Deathloop (PlayStation 5, PC, £59.99)
Verdict: Again, again!
Deathloop begins, appropriately enough, with a death. Yours. A woman called Julianna stands over you with a knife. She plunges it down once, twice, then you’re done.
Except you’re not. Your character, a straight-talking dude named Colt, wakes up moments later on an icy beach with a case of amnesia — but alive. It’s the start of another day, the same one Colt just lived through.
So Deathloop is one of those games, like the recent Returnal, where death brings you back to the beginning — and you’ve got to try again, this time with the knowledge and equipment you picked up on the last run. It’s Groundhog Day with guns.
Deathloop begins, appropriately enough, with a death. Yours. A woman called Julianna stands over you with a knife. She plunges it down once, twice, then you’re done
Or is it James Bond with superpowers? A Clockwork Orange with sea views? The island on which Colt finds himself — with a mission to kill eight enigmatic ‘Visionaries’ to end the time loop — feels like places from other games, movies and books. But Deathloop is so stylishly put together that it surpasses some of its influences.
Then there’s the gameplay. Arkane, the developers of Deathloop, have imported several mechanics from their Dishonored series, to great effect. Do you off the island’s murderous inhabitants by teleporting from spot to spot and then unsheathing your blade? Or do you simply avoid them entirely?
There is no one correct way of playing. The choices are yours to make — although it should be said that if you choose violence, the game is a pretty bloody experience.
But that much was clear from the start, wasn’t it, when Julianna stabbed you in the chest? Like her, let’s get to the point: Deathloop is an all-time classic.
Tales Of Arise (PlayStation, Xbox, PC, £49.99)
Verdict: Big and bold
Tales of Arise, the first new, major Japanese fantasy role-playing game to appear on the latest generation of consoles, is… a lot. A lot of story, a lot of conversations, a lot of locations, enemies and fights.
Sometimes, it’s too much. There were plenty of moments where I thought: who is this character, again, and what do they want?
But there was always something — the fantastic visuals, say, or the rewarding combat system — to keep me going through the plot, from slavery to the stars. By the end, I probably could have handled more.
Tales of Arise, the first new, major Japanese fantasy role-playing game to appear on the latest generation of consoles, is… a lot