The future is hard to predict, but there are some certainties, greed, violence and death will still blight humanity. Coincidentally, no matter how honest you are, or how good you try to be, you’ll always be dragged down. Accordingly, you may as well take your slice of the pie as you try to take down “the man”. This is exactly what happens in Deadlink. It’s a brutal and futuristic game that proves honesty and goodness never pay.
Developed by Gruby Entertainment and published by SuperGG.com, this is a futuristic FPS with rogue-lite elements. What’s more, it is in Early Access and surprisingly it works almost flawlessly with the Steam Deck platform. As such, it is an amazing casual game that you can play at home or on the move.
Deadlink is a brutal story in a virtual world.
Working as a secret agent should have its perks. However, dying and respawning repeatedly wouldn’t be high on my agenda. Yet, this is exactly what happens to the hero in Deadlink. This agency soldier enters a deadly world via a secret gadget known as the Deadlink Project. This neural connection allows soldiers to pilot an empty combat shell. Here, they will test its abilities in an urban fighting situation. However, once it is destroyed, the connection is lost and the only thing that remains is the tokens or credits that have been collected.
This is Deadlink in a nutshell! It is a fast-paced title about destruction, loss, and starting again. The vicious cycle may seem tedious, but the brutal and hectic gameplay is undeniably hard to put down. Furthermore, the more you progress, the bigger the weapons become, and the more rewarding the results are. However, this comes at a cost as your enemies also become harder, faster, and much more aggressive. Subsequently, a tough game gets a little harder, still.
Deadlink focuses on arena-based combat with permanent and temporary upgrades. Whenever you are “linked in”, your rewards, improvements, and upgrades are all temporary. Accordingly, this is where the rogue-lite elements come into play. Furthermore, a procedurally generated world ensures that no playthrough is ever the same. Yes, you may encounter the same opponents, and they are likely to kick your ass relentlessly. However, with a unique environment, you can manipulate your surroundings, blow up explosives, jump to dizzying heights, and get the upper hand.
Alongside this, there are unlockable classes and permanent upgrades to buy. The classes, or “experimental shells”, give you unique abilities and a fresh load out. As such, this changes your approach considerably and adapts your strengths and weaknesses. Yet, the permanent upgrades are the real game-changer. These make you faster, stronger, and more resilient. Moreover, they open unique challenges to improve your loot and make each playthrough more worthwhile.
Deadlink has some performance issues.
Mechanically, Deadlink is exceptional. I loved the gameplay, the learning curve, and the brutal but balanced approach. Sadly, though, its visual performance didn’t reach this standard. On both PC and Steam Deck, this game hangs and stutters under extreme pressure. Alongside this, there are frame rate issues, and you can “ghost” through certain items. However, when it plays well, it looks and feels amazing. I adored the cyberpunk style, the vivid neon and the rich purples. Accordingly, it looked stereotypically futuristic, and that was fine by me. On top of this, your enemies look great and there is plenty of variety to keep things interesting.
What was also impressive was the thumping soundtrack. The aggressive music combined with the ear-ringing sound effects were something to behold. Subsequently, every layer of it was obnoxious and overbearing, but this mattered not. Why? Because it worked perfectly with the action while enhancing the drama and danger of each playthrough.
It’s easier to handle with a controller.
Deadlink has a considered control layout and was remarkably easy to pick up. However, I found it much easier to play on Steam Deck or with a controller. For unknown reasons, it felt more intuitive, and the action felt better. Yet, if you play with a mouse and keyboard, you’ll equally enjoy it thanks to the intelligent mapping and responsive inputs.
Because of its core concept, this game oozes replay value and longevity. Furthermore, it can be enjoyed casually as well. I adored the minor tactical tweaks and the procedurally generated stages. As such, I never knew what to expect, and this kept me on my toes.
Deadlink is great, but it needs some refining.
Overall, Deadlink is an incredible title. It’s tough, enjoyable, addictive and wonderfully casual as well. However, the performance issues undermine all this potential. Consequently, it needs some refining to get the best out of it. Yet, as it is, I loved it and I recommend you buy it here! Can you pilot the combat shell and master each situation? Upgrade your equipment, know your foes, and survive for as long as possible.