DEATHLOOP – Official Story Trailer: Down the Rabbit Hole
Who it Caters to
Deathloop, a first-person shooter with stealth and melee options, is Arkane Games' latest creation—you probably remember them as the developers behind Dishonored and Prey. But this is no regular FPS, though; Deathloop may feel familiar, yet the core mechanic is a fresh take on time loops à la Groundhog Day. It's an interesting premise, and regardless of repetitiveness, it just works. Honestly, if you like exploration, puzzles, PvP, and shooter games like Far Cry, you will love this one!
What to Expect
As stated before, Deathloop combines FPS mechanics with a lot of puzzles and exploration. Since the main focus of the game are time loops, you are forced to explore the very same maps over and over again and kill all 8 bosses more than once. Yes, it definitely sounds like a boring idea, forcing you to repeat everything you do—the truth is, Deathloop is a rollercoaster of emotions, and it's everything but boring!
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As it always happens with new releases, Deathloop looks fantastic on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and beefy PCs. We love the sixties-inspired character design and the overall aesthetics, but the whole thing is a visual spectacle. Unfortunately, not everyone will experience the same. PS4 and Xbox One, for obvious reasons, offer a slightly less satisfactory version of it, and PC gamers with budget rigs may encounter several performance issues thanks to Denuvo.
One of the categories where Deathloop truly shines, other than the gameplay, is the dialogue. Interacting with Julianna, the protagonist's nemesis, is both funny and enlightening since she's the one who gives us the most clues about the game's lore. Sound cues in general are an integral part of the gameplay, and the SFX department is on point. The cherry on top has to be Deathloop's wondrous soundtrack, full of cheesy oldies you won't be able to kick out of your head.
Deathloop is all about the time loop. Colt, the male protagonist, is an amnesiac guy who must break the loop somehow. On the other hand, Julianna is hell-bent on stopping Colt at any cost, killing him—and his copies—as many times as it takes to protect the loop. Oh, but they're not alone. Blackreef, the archipelago serving as Deathloop's, is divided into 4 districts, and there you'll find your 8 objectives. Known as the Visionaries, they are the most influential people of Blackreef, and they all are connected to the loop, one way or another. Getting to them won't be easy, especially because they have a lot of followers, the Eternalists.
The only way to learn how the loop works, who created it (and why), as well as how to stop it, is to replay the same day several times, always learning something new and using time travel in your favor. The day is also divided into 4 sections: morning, noon, afternoon, and evening. Following whatever leads he has discovered, Colt can choose what district he visits and at what time of the day. Choosing the right combinations, Colt's goal is to gather valuable pieces of info while exploring new paths or solve puzzles that become accessible. By killing the Visionaries—again, only available at specific times and places—you can loot unique weapons, trinkets, and slabs.
The best thing about Deathloop is that all codes are randomly generated at the start of your adventure, so you can't just Google them or ask a friend how to open a door or unlock a safe. The only way for you to solve puzzles is to actually play!
Running around and killing masked cultists is fun on its own, and Visionaries are always challenging even after learning how to defeat them. Although Deathloop looks and feels like a first-person shooter, we loved taking the stealth route, killing people with the machete and using the silent Tribunàl for headshots.
Assassinating the Visionaries more than once is important because that's how you loot slabs and trinkets, which give you special abilities. Every Visionary has a unique slab and duplicates work as upgrades. Charlie Montague, for example, carries the Shift slab, and it allows you to teleport across short distances, while Fia Zborowska is the owner of the Havoc slab, which makes you stronger overall. The thing is, once the day is over (either because you finish the day or someone kills you), you lose all weapons, trinkets, and slabs... unless they are imbued with a substance called residuum.
After completing a couple of loops, you'll be able to gather residuum from downed enemies and random objects, using it to imbue your most valuable items and keep them in your inventory. As boring as it sounds, exploring the same place over and over again may lead to different outcomes depending on the time of day, but that's also how you gather intel and better weapons and upgrades to enlarge your arsenal. Thanks to Colt's Reprise slab, you can die up to 2 times before having to restart the day. If you get killed—or fall into the water, because we know video game characters can't swim—you'll be transported to a "checkpoint" several meters behind you. Before losing everything, you can always go back to the tunnels and escape the level, although that's easier said than done. The only way to replenish your Reprise counter is to kill Julianna, which brings us to PvP and a new game mode!
Julianna can randomly appear to hunt Colt, and that's always a problem. She's always wearing a random slab, so you never know what to expect. Also, she can hide in plain sight by disguising herself as an Eternalist. The first time you find Julianna, it's the AI, but if you switch to "online" or "friends only" mode, other players can invade your timeline as Julianna and hunt you.
By hunting Colt, you can rank up and unlock new costumes, so playing as Julianna is not (only) about ruining another player's experience. Thankfully, PvP is optional and even "friendly," so no need to worry about that.
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Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Deathloop is one of the best non-war shooter games we have played, but it's not perfect. Although it's basically an FPS, your trusty machete is so overpowered that there's no point in risking everything for a new weapon, unless you like attention. Another problem is the Eternalists' IA. Some enemies are so dumb they will run past you, clueless, almost begging for you to headshot them... and they rarely open doors, so it's not that hard to hide if you're being chased.
Yes, dying and losing everything is frustrating, but all items can be found again in the next loop. Still, once you imbue the weapons, trinkets, and slabs that fit your playstyle, completing the story is a breeze.
Extremely fun gameplay, from exploration to solving puzzles and killing thugs.
Dying may be frustrating, but it's an opportunity to try new weapons, new paths, and even new skills and tactics.
Enemy AI leaves much to be desired.
Too many performance issues and several crashes, thanks to Denuvo.
Honey's Final Verdict:
Not everyone will fancy Deathloop repetitiveness, but we found it refreshing and addictive enough to keep us busy for a couple of days. If you also want to help Colt break free of the time loop, or if you want to hunt other players as Julianna, Deathloop is already available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.