Update: Deathloop makes a compelling case to choose the PS5 over the Xbox Series X.
I’ve been anxiously awaiting Deathloop for well over a year. My excitement built as I realized that it could be the PS5 exclusive for me. And so far, I haven't been disappointed.
While I have a more positive perspective on Deathloop than my colleague Marshall Honorof, whose criticisms are perfectly justified, I’ve yet to complete the game. But one thing has become apparent: the PS5 is the best place to play Deathloop, even though it’s also available on PC.
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Now, before PC players rush to the comments, I know how the superior hardware of gaming PCs allows for higher-fidelity graphics. But I’d also argue that Deathloop’s strong art direction and sense of style mean that it still looks great without ray tracing and super-sharp textures. But the overall experience of Deathloop, at least at launch, is best on the PS5. Allow me to explain.
Marshall played Dealthloop on a powerful PC with the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series graphics tech, yet still reported that there were stability issues with Deathloop. This has been true for other players as well, to the extent that developer Arkane is now looking into the PC version’s issues.
On the other hand, my experience on the PS5 has been very smooth. There were two occasions where the game froze, but a PS5 update going on in the background was probably the culprit. Otherwise, it’s all been smooth sailing at 60 frames per second, with dynamic resolution scaling used to maintain the frame rate. However, shifts in resolution aren't really noticeable, given the fast pace of Deathloop.
I’m a PC gamer at heart, and thus love diving into graphics settings. But there was something lovely about simply booting up Deathloop on the PS5, with its speedy SSD, and starting the game without needing to mess with various options to balance graphics against frame rate. Yes, the PS5 does offer two extra graphics modes to boost the game’s fidelity, and add ray tracing into the mix at the expense of frame rate. But I found Deathloop's 60 fps default mode on the PS5 to be ideal.
Being able to drop into a fast-paced action game, rather than digging around in menus, was a joy. Of course, that’s the advantage of console gaming in general. But in this case, it makes Deathloop feel like Arkane developed it with the PS5 in mind.
Speaking of feeling, the integration of the DualSense controller’s advanced haptics in Deathloop is great. The feedback when running along different surfaces feels engaging without being distracting, a complaint I’ve had previously about the DualSense. Arkane implemented a different feel for each gun, conveyed through the DualSense’s adaptive triggers.
Colt's signature kick, which requires a simple tap of the right thumbstick, not only allows you to boot adversaries all over the place, but also feels very satisfying on the slightly chunky DualSense. There’s a satisfying click from the controller that maps nicely to the weighty in-game attack.
Of course, all these haptics are available on the PC version of Deathloop, thanks to DualSense support. But that requires you to either own a PS5, or have bought a separate DualSense controller. Finding a PS5 restock remains a nightmarish task.
Also, with the PS5 version, the radio conversions with Colt’s rival Julianna Blake are piped through the DualSense’s built-in speaker. This has a crackly effect that neatly conveys the feeling of a radio chat for added immersion. Unfortunately, this feature isn’t available on the PC version of Deathloop. That omission makes the PS5 the machine to play it on, if you want to squeeze out every drop of immersion.
However, I mostly play PS5 games with the Pulse 3D wireless headset to take advantage of the Tempest 3D AudioTech baked into the PS5. And I feel that’s another reason to play Deathloop on Sony’s games console.
The use of sound and music in Deathloop is superb, with subtle sounds allowing you to track enemies, and a frenetic '60s-inspired soundtrack that kicks into gear when the bullets start flying and Colt’s machete starts swinging.
Now, Windows PCs have 3D audio support, but it’s not the same as being able to tap into Sony’s proprietary sound tech. I also use my much-loved Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones with the PS5, which can make use of the Tempest 3D Audio engine. But I feel that the best audio experience still comes from the Pulse 3D wireless headset, which Sony obviously made for gaming, as opposed to music and general audio.
All of the reasons help explain why you should play Deathloop on the PS5. That might change, once Bethesda irons out stability issues on the PC, as has been the case with other Arkane games. And I’d still be keen to play Deathloop with the precision of a mouse and keyboard.
But as it stands, if you are lucky enough to have the choice between platforms, I’d advise you first play Deathloop on Sony’s machine — even if it’s a big, bulky, brute of a console.