After a year of console exclusivity on PlayStation 5, Arkane Lyon's time-bending blast Deathloop descends onto Xbox and PC Game Pass today with a new Goldenloop update in tow. Widely considered to be one of the best games of last year – our review called it "one of the best games to hit in 2021" thanks to its ability to "combine what makes Arkane games great – and make it better" – but does Deathloop continue its excellence in its new home? The short answer, to no one's surprise, is yes.
For those unfamiliar with the game, Deathloop puts you into the time-warping shoes of Colt Vahn, a man stranded on a strange island with no recollection of who he is and how he got there. He comes to learn Blackreef is caught in a perpetual time cycle, repeating the same day over and over again, and all of its inhabitants lose their memories of previous cycles when a new one begins. Colt tries to break the loop by taking on the island's inhabitants, from the grunt Eternalists to the big bad Visionaries, with the goal of taking down all Visionaries in a single day and breaking the loop for good.
Deathloop is a tight and pristine shooter, easily one of the most unique experiences available today, and it translates perfectly onto the Xbox Series X. The action is just as sharp and fun as it was previously, as close a perfect port from one console to another as one could ask for, with very little technical mishaps shaping my experience. Playing through the loops again, re-establishing my patterns, and executing my plans all feel just as awesome on Xbox as they did on PlayStation, especially with the new Goldenloop updates.
My favorite new feature is the HALPS Prototype, a massive laser weapon that turns me into an unstoppable killing machine. Lasers will chain between Eternalists grouped together, evaporating them on the spot. I can even aim it into a sensor and watch the closest bad guy become ash with a single shot. This new weapon might seem a little overpowered to the new Deathloop players, but for those familiar with the game it makes for a perfect "speedrun" sort of weapon.
The next best upgrade is the Fugue Slab, a new supernatural power that allows me to slow and confuse an enemy, rendering them so drunk they're effectively harmless. This is great for an enemy who is isolated from his pals, but its uses die down in groups…unless you've upgraded it. There are four upgrades total, my favorite of which is the Discord feature that sends the affected enemy into a rage, turning on their Eternalist brethren and making them a pseudo-ally for a brief time. Once the other enemies in the group are distracted I can move in and pick them off one at a time, making the raging Eternalist a perfect decoy to spring on unsuspecting enemies. The other upgrades are cool too–extended duration, the ability to affect nearby enemies when the affected enemy dies, and a trap of sorts that will affect unsuspecting enemies that pass by–but when Discord is turned on, the game truly begins. Colt already had a massive trove of weapons and powers at his disposal, but with the Fugue Slab he can open a new world of possibilities.
The rest of the upgrades aren't quite as noticeable, but they still make a considerable impact on Colt's abilities. The added upgrades to Julianna's ability, Masquerade, are pretty fun, but I didn't really use the power beforehand and these extra perks didn't entice me to try. The slate of new trinkets range from forgettable to fun, but again there's not a whole lot to write about with them; they're simply new upgrades for Colt to try out. Finally, there is an extended ending available, but admittedly I wasn't able to finish this session in order to see it, but believe me I will.
All in all, it's Deathloop on Xbox, what more is there to say? The highly touted shooter deserves every bit of praise heaped upon it. Its focus on time management, strategy, and patience may seem to be hidden under all of the high-octane action and big blasty weapons, but once you start to figure out paths and patterns in order to plan your attack, Deathloop's true beauty shines through. This was a special game before, and now it will be a special game to a whole new audience on Xbox and PC Game Pass.