Developer: Arkane Studios
Genre(s): First Person Shooter, Adventure, Action
Platform: PLayStation 5, also available on PC
Age Rating: PEGI18
Release Date: 14/09/2021
A code was personally provided by the reviewer
Shoot, Loop, Repeat!
Ever feel like you are just playing the same day over and over? Feel like you are stuck in a rut? Well, in Deathloop from Arkane Studios on the PlayStation 5, you are. It’s like Groundhog Day with guns, supernatural abilities and murder. I had seen a little on the title before I slipped the disc into my PlayStation 5 but little did I know what I was letting myself in for.
I say this because Deathloop is one of the most carefully crafted, unique and enjoyable campaigns I have played in recent memory. It’s clever, it’s stylish and while I will not be spoiling anything here I will be doing my best to try and convey the amount of love I have for this game. When you play as many games as I do, it’s pure elation when you find something truly novel like Deathloop.
A Tale of Two Brilliant Characters
You play Colt, who you will love straight out of the gate because his banter and dialogue with Julianna is amazing, warm and brilliantly realized. You find yourself on a twisted island, re-living the same day over and over. Whether that be from death or if you are fortunate enough to get to the end of the day, you will reset and do it all over again. A never-ending wheel of choices, silky combat and sometimes, just sometimes, a bit of stealth.
Deathloop has light rogue-like elements but if you are not a fan of rogue-likes, don’t worry, the rogue-like elements are, on the whole, small. Where Deathloop excels and where I think it is so intelligent is how the whole thing functions. Paired with Arkanes brilliant world-building and open-ended mission design is a game that requires invention, planning and a little bit of Sherlock Holmes-style investigation.
Break The Cycle
To get out of this time loop and break the cycle Colt must eliminate eight Visionaries. The problem is that they must all be killed on the same day. Each day only has four time periods for you to play through. See the issue? At the start of the game it is impossible to complete this daunting task but by experimentation, reading notes and talking to folks you find ways of slightly amending the timeline and eventually forcing all with Visionaries into locations that allow you to take them all out in one day.
That makes the game sound nowhere near as intricate and clever as it is. You go on a mission to find your first Visionary, while you are there you gather evidence and information that allows you to get further into this twisted mangle of a story and come out victorious. Add into this collectable loot, fantastical guns and superpowers, then you have something truly special that will stay with you for a while after you have finished it.
An Open-Ended Masterclass
Deathloop has astonishing map design, that was also present in the Dishonoured games. Each target has multiple ways to be accessed, various ways to be killed and even now after I have scoured the game’s four maps, I am still finding nooks, crannies and new ways to access buildings, areas and take out my targets. Arkane has built something special that encourages experimentation, quick thinking and creativity. It’s awesome and rewarding in equal amounts.
The actual moment to moment gameplay feels like Dishonoured with guns. Which is never a bad thing. Colt’s movement is swift, smooth and traversal is magnificent. As you sweep through Black Reef, climbing up walls, hacking turrets and snapping necks, you will feel empowered and when I play games like this, that is what I want. By the end of the game, I felt unstoppable.
Infuse Your Loot
When you enter each map you have three lives. Each time you die the game rewinds you back to a safe location and allows you to continue. You can reclaim your loot from your corpse and carry on about your business. Die three times though and the whole day restarts with you losing all the loot you have not infused. Infusion allows you to keep gear between cycles, it’s a smart system that makes sure you get stronger and stronger between cycles and has you constantly juggling what to scrap and what to Infuse.
I am going to say something else that may scare people off but don’t worry. Deathloop, through its light multiplayer elements, feels a bit like Dark Souls. After you have got a bit into the game you unlock the ability to invade other players games as Julianna and this again adds a whole new dimension to something that was already laden with dimensions. As Julianna, you must kill Colt and vice versa with players getting loot and upgrades as rewards.
I remember my first time being hunted by a human player and holy moly was it tense! I got killed twice then I managed to take out the other player, loot her body but then I still had to accomplish my mission. If I die, I lose all the loot I just spent the last half an hour gruesomely gaining. Luckily I took it slow, completed my task and escaped victorious. It was heart pumping the whole time though.
As Julianna, it is about knowing the maps. You are able to hide as NPC’s by copying their appearance and you level up gaining access to more weapons and powers. As Cole it is about using your lives as best you can, making the most of the powers you have so far and spotting Julianna hidden amongst the masses of NPC’s. I enjoyed this part of the game very much and it is a fun addition to mix up the gameplay now and again.
Graphically, while not being the best looking PlayStation 5 title, Deathloop is very attractive. The HUD, the layout and menus all scream classic action movie and that in conjunction with the stylish soundtrack create an atmosphere that oozes with style. The voice acting is superb and as I stated earlier the relationship between the two main leads is witty, realistic and engrossing. Arkane has done a wonderful job bringing this world to life.
Game of the Year Contender
I have finished the main campaign and I am now mopping up the trophies I have left. I have had zero issues, no performance quirks or issues of any variety. Deathloop runs well, plays amazingly and is just so damn fun! It brings out the invention in players by giving them a supernatural, bullet filled sandbox and allows them to make up their own ways to accomplish their goals.
I cannot recommend Deathloop enough, its campaign is unique, intelligent and full of joyous moments. You will curse, you will laugh and you will go “oooooooooooo” when you find a hidden vent into a building you have painstakingly fought into over and over again. Deathloop evolves as does the player over the course of its campaign and never outstays its welcome. Right, I’m off to kill some Visionaries again and again and again and again and then get the platinum, peace out loopers!
Rapid Reviews Rating
5 out of 5
If you would like to purchase Deathloop from the PlayStation Store, you can do so here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.