- May 18, 2021
The game is a never ending chaotic party.
Deathloop is a simple game.
At least, that's what I was thinking one hour into my five-hour preview of Arkane Studio's upcoming blockbuster. The premise seems easy enough: You're stuck in a time loop, and to break it you need to eliminate eight targets, called the "Visionaries," in one day. Like I said, simple, right?
It wasn't until I got to the door that leads me to my first victim that I realized maybe this game isn't so simple at all. I completely missed something in a previous loop that I now realized was essential to get through the door. That's when it hit me that this daring action game is also one big puzzle.
This scratches the itch that Dishonored couldn't quite reach.
As you've heard a dozen times by now, Deathloop very much feels like fellow immersive sim Dishonored. But here's the thing—I didn't like Dishonored. I really wanted to, I loved the idea of it, but for whatever reason the game and I just never clicked. So I was mildly apprehensive when I landed in Blackreef with Colt, Deathloop's trapped-in-a-time-loop hero: because I've thoroughly enjoyed the trailers, the off-hands preview, everything about this game has been begging me to play it. Would I fall into the same trap I did with Arkane's earlier immersive sims?
In the letter that accompanied my preview version of Deathloop, the first thing game director Dinga Bakaba wrote was, “Deathloop is a strange game.” While I wouldn’t disagree with him – Deathloop is, delightfully, anything but your average first-person shooter – I’d also say, with compliments, that it is the most Arkane-y game yet. If you’re familiar with the studio’s work over the past decade, highlighted by Dishonored and Prey, then you’re going to feel very comfortable with Deathloop. That said, the pseudo-1960’s vibe and intentional mystery behind the island of Blackreef that you’re stuck in a time loop on makes Deathloop a wholly unique experience. I’ve played the first six or so hours of it, and I’m only just getting started.
Up to this point, though, Deathloop's made sense of its dazzling array of components, and held them together with an impeccable sense of style. There's a danger it might end up tying itself in knots, though at present it seems composed enough to help guide its players through the tangle. After those first few hours, as well, I can see why Arkane politely asked to look past the obvious comparisons, because while Deathloop might be built from familiar parts, it's quite unlike anything I've ever played.
Tam and Lucy got their hands on Deathloop just ahead of its release on September 14. Hear what they thought about how it plays.
We finally got some hands-on time with Arkane's Deathloop, and from stealthy assassinations to frantic firefights, its got its own identity.
Live, die, repeat. Every morning, Colt wakes up on a nondescript beach in Blackreef, no matter what happened the night prior, and is left to uncover the mystery of why this is happening, and how to stop it. I’ve now played through a few of these loops myself, and while I’m still discovering the answers to Colt’s questions, I feel I can safely answer one: just what is Deathloop?