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The 5 Best Deathloop Abilities

After several delays, Bethesda's "Deathloop" finally released as a PS5 and PC timed exclusive in September 2021. The game received mostly favorable reviews from critics, but confused some players. After all, how are gamers supposed to play a title from Arkane Studios without the ability to quicksave? After adapting to the saving mechanics in "Deathloop," and fully giving in to its timey-wimey plotline, gamers might find themselves ready to delve into the deeper details of the game, like strategy. Every good strategist needs tools, and in "Deathloop" those tools happen to be Abilities, or powers that help players navigate the harsh landscape of Blackreef.

"Deathloop" features two different kinds of Abilities, those that are inherent to specific characters and those that can be swapped in and out at will. The game's protagonist, Colt Vahn, uses Reprise, an ability that allows him to retreat backward in time and save himself from certain death. Meanwhile, Colt's playful antagonist Julianna uses Masquerade, an Ability that transforms her into another person so she can hide in plain sight. Reprise and Masquerade are specific to Colt and Julianna, and cannot be used by other characters in the game.

Other Abilities exist in the form of Slabs, pieces of metal that can be worn and used by a variety of characters, including Colt and Julianna, but not limited to them. Here are the best Abilities in "Deathloop."

Havoc

Havoc allows Colt to instantly become stronger and deal more damage while simultaneously taking less damage. In other words, it can turn Colt into a killing machine. Some gamers claim Havoc is "extremely OP," as it allows Colt to become almost unstoppable, especially considering its four possible upgrades.

Havoc's upgrades consider what Colt will be doing while it's active: throwing blows. One of the upgrades allows Havoc to recharge energy when harming enemies, while another allows Colt to do more damage when enemies attack him. This Ability rewards players that like to get up close and personal with the game's endless Eternalists, which only want to defeat Colt, even at the cost of their own repeating lives.

One gamer explained what makes Havoc one of the best Abilities in the game, saying, "There's no real countering it, you just have to run away because you can't outplay someone who does way more damage and has way more health." When used correctly, Havoc turns players into unstoppable rage machines, capable of extreme damage output.

Colt can swipe Havoc's slab from Fia Zborowska, Blackreef's resident artist, in her underground bunker at Fristad Rock. That is, if they can get to Fia before she blows them out of the timeline.

Karnesis

Aleksis Dorsey loves to party. In fact, he lives each day in the Loop getting ready for a big, cannibalistic shindig in the evening. It makes sense, then, that his Slab grants Karnesis, one of the most chaotic Abilities in "Deathloop." Karnesis allows the player to lob enemies through the air, sometimes at random, sometimes in a given direction. The Ability doesn't hurt enemies, per se, but if they happen to fall from a height, they'll receive damage as they normally would. Additionally, the confusion caused from suddenly flying through the air has the potential to break up stressful battles and give players a chance to gather their wits.

Karnesis' upgrades have the potential to flavor the Ability in several ways. For example, the Flesh Bomb upgrade allows players to use Karnesis to turn enemies into bombs that explode upon impact. On the less destructive side, Suspension makes enemies under the sway of Karnesis float in the air, unable to move. Players can tailor Karnesis to their own combat preferences, making it the perfect tool to take into the Loop.

Nexus

Some players prefer strategy to blind violence. The Nexus Ability acts as a chance for players to strategize attacks by linking together enemies' bodies through a connection in their minds. When Nexus is activated, players can connect enemies together, so that if one gets hurt (or dies), the same effect happens to each enemy. The Ability has great potential, if players know how to use it.

Gamers might recognize Nexus from its appearance in another Arkane Studios title, "Dishonored 2," where it appeared under the name "Domino." One player welcomed the return of Domino under its new name, explaining that it was one of their favorite powers in "Dishonored 2." In "Deathloop," however, Nexus has a greater potential for customization, as players can upgrade it to achieve different effects. For those with bad aim, Attraction can make the Nexus effect target-seeking, while Parasite gives players health for damaging enemies under the Nexus effect.

Players can start linking up baddies after getting Nexus from Harriet Morse, one of the most secretive Visionaries in Blackreef.

Shift

The Shift Ability is the perfect example of improving upon perfection. Arkane Studios took the Blink power from "Dishonored" and gave players the chance to upgrade it into an even more powerful skill. Shift, like Blink, gives players the ability to move forward at a rapid, almost instantaneous speed. Essentially, it's short-range teleport, and it's perfect for getting out of sticky situations or sneaking up on an unsuspecting enemy for a stealth kill.

While players can upgrade Shift to propel them farther and faster, one of the most devastating changes to the ability is Dropkick, which damages enemies while teleporting. For tactical masterminds, the Swapper upgrade allows players to trade places with an unsuspecting enemy. Swapper could allow players to infiltrate a dangerous area, or confuse enemies guarding a specific item. Either, way the possibilities are endless.

Some gamers think that Shift is one of the most vital abilities in "Deathloop," with one player calling it "essential." Unlike Nexus or Havoc, which require enemies to be truly useful, Shift is versatile in and out of combat. 

Aether

While it's fun to power through "Deathloop" as a hacking, slashing, machete-wielding terror, the game also invites stealth runs, and provides ways for players to progress without harming a fly. The Aether Ability is a big part of that, as it grants gamers the chance to be invisible. Well, almost invisible.

Aether makes the user nearly invisible, and the effect is more beneficial when stationary. When moving, users take on a faint purple glow that's not immediately visible, but recognizable all the same. Getting close to an enemy breaks the illusion, as does doing damage.

By upgrading Aether, players can get even more stealthy. The Erase upgrade allows users to kill without leaving a trace, erasing the corpse (or shadow of the corpse) from the map. The Ghost upgrade makes lets players use Aether for free when standing still, making lying in wait a breeze. Since Aether doesn't use power while Ghost is activated, players can hang out, invisible, while waiting for enemies to clear a room or turn the other way.