If you’re a fan of Dishonored, or time loop screen experiences such as Groundhog Day and 1967 TV series The Prisoner, then take a look at Deathloop. Take a look at Deathloop…
Developed by Arkane Studios (the people behind Prey and the Dishonored series), Deathloop has players repeating the same day over and over on a mysterious island known as Blackreef. You play as a character known simply as Colt, who wakes up on a beach with no memory of who he is, where he is or what’s going on. The only thing that guides him is strange projected text that guides his way and provides hints, and the knowledge that he needs to find a way to break the time loop.
After a strange yet entertaining introduction, we learn that Colt was a key member of the army base at Blackreef and is being hunted by someone known as Julianna, who wants to protect the time loop at all costs. Colt, of course, being stuck on the island repeating the same day over and over aims to break the loop and escape. However, it’s not such an easy task, as Colt only has a full day to find and eliminate key targets in order to achieve his goal. All while avoiding enemies searching for him, turrets, dangerous environments and, of course, Julianna hunting you down.
“If you’ve played Dishonored, then Deathloop will feel right at home…”
If you’ve played Dishonored, then Deathloop will feel right at home, as just like in Dishonored, you can basically play how you want to play. You can choose to go in loud, sneak and avoid enemies, or sneak up behind enemies and quietly take them out in fairly brutal fashion, treating necks like bottle tops. It’s a lot more challenging to go in loud in Deathloop, as Colt isn’t the Doomslayer or B.J. Blazkowicz and will go down after a couple of rounds.
However, Colt has some advantages. Before setting out into an area of Blackreef, you can decide what weapons you want to arm him with. Some rare and exotic weapons will have special abilities, such as being able to turn two pistols into a SMG, or a silent nail gun that fires explosive nails. Colt can also rewind, a bit like how the sands of time worked in Prince of Persia any time he dies.
If Colt loses all of his health, he’ll rewind to a safe point and resurrect invisibly, to avoid any damage or enemies. Colt can do this twice and, should he die a third time, will restart the day back at its beginning. So, if Colt dies when about to break the loop at night time without any rewinds, he’ll be right back at the start of the morning’s time loop. Colt can also equip multiple buffs and special abilities like a shortrange teleport (the same ability that’s used in Dishonored), or being able to turn invisible.
To throw another spanner in the works, Julianna can enter the game and hunt you down. This can either be AI, or another player! When Julianna enters the game, the exits to the area that Colt uses to move between zones are locked. Colt needs to unlock the doors by hacking a remote terminal with a hacking device (named The Hackamajig) and avoid or take out Julianna.
Playing as Colt, it’s usually rather nerve wracking when Julianna enters the game, as a popup onscreen announces that she’s on the hunt. If you decide to sneak and hack the doors open, Julianna will be alerted when the exits are unlocked. At least she only needs to be killed once, while Colt has his rewind lives. Should Colt take out Julianna, you can pick up and keep her weapons and abilities. Thankfully you can turn off the Julianna incursions should they be doing your head in.
If playing as Julianna, you simply need to find and take out Colt and protect the loop. Enemies of Colt work with Julianna, and she can even disguise herself as a standard enemy. If Colt gets into firefights with standard enemies, Julianna will be notified of Colt’s last known location. When Julianna takes out Colt enough times to exhaust his rewinds, you’ve won and the level ends. Rewards are earned for playing as Julianna, with weapons, perks, abilities and even costumes for both Colt and Julianna (costumes cannot be purchased and are only unlocked by playing as Julianna).
Deathloop creates an incredible world in both its graphics, music and general design.”
Deathloop may get a bit frustrating for some players. Its gameplay loop is very similar to that of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, where you repeat a single day several times, and with Julianna out to get you in some areas, it can be frustrating dying on a main story point and having to restart. Deathloop doesn’t have any difficulty settings, so you really need to work and level up Colt’s abilities in order to survive. Finally, it’s also easy to get lost and confused with what your next objective or mission is. As you’re hunting down and taking out multiple targets over the course of a repeating day, Deathloop doesn’t hold players hands in broadcasting what task they should be doing next.
Deathloop creates an incredible world in both its graphics, music and general design. The time era is similar to that of Pixar’s The Incredibles, with retro-future tech stylings. While the gameplay is repetitive (after all, you are caught in a time loop), there are multiple ways to attack levels. Depending on what time of day it is, the weather can change, or a fireworks party might be taking place, causing everyone on Blackreef to attend.
If you loved Dishonored or Majora’s Mask, and the stylings of We Happy Few, then Deathloop is definitely worth your time. There are puzzles that properly challenge, and the characters and world are hilariously charming.
Deathloop is available now on PS5 and PC.