I always feel bad for posting so many 'meh' articles. It's not like I want to. I would love to love the games. I'm trying, I swear!

Anyway, congrats to Arkane for being so brave to try something so unusual. We all know that no big studio takes any risks and they usually just keep repeating their winning formula. But is it that unusual besides the elevator pitch? I think it had to be streamlined so hard to avoid player confusion, so that the actual gameplay experience is pretty standard.

While Dishonored and Prey, two of my alltime favourites, had lots of interesting fresh gameplay mechanics, Deathloop has none actually. Running, jumping, shooting and a couple of abilities taken straight from Dishonored. Gameplay wise there is nothing new at all. The world interactions are limited almost entirely to opening doors, pulling levers, entering codes, carrying batteries and portable guns. All things their previous games also did.
And, oh boy, does it rely on codes. There is codes everywhere. If the developer has no idea how to gate off a section in a creative way, just use a door with a key code.


Besides these, the actual gameplay is mostly circumventing or killing all the badguys that are roaming the place again and again. The different places are pretty much the same in that regard; gameplay does not change. You will develop your goto approach that works the same everywhere. The game never lured me out of my comfort zone.


The upgrading process takes up a lot of the gameplay. It feels good to pickup all the special things you can find. But the big downer is that you can only equip very few things at once so the whole process becomes useless pretty quickly. To equip some other cool upgrade I would need to drop my double jump? No way! To try another slab ability I need to drop something fundamental like the blink-teleport? No way! This way it's really hard to ever leave your comfort zone and try other abilities. Upgrades that would have let me use more abilities at the same time would have been great but it never expands my slots.


The 8 visionaries are really strangers except for Julianna. They are supposed to be interesting characters, but I barely know their faces. Ingame you just see a hectically running around person from a distance. They were not introduced in interesting ways so that I could feel I know them before I gun them down (without noticing them because they are likely among a bunch of other random NPCs). There is a lot of text pieces about them everywhere, but I can't connect these to a face that I don't know. And it's way too much text. It just didn't work for me.


Dishonored was great in a completely non handholdey way with mission markers in the HUD disabled. Deathloop is way too complex to do that. You get completely lost. If you play it with handholding on you are basically just running to the mission marker at all times and are rarely doing anything on your own. I prefered that over complete freedom because it would have been too overwhelming; but if done right, it would work that way too. Also there is just one rigid way to solve the entire puzzle. There is no alternative ways at all. They would have made it even more confusing probably.


How the game bombards you with little tutorial texts in its menus was painful. I think tutorials needs to get introduced very slowly, not all at once. Ironically these tutorials made the menus seem way more complex than they actually are.


The ending is meh. While Dishonored's endings are not much they at least leave me resolved. Prey's ending, while contoversial, is a giant twist you don't see coming and that's cool.

Deathloop's ending twists nothing and doesn't give me a "what happens afterwards" glimpse. You solved the problem and there are the credits.