So delightfully quirky and fascinating, Deathloop is like playing an inverted Cluedo game and that’s just the start.
Here is the thing. If you want to enjoy “Deathloop”, don’t read this review. It’s so delightfully original, fascinating, and just plain fun that it would be a shame to spoil it. If you’re really sure you want to continue, I have strict instructions to only talk about the first five hours, so spoilers should be minimal.
You play as Colt. You wake up on a beach with a miserable hangover, with no memory of who you are or how you got there. The game’s opening hour is all about piece together what happens and why a mad, swear-loving murderer named Julianna is trying to get you killed.
The dialogue between these two characters is extremely entertaining: similar to some of the best-written action movies.
What you’ll soon find is that Colt woke up in a groundhog day-esque time loop, doomed to repeat the same day over and over again until the loop is broken.
You’ll discover mysterious messages and clues – visual reminders of Colt’s previous races like “turn around” and “kill them all,” but are they from him? Or could they try to trick you into making the path safe, only to walk head first into an ambush?
There is a lot of mystery in the world of Death loop and a big part of the fun is unraveling the secrets of the world.
It’s not like we’ve never seen time-looped games before, in fact they’ve been very popular in recent years, Return and Twelve minutes being two that come to mind.
Corn Death loop has nothing to do with any game you’ve played before. It’s modeled after other roguelikes (games in which every time you die you go back to the beginning), it’s it’s designed to be mastered through experimentation and repetition, but it’s so much more dynamic that.
As Game Director Dinga Bakaba described the game, “It’s like an Inverted Cluedo,” and the more knowledge you have, the better your chances of getting a perfect run.
You are confined to Blackreef Island, a former military base where strange experiences once took place. To break the loop, Colt must kill eight “Visionaries”, responsible for maintaining the loop, in a single day, or return to wake up on the same beach. Initially, you will lose any weapons you collect, but Colt retains his memories after his death. Any evidence, vault and door code, or storyline you collect can help illuminate changes in your future play strategy. Are you going into guns this time or sneaking around to avoid conflict?
The island is made up of four distinct neighborhoods: The Complex, Fristad Rock, Updaam, and Karl’s Bay, and each neighborhood is divided into four time periods: morning, noon, afternoon, and evening, with each period offering a different way of discover the same setting. It sounds confusing, but the game does a great job of getting you into the complexity of the world without being overwhelming.
The action is a lot of fun and really satisfying. How you approach enemies is entirely up to you, but Death loop encourages a combination of stealth, creativity, and all-round shooting mechanics. This is the signature gameplay from the developers Arkane, who have built a reputation for letting players choose their preferred playstyle and you’ll get the most success if you mix it up.
What makes this game so unique and enjoyable is the culmination of all of its elements: an intricately crafted mystery, maps that encourage exploration and experimentation, and the fun and hostile relationship between Julianna and Colt. It would make a good movie, but it makes an even better video game.
Deathloop is out now on PC and PS5.