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Deathloop on Xbox doesn’t change much, but is still great

Deathloop, Arkane Lyon’s immersive sim with a time loop twist, was one of 2021’s odder releases as it was a PS5 exclusive that came out after Microsoft completed its acquisition of ZeniMax. A pre-existing deal kept Xbox players from trying this game from a Microsoft-owned studio for a while, but after a year of post-launch updates, Deathloop finally made its way to Xbox Series X and S alongside the Goldenloop update. The game is also now available on subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus Extra, making it more easily obtainable than ever.

As such, we’ve returned to Deathloop one year later on Xbox Series X to see what the game and the Goldenloop update have to offer now. This port and the latest update don’t overhaul Deathloop significantly, but they didn’t need to. Deathloop is still a really creative and fun shooter; the most significant difference now is that more people than ever can easily play it.  

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The Xbox experience

Deathloop is still the critically acclaimed immersive sim about a man named Colt who’s trying to kill eight “Visionaries” in one day to escape the island of Blackreef and the time loop he is stuck in that it was in 2021. The PS5 version of the game garnered a comfortable 88 score on the video game review aggregate website Metacritic. Digital Trends was a bit cooler on the game than other outlets but still had some praise for the world’s design and combat.

Deathloop isn’t afraid to take experimental swings, and many of them pay off,” Giovanni Colantonio wrote in a three-and-a-half star review in September 2021. “It’s a stylish action game that’s entertaining in every gear. Players never have to choose between stealthily exploration and hectic shootouts; they’re encouraged to tackle a situation in as many ways as they can think of to concoct a perfect crime. It’s less successful when it comes to its forced multiplayer component, though it’s hard to blame Arkane Studios for trying something new. You don’t get innovation without iteration.”

That core game is the same here. If you weren’t in love with the time loop mechanics and infusion systems that give the game a bit of a roguelike feel when you first played the game, those basic mechanics are not different here. That said, those who enjoyed it or think they will like it don’t have to worry about this Xbox experience not capturing the same magic. This port still looks great and runs well. Thanks to its unique 1960s modernist aesthetic, Deathloop is one of the most stylish current-gen exclusive games out there. 

Colt kicks an enemy in Deathloop.

The Xbox Series X’s lack of adaptive triggers and haptic feedback makes the game less taxing on the hands while playing. An update earlier this year also added a plethora of accessibility options to Deathloop that weren’t present at the launch. Those options are all still there on Xbox, so players who just weren’t able to experience Deathloop at launch can now have an easier time doing so. I did run into one crash while playing, but we couldn’t replicate it, and it never crashed again. Overall, we expect most people to have a well-running and glitch-free experience with Deathloop on Xbox, and they won’t miss out on anything important by not trying it on PlayStation. There’s even some new content across all platforms.  

Goldenloop goodies

Spoilers for the ending of Deathloop follow.

To celebrate Deathloop’s first anniversary and launch on Xbox, a special update called “Goldenloop” was released across all platforms. Although these features aren’t Xbox exclusive, they enhance the experience for those checking out Deathloop for the first time, if not by a lot. First off is the new weapon and slab power that players can find. The HALPS Prototype is a laser weapon that feels satisfying to fry enemies with, but its use of batteries does make it more of a fun novelty than some of Deathloop’s more reliable weapons. Meanwhile, the Fugue slab can confuse enemies and eventually cause them to turn against each other when upgraded, simply giving players more options in how they can interact with this intricately built world.

Players will also encounter new two-for-one trinkets that combine existing ones and make Colt’s inventory a little less cluttered, and the new Paint Bomber enemy that will charge at and explode near the player if they aren’t stealthy enough. Paint Bombers are pretty annoying, so I always tried to kill them from a distance when I saw them. Meanwhile, Julianna players will appreciate that Deathloop now has cross-play, so it’s possible for new Xbox players to enjoy the game with those who got it on PS5 in 2021. Juliana’s Masquerade ability is also more powerful as it can be upgraded to target three NPCs at once, regenerate health while in use, automatically expose Colt if an affected NPC spots him, and convert damage taken into energy.

Colt refracts the laser from the HALPS prototype gun in Deathloop.

The most notable change to the game is the extended ending, which adds a bit more depth to a story that originally ended quite abruptly. It doesn’t do anything to change Deathloop’s really uncomfortable familial revelation between Colt and Juliana, but it provides a bit more context as to how the Visionaries reacted once Colt successfully manages to break the loop in one of the game’s multiple endings. The extended ending ties a nice bow over a story with lots of eclectic and memorable characters, even if it doesn’t redefine the Deathloop experience. In practice, that sentiment applies to the entirety of the Xbox launch of Deathloop

The Goldenloop update doesn’t revolutionize the game in any meaningful ways, so don’t pick this up expecting a completely different experience if you already played through the whole thing on PS5 last year. That said, for Xbox Game Pass subscribers who have never tried Deathloop before, this is a solid port and a comprehensive version of one of 2021’s most creative AAA games. It also has a couple of new flourishes and cross-play and cross-progression support for those who want to check the game out again. 

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Encouraged exploration
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