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Deathverse: Let it Die review — a game I love, doomed to the niche

Deathverse: Let it Die is a weird, wacky, wonderful game. You might hate it.

Deathverse: Let it Die is a brand of bizarre that has been sorely lacking from the battle royale genre, let’s start with that. It’s clunky, ultra-violent, flashy, and unconventional. It’s a game that many will find – and likely have found already – visually unappealing. But for me it’s a delicacy to gorge on — oozing a distinct character. I, in spite of its obvious flaws, like Deathverse: Let it Die. I like it a lot.

Coming hot from the minds over at Supertrick Games, Deathverse: Let it Die is a third-person action battle royale where a gaggle of bloodthirsty players battle it out on a pentagonal archipelago of post-apocalyptic islands. Over time, these sections are cut off the playing field, forcing everyone left alive to jump onto a singular arena where they must bust out the moves to claim the top prize. It’s classic battle royale goodness, packaged within a hopeless future television death game where competitors clash for swagger and glory rather than just survival.

You can watch an official gameplay explainer here!

The aspect of Deathverse: Let it Die that smacks you immediately is a toxic cocktail of world, tone, and humour that mix into a devilish drink: a Bloody Mary with actual blood. You’re greeted by two gold-plated presenters of the Death Jamboree, who instil in your the importance of fighting with style and taking out other players with as much pizzaz as possible. This reflects in the core gameplay of Deathverse — as taking out enemies with flamboyancy and dashing from fight-to-fight rather, than surviving conservatively, is what enhances your combat potential.

This is all done through your performance metre — GP — which acts as your health tracker as well as a sign of how flashily you’re playing. Can you increase it by taking out cryptids hidden around the map and waiting mushrooms that make you throw up or hallucinate? You sure could, and should if you find yourself in a lull between battles. But the game very strongly pushes you towards tracking down other players and f**king them up — the game even marks fights on the map which almost guarantees a one-on-one brawl won't remain so for long.

Instead of throwing out punches or kicks, you are equipped with one of a variety of gnarly weapons, all of which with have unique attacks and quirks that set them apart from the rest of the arsenal. We’re talking giant steampunk hammers, samurai swords, mechanical fists, and duel buzzsaws that each have different light and heavy attacks that you’ll need to learn. Within these archetypes, different varieties have different perks that slightly alter the way you approach battles.

I personally had a lot of fun with the buzzsaws, which whirl and deal semi-consistent damage via a string of regular attacks that (when landed on a caught-out player) can really slice through their HP. Now, they can block these attacks, but delaying the string, as well as weaving in the occasional heavy attack or weapon skill, allowed me to surprise people to devastating effect. If this sounds a bit like a fighting game, it does kind of have that feel about it. In Let it Die, a purely PvE experience, this aspect of the action didn’t really shine. But in the the wholly multiplayer extravaganza that is Deathverse, some of the more intricate components of the game’s foundation show their fangs.

A player-on-player kill in Deathverse: Let it Die
You can get pretty stylish with the weapons in Deathverse.

Away from the action, there’s fairly decent character customisation which allows you to personalise your avatar as you’d expect. This is mostly done through your clothing — which can be changed to a vast wardrobe of industrial, post apocalyptic, or high fashion attire. If you like the general aesthetic of Deathverse, you’ll find some drip to your tastes here sooner or later. But if you’re looking for some traditional, run-of-the-mill sim gear you’ll likely walk away disappointed. It’s just not that kind of game — everything is tied to the particular, horrible world you find yourself in.

There’s also a crafting system, which acts as your primary method of obtaining new weapons and forces you to go out in the world and collect resources while surviving the onslaught of incoming players. You can typically find them in boxes or scattered around the world, or via bonus packages, but either way I never found it too distracting or frustrating to acquire the pieces I needed.

It’s worth noting that I didn’t spend too much time crafting and hunting for resources, so this may prove increasingly grating as rarer and rarer obtainables are required. I’m also not convinced that levelling up weapons as the core progression system will be particularly exciting in the long run, but again due to the limited play time available pre-launch, I can’t comment on the longevity excitedly powering up gear has.

The character creation screen in Deathverse: Let it Die
Aside from weapons, a range of outfits can be bought and worn.

It does suck that a lot of the story and characters in the previous game seem to be totally absent. It's set in the same world, yes – but only visually. Uncle Death may be in the background but not in a capacity that matters, nor are any of the other tertiary characters that players grew to love. There was something about the Tower in Let it Die, as well as the arcade hub you'd return to after every run, that drew me in. That is tragically absent here, unless the game is hiding that juiciness behind some unclear milestone or rare easter egg.

Deathverse: Let it Die is a lot of fun, plainly put. But what does the future hold for the title? It is, after all, a newcomer in the even gorier splatterfest that is live service, which means not only will it have to make its way through other newcomers, but convince fans of long-standing favourites to give it a try. It’s here that the distinct look and tone threaded throughout Deathverse comes in clutch as a major positive, as while it may immediately put some people off, it does like significantly different from the waves of military FPS titles and cartoonish battle royale titles. There’s nothing out there quite as weird as Deathverse, which means if you’re bored of picking up an AK47 and rushing away from a big gaseous circle, it’s a fresh experience.

It also has a nice amount of future content – dodging the Halo Infinite problem with numerous new modes, weapons and more in the coming months. There will be new seasons, and with new seasons comes new cosmetics you can buy. It’s not core to the experience by any means, and it’s a far less sour sell than the monetization that managed to keep Let it Die alive for years after its launch, a flow of crinkled cash seeping into it through tubes and pipes past its prime.

I’m worried that the game hasn’t been marketed nearly enough – in fact I don’t think I’ve seen any ads for it since the game’s announcement in a Sony State of Play months ago. The only chance the public got to play the game was an all-too-brief beta weekend, which had me and curious others staying up past midnight for a few hours of sleep-deprived fun. This is the sort of game that I doubt is going to take the industry by storm, simply due to its subversive-at-any-cost nature, but even so I expect it to sneakily impress people. Existing for free on the PlayStation store as a welcome surprise for adventurous browsers.

The season 1 roadmap in Deathverse: Let it Die
For those who stick around, there is some cool stuff to look forward to.

All in all the game is a blast. It is a bit janky, and very much a love it or hate it ordeal. Some of you will bounce off it in a few games, and some of you will get a giggle out of how explosively violent it can be. Fans of Let it Die bizzarely are in the same boat, and their love will depend greatly on their infactuation with the general gameplay experience. It strikes me as a game made by people who wanted to create something distinct for the sake of variety in a popular genre saturated with familiar traits. People who are probably fun to drink with. Not much about Deathverse: Let it Die is familiar, and it’s free. So like, try it out!

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