Deathloop is an upcoming action title from publisher Bethesda and acclaimed developer Arkane Studios, the brains behind the Dishonored series and 2017’s Prey. As we inch closer to the May release date for Deathloop, we’re being fed bits of information that continues to mount on the excitement for this unassuming shooter.
Thanks to the recent Explained video, we got our biggest slice of information yet about the nature of this unique game. That said, it’s still diving under the radar for many gamers, but we’re here to tell you why it absolutely should be on your radar, as it has the potential to be one of 2021’s best video games.
Unique Time Loop Premise
Deathloop‘s story is an interesting one, and I think that might be a huge understatement. Players assume the role of Colt, an assassin who wakes up on the beaches of the island of Blackreef. Colt quickly discovers that he is trapped in a time loop that forces him to relive the same day over and over again. Yes, we’ve seen this premise in films like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow, but the level of interactivity that video games provide elevates this premise above and beyond.
The villainous inhabitants of this island, consisting of eight heads, have gathered at Blackreef to host a party that seemingly lasts forever. Each and every night, the time loop resets, meaning the party continues, with the inhabitants’ memories wiped in the process.
Fortunately for Colt, he retains his memories. His targets are these eight heads of the island, and he must find a way to execute all of them in one night. If you fail to take out the eight targets before the end of the night, the time loop resets and you have to do it all over again.
What makes this such an absurdly captivating concept is the fact that you get better with each reset. Every time loop, you’ll come to learn the patterns of your eight targets, and how best to swiftly execute them before the reset. This premise isn’t unheard of, but on the level of Deathloop‘s ambition and sheer fun factor, it’s one that has grabbed us the most out of any game that uses a time loop mechanic.
Sense of Urgency
Of course, the time loop means that Deathloop adds a sense of urgency that almost seems unrivaled for this kind of concept. Your mission is quite simple in most assassin video games: take out eight targets. However, the time reset forces players to think smartly about how they approach each and every encounter and assassination attempt.
At first, you won’t have the greatest arsenal of tools and weapons to work with, but as you progress while the rest of the game continually resets, you’ll come to earn valuable skills, weapons, and upgrades that will help carry you to the end of your mission.
From our understanding, each target on the island poses their own batch of risky challenges. Some control certain sections of the island, while others require you to use some brain work to figure out how to go about uncovering their locations. All of this must be seemingly accomplished in one swift time loop, which means there’s a level of escalation here in gameplay that just keeps improving your methods and understanding of the pattern.
Best of all, it also means everyone’s playthrough will be vastly different depending on how they choose to tackle the objective. We can’t stress enough how great of a concept this is, and it certainly gives Deathloop its massively unique edge over other shooters.
Trademark Arkane Style
Arkane has quite a distinctive style when it comes to their games, and Deathloop is bathed in it. Echoing some stylistic similarities to Dishonored, Deathloop‘s creatively cartoonish design is accentuated by its various powers.
The contrast between this style and the violence seems to always be in perfect harmony for Arkane, which is where Deathloop might catch the attention of Dishonored fans the most. The game’s appeal is elevated by the developer’s trademark design, and it just makes it stand out even more in our eyes.
Another area that Arkane constantly excels at is in its weapon and power variety. We went into the ten unique and awesome weapons in a little more detail recently, but what awaits players isn’t too different to Dishonored. Basically, there’s an emphasis on stealth – and it would certainly make your life easier – but you can also opt to go in guns-blazing with an assortment of creative tools. From basic shotguns to chainlink weapons that connect kills via streams, there are a few ways in which you can approach combat situations.
If you’re the type to dial back the stealth and just demolish enemies headfirst, you have turrets and machine guns that do the work. Much like Dishonored too, you have a tool that allows you to traverse the environment by simply pointing in the direction you want to warp to, and it’s an instant teleport.
This allows for more verticality in gameplay, as you can pick off targets from high above if you find the right platforms to do so. Couple that with your weapon variety, and you got a multitude of ways to engage with enemies – some without being seen, and others that best satiate your bloodlust for all-out carnage.
Assassinate the Assassin
Colt isn’t the only assassin on Blackreef, though, as there’s another named Julianna. Players can take the role of Julianna, an agent tasked with protecting the time loop. As soon as players opt to play as Julianna, they will invade a random player’s game and must do their best to interfere. This multiplayer aspect is completely optional, though, and players can choose to toggle random invasions off. Instead, they will be confronted by a bot-controlled Julianna.
Release and Exclusivity
At the moment, Deathloop is part of an exclusivity deal with Sony that makes it a PlayStation 5 console exclusive. However, it will also be coming to PC as well, so not everyone will be missing out. Granted, it will likely be a one-year timed exclusive to PlayStation, and you can bet it will hit Xbox Game Pass in a year or so (especially due to Xbox’s acquisition of publisher Bethesda and by extension, Arkane Studios). The game is set to release on 21 May 2021.