You just know that from the start Deathverse: Let It Die becomes a journey. It begins with a huge, colorful, swinging show tune that announces the game’s intent as a funky Death Jamboree. It’s a blast and worth the storage space just to hear it. And the game could be, for the most part, too, barring a few pretty egregious missteps.
super tricks Deathverse has an uncomplicated premise in surreal attire; On paper, it’s a pretty standard multiplayer battle royale where 16 players fight to the death on a shrinking battlefield. death verses, however, is set after a cataclysmic event, made worse by a playful Grim Reaper detailed in the spiritual prequel let it die
Now, hundreds of years in the future, humanity has fully embraced its weird side and revels in the launch of an ultra-violent reality show called Death Jamboree, in which 16 contestants will – you guessed it – fight to the death on a shrinking battlefield.
This plays into the language surrounding the mechanics of the game. You earn Good Points (GP) from the show’s audience by being entertaining (brutal and gory in other words), and GP is your main source of healing and stat boosts in the game. GP is the metric by which you are rated at Death Jamboree, and the more the audience likes you, the higher it climbs and with it your health.
starting Deathverse, you’re quickly thrown into the Crazy Violent Basic training program led by Uncle D2 – a little flying robot shaped like a skull. He graciously guides you through the combat mechanics and introduces you to your very own little flying robot – the Wilson device. The Wilson device serves as a faithful companion and useful multi-tool in navigating this world; It’s your weapon, shield, scanner and abilities all rolled into one. And if the Wilson gets hit (e.g. if an enemy breaks through your shield) it will also affect your offensive ability.
The fight itself certainly has a few cues from that souls Franchise – all shoulder buttons to grab and what-have-you – which is easily forgotten as a relatively recent design decision. However, it differs in a few key ways; There is no blocking or parrying, and playing offense almost all of the time is actively encouraged here. As your attacks generate GP and you heal, the result is an interesting tug-of-war dynamic. This means it’s never too late to win, and even when you’re down, a few well-placed punches can quickly turn a fight in your favor.
After the training is done, you can enter one of the two modes of the game – ranking or exhibition. Apart from the ranking system, they are basically the same; both set on the island of Bonuriki, a decent-sized stage divided into seven zones, each with a different feel and layout.
Show hosts Bryan Zemeckis and Queen B will announce the arrival of you and your fellow players, and you’re in. Then it’s time to apply this short tutorial and give it a try come out above.
Matches play out in a familiar manner. You spawn with some air to breathe, allowing you to grab a sub-skill (usually explosives, debuffs, or distraction techniques) and some charge from a power pod for your main skill. These are specific to the weapon you choose, and there are currently five categories, each with three variations consisting of a machete, katana, hammer, mechanical weapons, and circular saw.
These weapons are unlocked by craft, and they feel great to play with as they offer a wealth of options to suit your playstyle. The katana is fast, has high damage output, and has some flashy deathblows (special moves) in its repertoire. However, if you really want to raise people, the circular saw gives you a lot of mobility and can be extremely difficult to break.
There’s also a light PvE element to the Death Jamboree, as little monsters known as cryptids roam the stage – easy prey for some bonus GP and some crafting materials. However, the other AI enemy, the hunter, is a much scarier proposition. They are summoned by the hosts with the express intention of ruining your day, and if you don’t turn and run at first sight of them, they will succeed. The Hunter is immortal and will rip a fighter apart with just a few attacks, although it will mercifully retreat after a moment or two.
All of this chaos unfolds as the island’s contaminant, SPLithium (yes, that’s what it’s really called), rolls in, crowding the remaining players closer until only one remains. Although I said that the comparison to dark souls’ The combat was just so deep that the whole gameplay is reminiscent of a more light-hearted version of the invasion system in those games. Players are out to stunt you. I’ve even pushed someone off the stage when they thought they were going to be sure to harvest materials – and that speaks to the game’s greatest strength; It’s silly but a real joy to be with from moment to moment.
And yes, there is Jank – Deathverse is clearly an AA budget game at best. A particularly strange moment is when a game ends and the winner is silently interviewed by one of the hosts. Let’s hear from our champion they say and we hear nothing.
Despite what I like about the game, Battle Royales live and die through their social aspect and Deathverse it really doesn’t do you any favours. As it stands, the only way to play with friends is to host a private room, a feature that is behind the top-tier Jamboree Pass (Deathverses Battle Pass equivalent) at a cost of around $30 for the player.
There’s a small saving grace in that you don’t need to have this tier, or indeed none, of the Jamboree Pass to join a room, but consider the following scenario: Four friends want to play together and one buys the Platinum Jamboree Pass. Said friend leaves after an hour. The remaining members of the group must now either go their separate ways, or one of them must now also spend three hours of the average worker’s wages to continue as a group. All this for a feature that is free in literally every other example of the genre. Also, a really confusing aspect of this is that established groups of friends are unlikely to even try the game for this very reason.
One hopes that this will be pushed back fairly quickly if Deathverse wants to outlast its roadmap – which it needs to, because at launch it feels pretty bare-bones with just one map, one hunter, and five weapon types. And to be clear, I want the game to be successful – it has some interesting things in the pipeline, including a feature where random games will stream to the developer’s official Twitch channel in some sort of metagame replica Deathverses Premise. But as it stands, it’s very hard to recommend it to your friends.
Deathverse: Let It Die Review – The Verdict
- Really fun to play.
- Short and snappy matches give it a really grumpy, go-ahead quality.
- The whole Mood the thing.
- Matchmaking with friends behind the most expensive Battle Pass.
- Missing launch content.
- Virtually no cosmetic customization options for free players.
Deathverse is a game of two conflicting halves; The psychedelic presentation and anarchic spirit of this contender for the battle royale throne is coupled with one of the worst monetizations in any game in recent memory. If you’re one of those gamers who don’t mind the social aspect of multiplayer games, you’ll have a lot of fun here – and it looks like it’s only going to get better.
But from the looks of it, the lack of content and paywall parties means that as someone who values moments of human interaction more than most other facets of the genre, I won’t be making this journey again anytime soon.
[Note: The free PlayStation 5 version of Deathverse: Let It Die was used for this review.]