Deathloop has many similar elements to Arkane Studios’ previous games, especially its supernatural-centric gameplay. In Deathloop, the items that convey these powers are called slates – equippable powers held by Black Reef’s most dangerous citizens. These visionaries have different slabs on them, each giving you a whole new way to get around islands or engage enemies. They also both have tons of upgrades that expand their abilities in creative ways, which begs the question: which ones should you get?
In short: all of this, really. Unlike Shame, Deathloop narrows it down somewhat and limits the steps to just five variations. Considering you can only equip two at a time, that’s not a big deal, especially when you consider how many times each one has to level up to increase their effectiveness. Deathloop clearly explains where you can find each, but if you need a full explanation of each’s effects and potential upgrades, look no further.
It’s worth noting that while all of these slates are specific to certain visionaries, the Invading Juliana will always carry a random slate with her when she invades your game. If you manage to knock her down, you can gain new abilities or upgrades without needing to hunt down specific characters, which should motivate you to try and defeat invaders at least most of the time they appear.
Don’t forget to check out our Deathloop beginner tips to help you survive as long as possible in Blackreef.
This is arguably the most recognizable step in the Deathloop, and perfectly mimics Dishonor’s flashing abilities. Shift allows you to teleport small distances in any direction, making it a very versatile tool when you travel around Black Reef. It’s not just about moving around – clever use of Shift can turn things around in a tense firefight, confusing your enemies and giving you time to take out many of them before they can reconfigure their targets.
visionary: Charlie Montague
Place: Updaam at noon
- airborne: You can hover in mid-air while using Shift, allowing you to change direction.
- kick the ball: Kicking immediately after completing Shift will create a sonic boom, dealing area damage.
- arrival: Your Shift will be able to reach further.
- Exchanger: Immediately swap positions with the target enemy.
If teleporting around is effective for staying hidden, then ether is the perfect complement to it. Aether makes you nearly invisible (enemies will spot you when you’re very close), allowing you to easily slip around the area without being detected. Not only does it help you avoid the Eternals, but it bounces tripping mine lasers, allowing you to disarm them or trigger them violently without getting too close, alerting everyone around you. Aether’s upgrades help you expand its effects, while also allowing you to take out enemies and prevent them from leaving an ethereal stain, which is perfect for a full stealth game.
visionary: Egor Stirling
Place: Complex at night
- stage: Taking damage does not deactivate Aether.
- ghost: No energy is lost when standing still.
- erase: While activating Aether, enemies will not leave ethereal trails when killed.
- flicker: Attacks do not shut down ether.
Drawing on the power of Dishonored and its dominoes again, the Nexus tablet lets you connect multiple enemies together and let them share their fate. This means that if you kill an Eternalist associated with them, everyone associated with them will die at the same time. It’s a very powerful tool for stealth and full action games, allowing you to take down a group of enemies with a single bullet. This also helps to use the slab almost like a grenade throwing, allowing you to tie together enemies from a distance.
visionary: Harriet Morse
Place: Carl Bay in the morning
- influences: Enemies make new connections as they move around.
- parasite: You gain health from damage dealt to connected enemies.
- Attractions: The Nexus will target the enemy.
- extend: Energy consumption is slower when connecting enemies.
If the Deathloop is a high-power ride, then Karnesis is on top. It’s Black Reef’s Star Wars power boost, allowing you to pick up and throw enemies, making towering cliffs a new weapon you can use against unsuspecting Eternalists. With a few upgrades, you can get even more flashy with the remote-controlled flick of your hand, allowing you to knock enemies to the ground and push groups, rather than just a single target. Sadly, this only applies to human enemies, not items around the world, so keep that in mind.
visionary: Alexis Dorsey
Place: Updam in the evening
- Grand Slam: Knocks the enemy to the ground with a powerful slam.
- Area: Push multiple enemies at once.
If loud and loud is your preferred gaming style, the Havoc will be an irreplaceable tablet in your inventory. It’s the only game that wholeheartedly celebrates massive firefights that boost your damage and reduce the damage you take. Upgrading only improves this, lowering the energy drain rate and letting you extend the effect by dealing damage.
visionary: Fia Zborowska
Place Frista Rock at noon
- rebound: Unleashes a powerful destructive explosion at the end of the Havoc.
- quit: Restores energy by dealing damage to the enemy.
- Euphoria: The more damage you take, the more damage you do.
- fortress: Taking damage no longer drains energy faster.
Which slabs should you get first?
You can think of Deathloop’s steps like Mega Man abilities: you can get them in any order, but that order may make some future encounters easier or harder, depending on your choice. Since you can only bring two plates into an area at a time, these decisions are nowhere near as durable as in the Mega Man example and become non-existent once you inject each plate, but you should focus on some first.
Perhaps the easiest suggestion is Shift. This is an integral step that allows you to explore each area of Black Reef more freely, discovering new entrances to important areas or shortcuts to the underground tunnels that connect each area. When it’s not included in your gear, you’ll find yourself missing out on a skill, as the wide freedom of movement it offers changes the way you think about approaching every encounter in front of you. If it’s not your first choice, grab it early and keep looking for it for all your upgrades.
Another good board to get early on is the Nexus, mostly because it complements all styles of gameplay. Being able to tie enemies together allows for a quick and efficient covert run through the area, saving time and ammo when you’re heading to the visionary. It’s also easy to use on enemies in front of you in the heat of battle, allowing you to take out dozens of enemies with just a single bullet. Influence is also probably the best upgrade the Nexus has gotten, letting already-linked enemies create new connections as they move around the area, while Attraction will help you target you during frantic firefights.
If you’re looking for more information on Deathloop, be sure to check out our 10 essential tips for getting started with Colt and Black Key. You can also dive into our 10/10 Deathloop review to see why Arkane’s latest is one of its best and a serious contender for GOTY.
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