Arkane Lyon has always managed to mesmerize us with each and every game that they have released. From their hit Dishonored franchise and Prey, they have always consistently provided us with experiences to remember and cherish. So naturally, when Deathloop was announced as their most ambitious project to date, we were onboard with it from the get go. Deathloop successfully manages expectations by being one of the most unique first person shooter games. It might not be as great as Dishonored, yet Deathloop still tallies up as Arkane’s wildest ride.
You play as Colt, a badass 60s hero stuck inside of the same repeating day. This no BS time travelling Groundhog Day adventure throws you on the island of Black Reef, where every day is the same day. The island is controlled by a gang of ‘visionaries’. These eight visionaries are the key to breaking the loop, and taking them all out in the same day loop will get you your freedom.
However, standing in your way is the ferocious Juliana, might’ve been a fling of yours in the past, but who knows? Now, all she wants to do is kill you, again and again to prevent you from breaking the loop. It’s a wild ride of a storyline that never lets you go, and it’s given to you bit by bit through in game scrolls, text logs and audio logs as well as a ton of details scattered around the island.
Deathloop’s game cycle is divided into four time sections; each day will have a Morning, Noon, Afternoon and Evening. The island of Black Reef will have different things, situations and even opportunities for you to explore based on the time of day. It also has four different districts, Updaam is the city area, whereas there is also the shore-side area of Karl’s Bay, the central Complex and the snowy cold Fristad Rock. The maps have all eight visionaries scattered across them, and they all can be found at different times of day in different locations.
The key to your success is information, and exploration. Information is the prime currency in Deathloop, that’s the main component you need to uncover mysteries, figure out the locations and find out opportunities of attacking your prey. You can also just run around and try to gun down the visionaries on your own if you want, but that’s going to be mainly impossible. The best part about the game’s information is the amount of detail it has, the maps themselves speak to you through imagery, wall art, posters, visuals and banners.
The gunplay is fantastic, it’s such a huge step up from their previous games. There is a bunch of weapon variety in this game, one of which being a set of dual wield pistols which you can attach together to create a burst SMG for longer ranges. The shotguns are super powerful in close ranges, the revolvers will blow your enemies to smithereens on headshots and the assault rifles will chew them up. Stealth is a huge factor too here, but unlike Dishonored; it’s just the thing you use until something goes wrong and you need to go out guns blazing! These can all be modified to your heart’s content until you become a lean, mean killing machine.
Deathloop features some classic Arkane powers in the form of Slabs. The Shift slab that lets you teleport makes a return as well as the Karnesis slab which works a bit like the classic Fus-Roh-Dah situation. There’s some new mechanics here too, such as the Nexus slab that combines multiple opponents into one, so if you headshot one of them, they will all die. There’s the Aether slab that lets you go invisible and silent for a brief period, as well as Havoc which is a boost to your damage and HP. Acquiring them further more times will result in you getting upgrades for these powers, and that will make them even more fun to use!
Not to mention, whenever the loop reverts; you’re sent back to your original location. This means losing all items, powers and upgrades. However, you can use residium which is a resource scattered across the maps in Black Reef to infuse them to your person. Infusing any weapons, trinkets and slabs will guarantee they stay in your inventory even after the day is changed.
Deathloop is a mix of color, vibrancy and artwork and some spectacularly gritty design. This makes the streets of Black Reef feel alive with detail, it’s brimming to the absolute core as each corner will have some form of art on it. It’s a spectacularly created world that you just love to walk around in. Enemies have so much variety in their design, not so much in their load-out but that particular aspect is what makes them so interesting.
I forgot to mention, Juliana will constantly hunt you down throughout your play through. However, what makes her even more terrifying is that she will be controlled by players online. This means that another player can invade your lobby, and mess-up your progress, which makes each loop count even more. This is what makes Deathloop so much more unique!
In conclusion, Deathloop is a fantastic evolution of Arkane Lyon’s ambitious style. It’s a lavish game, beautifully painted with some spectacular artworks and an extremely ambitious gameplay loop that is not just unique, but also fun!