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The One Place Deathloop Is Getting Review Bombed

After being delayed more than once, the PS5 and PC exclusive "Deathloop" is finally here. For the most part, critics gave glowing reviews of the time-loop-themed shooter from Arkane Studios, but that doesn't guarantee a certain reaction from gamers themselves. While Deathloop seems to be garnering favorable reviews from fans as well, there's one place where users are dragging the game for poor performance issues.

Reviews on Steam are decidedly mixed. While about 60% of users gave "Deathloop" a thumbs up, the ratio of bad reviews didn't reflect the brilliant words from so many critics. Reading a few statements from users illuminates one important difference between the experience many reviewers had and gamers' playthroughs.

Many professional reviews of "Deathloop" were based on the PS5 version of the game, but gamers on Steam experienced a whole different version of the game on PC, with its own quirks and glitches. Many of the users on Steam reported that "Deathloop" simply doesn't work on many PCs. One gamer — who gave "Deathloop" a favorable review despite issues — said, "I won't give the game a bad score as I believe all the performance issues are down to DENUVO. I have a 2080ti, 32gb ram and a ryzen 2700x and have micro stutters and frame dips." So there you have it, a true culprit for the issues on PC. Denuvo has many gamers scratching their heads in frustration, but what is it?

What's the deal with Denuvo?

Denuvo is an antipiracy software many developers use to prevent gamers from tampering with games' code. While that mission is fine, the software often requires a significant amount of bandwidth to run, which stresses gamers' PCs and causes issues. Most of the negative reviews for "Deathloop" on Steam have to do with anti-piracy software instead of the game itself.

One reviewer explained the situation simply by saying, "The game stutters. It does so because your computer is not strong enough to run both the game and the anti piracy at the same time." Of course, other PC users swooped in to say that the first reviewer's gaming rig wasn't powerful enough or to say that they didn't experience any issues, but hundreds of negative reviews can't be a coincidence. On Twitter, a different player noted that "Prey," another Arkane game, had similar issues that were resolved once the developer removed Denuvo, lending even more support for the true culprit behind the game's issues.

Almost every negative review (and many positive ones) mentioned Denuvo and its unnecessary taxation on PCs. One player pointed out that "Deathloop runs on Dishonored 2's engine which, while gorgeous, has ridiculously nigh unplayable microstuttering due to how it processes mouse movements and framerate." In other words, the framerate lags and stuttering that users experienced could be because of Arkane's engine, not Denuvo.

Regardless of what part of "Deathloop" is responsible for performance issues, gamers on Steam feel upset enough to leave negative reviews for what they say is otherwise a brilliant game.