Developer Arkane Studios is known for first-person games that have helped revolutionize the genre. Deathloop is the developer’s latest foray into the “shoot em’ up” action, using lessons from the past to create a stellar, mind-bending experience. Everything about the game is expertly crafted, from the gameplay, storytelling to time looping. This is an experience that shouldn’t be missed. Let’s enter the loop and explore what makes this one my top “game of the year” contenders.
Platform: PlayStation 5 and PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 5
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single and Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature – 18+)
Enter the loop
In Deathloop’s main story you play as Cole Vahn, an assassin stuck in an infinite time loop on a mysterious island. To stop the cycle, Cole must eliminate eight targets called “Visionaries” before the clock strikes midnight. If one is left alive, or Cole is killed, the entire day “resets” and it starts all over again. The time shifting is being used to stay in the same 24-hour cycle indefinitely, allowing the island inhabitants to live hedonistically.
While trying to stop the time loop, you are hunted by Julianna Blake, a fellow assassin who knows your every move and will do everything in her power to stop you. As the game progresses you start to remember more from each loop. You’ll need to learn from past missteps to save the future.
A refined gameplay experience
Deathloop’s gameplay lets you approach each level however you’d like. You can go in guns blazing or with more calculated stealth tactics. I often opted to take the “louder” approach, but mixed in a stealthy maneuvers too. Your arsenal is composed of parkour, guns, gadgets melee skills and supernatural powers.
A powerful arsenal
Upgrades to your weapons and powers are available through an in-game currency system. The good news is each power-up carries over through each new loop allowing you to build up your character. You have access to Aether (invisibility), Shift (teleportation) and Nexus (a power that binds enemies for a chain kill).
Rules to time loop by
No matter how you undertake each run, the rules of the time loop still govern the extent of your actions. Time shifting provides you with more freedom and creativity with how you eliminate your targets. You’ll need to learn from your previous paths and do plenty of sleuthing to figure out where all your targets will be at points in the loop.
Deathloop Multiplayer “Protect the Loop”
Deathloop also offers a surprisingly fun and polished multiplayer mode where you need to protect the time loop. The multiplayer lets you play as Julianne instead of Cole, letting you invade other player’s games. You can create obstacles to their objectives while trying to hunt them down and eliminate them in a dangerous game of cat and mouse. I recommend trying your hand at protecting the loop, it offers lots of unexpected twists.
The game’s visual design is overflowing with a 1960’s aesthetic. I love the game’s unique style and charm with vivid colours that pop. Much of Blackreef is grey and drab, having the bright 60s colour palette makes the game standout. From the old school architecture and fashion in the environment, the game offers some groovyvisuals.
Deathloop’s technical performance
The PS5 features different visual modes that allow players to prioritize certain aspects. You can choose from Performance, Ray Tracing and Visual Quality Mode. The standout for me is Performance Mode which targets 4K resolution while scaling dynamically to hit 60 fps. The framerate in Performance Mode is rock solid on the PS5, this is how you should experience Deathloop. Ray Tracing and Visual Quality mode introduce more eye candy, but Performance Mode is where it’s at. I do enjoy taking plenty of screenshots, so having different visual options is great.
A refreshing first-person shooter experience
Deathloop offers a unique approach to the FPS genre, that you shouldn’t miss out on. The gameplay is silky smooth letting players interact with Arkane’s dazzling universe in fun and engaging ways. Deathloop has brought together so many mechanics that wouldn’t usually mix is a true testament to developer’s pedigree and skill. Breakaway from the usual FPS fare and step into the loop, you’ll be glad you did!
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF DEATHLOOP
+Story is interesting with plenty of mystery
+Multiplayer mode offers a lot of replayability
+Excellent retro sound design and great voiceover work
+Well-designed open-ended environments
-Enemy AI is lacking
-The odd graphical hitch pops up
-Story’s conclusion left a lot to be desired
Sound: 5 /5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.25/5