broken - enemies ignoring you right next to them, ignoring guys dying in front of them, running into walls, etc. Bottle throwing is awful and I never used it beyond the tutorial (they need to add an aim line and increase the range). Like Moz I got the silenced SMG early on and it renders the nail-gun completely pointless, its able to headshot at very long range as well. Its really OP albeit satisfying.

 

But like I keep saying, it does have issues, but for me the world, the story and the way the missions expand over the loops is what makes it a good game. There's some great imagination in the scenarios and I love digging deeper into the background of the lore.

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9 minutes ago, BadgerFarmer said:

I found it a little easy at first, but then I appreciated that. It was like playing Dishonored but more immediate and forgiving. For me that's an invitation to experiment more and take bigger risks. It's liberating. But I never stopped having to be careful - it's easy to get surrounded and taken down if you just run around shooting everyone - and there are some challenging bits that I had to play through a number of times to find an effective route and strategy.

 

When I eventually finished the game, it was from using all the experience and abilities I'd built up from looping through so many times that allowed me to execute the final day almost perfectly. All the mistakes learned from and ironed out, as if they'd never happened. In that sense it works perfectly as a time loop power fantasy.

 

And as much I like a good investigation game, I think this has the balance right since it's trying to keep the pace up. There are some bits and bobs to figure out, but mainly you need to go to the right place at the right time to get what you need. It's more important for me that it reveals a new layer with each loop. I really wouldn't have wanted this to be like Outer Wilds. It doesn't feel like a compromise, it feels in tune with the tone of the rest of the game.

See I really hope it clicks with me like the above. I really really want to like it because the idea sounds exactly like something I'd love. It's not that I'm wanting to have to work everything out by myself like with Outer Wilds but my main issue is that so far (6 hours in) I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing. Obviously I know that I want to break the loop but everything gets worked out so quickly by Colt that I don't really have time to put the context together in my head for the smaller moment to moment gameplay. 

 

So the Julianna quest line has you going to the power station because she told you not to. Great, fine, makes sense. When I got there I had to mess about with the power, I don't think the game really explained why I was doing that other than there being an icon over it, and then it told me to go somewhere else based on something I'd read but not really understood because it was all written in the floaty, cool style that everything is. I realise that makes me sound about 80 but I kind of feel like I'm just wandering around ticking off boxes I don't understand. I'm going to make much more of an effort to properly read and understand everything going forward and hopefully that'll help.  

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That happened to me too. I got a quest entry to "Go to the X station". I had to divert the power first, so I went to the power station. I went and did that, but the buttons show the name of the area, not the individual stations. So I took a wild guess and picked one, which turned out to be wrong, and Cole says "Great, now I can go to the Y station" and created a new quest entry. So it spoonfed me the name of the X station, told me exactly where to go to divert the power to it, then when I picked the Y station by mistake, it spoonfed me the name and location of that. The whole sequence could be a good puzzle if they would only let the player figure it out by themselves. 

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I wonder if any of that stuff is deliberate to feed into the idea that Colt has done all this before. Of course, that could also be a convenient excuse.

 

I found myself going into the menus to check what was going on a few times. It definitely makes more sense then.

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Got all of the slabs bar Havok now, as I keep fucking up my stealthy approach to Fia, but I’m just not engaged at all. It feels like a shopping list, or a pile of systems looking for a game.

 

Only done a few cycles, but already near the point of following a walkthrough just to get it done.

 

And as for difficulty, I don’t find it remotely trivial. Using the Dualsense, I’m dying plenty. No matter what I set the sensitivities too, it aims like shit, so in a firefight I get shot plenty.

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3 minutes ago, jonamok said:

Got all of the slabs bar Havok now, as I keep fucking up my stealthy approach to Fia, but I’m just not engaged at all. It feels like a shopping list, or a pile of systems looking for a game.

 

Only done a few cycles, but already near the point of following a walkthrough just to get it done.

 

And as for difficulty, I don’t find it remotely trivial. Using the Dualsense, I’m dying plenty. No matter what I set the sensitivities too, it aims like shit, so in a firefight I get shot plenty.

 

The auto aim is crazy. Just let go of the left trigger and pull it again and you're almost certainly aiming for a headshot.

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Fia/Havock I got pretty early I think as I got onto Afternoon Delight pretty quickly.

 

Spoiler

Can you do that without it flooding though? Don't always have chance to loot corpses

 

But I've still go the open lead to go kill her the "normal" way.

 

I want to love this but it  just hasn't gelled into anything that grabbed me - which is a huge shame as I love Dishonoured.


The most disheartening thing is other than the AD scenario above, I barely even noticed i was killing a visionary. Alekis, Charlie, Frank all just died in quick group shoot outs. Wenji/Harriet are only ones I felt like I assassinated due to their set ups.

 

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Spoilers are spoilers. Click spoilers see spoilers. Is it major? It comes out of nowhere. I'm kinda done with this, I'm really quite bored of running through the same four levels over and over to click on a different thing to be told I've solved a puzzle I didn't even know I was solving. What a misfire and a waste of Arkane's talents. God only knows what virtually the entire games press has been smoking.

 

Spoiler

I looked up a walkthrough. Apparently, once you've solved all the visionary leads it simply tells you exactly what to do and in what order to break the loop. There's only one way to do it, and you can't deviate from it. 😂 Absolutely rubbish.

 

I'm gonna start The Forgotten City instead. I'll come back to this in a bit when I want an utterly mindless few hours of poorly optimised babygame.

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