Deathloop feels like a mystery to be solved solo
So far, people have attempted to define Deathloop through comparisons to a fairly large roster of games in existence. Previous time-looped games, assassination games, and highlights from developer’s own catalog Arkane have all come in the crosshairs. After five hours of practicing Deathloop from the start of the game, it’s certainly true that these associations have merit – but it’s equally true that they don’t really paint a full picture of the ambitious murder marathon of the day of the game. Arkane’s groundhog, because it’s a little different from what I expected.
Deathloop’s grimy, retro-futuristic ’60s spy aesthetic makes a fabulous first impression, and it’s well supported by immediately excellent music and great vocal work from Colt actor Jason E. Kelly. Kelly’s dialogue has to carry a bit of weight – especially as Deathloop sets up its main mystery – and imbuing his speech with a cocktail of indignant confusion mixed with an otherwise gung-ho enthusiasm immediately put me in. Colt’s corner. I like it, and it’s always a good first step.
The premise of Deathloop is simple: To break out of a 24-hour time loop, the main man Colt must kill the eight enigmatic “visionaries” who rule the spooky island of Blackreef in a single day. Die or fail to get all eight, and the day begins again – and everyone you’ve shot, stabbed, or thrown off a cliff is resurrected. IGN’s in-depth hands-on preview of this first installment of Deathloop features a spoiler-free discussion regarding the hunt for a particular target.
Either way, after about five hours of playing it is now very clear that killing all eight targets in one day won’t be as easy as it sounds. Four hours of the day and four different environments – but double the targets – means Colt must discover ways to pass multiple targets at each location in a single visit.
The fact that there is no way to save your progress mid-mission is an interesting way to force players to really lean into the experimental world of a hypothetical time loop. Ruined everything? Treat it and keep going, or give up and try the day again. Colt’s special ability to die twice in a level before a third death resets the day for good blunts just enough risk to let me use a bit of trial and error, but it only takes two small mistakes to let Colt skate on very thin ice until I decide to leave a card.
However, it didn’t take long for Deathloop to start deviating from some of the more common press comparisons I’ve heard to date – especially with Io Interactive’s Hitman series. It’s true that both thrive on repeat in their murder sandboxes; Hitman encourages return visits to his maps through his fun reward system, and Deathloop incorporates them into the narrative itself (multiple map visits are needed to uncover clues, hidden locations, as well as upgrades and upgrades). other powerful weapons). After five hours, they are otherwise quite different, especially in terms of approaches to stealth and NPC density. I’ll stress that none of this seems to really reflect badly on Deathloop, which looks pretty good so far. The movement and the combat in particular are very refined and I love Colt’s violent kicking motion. It’s just not as closely aligned with the classics of Io’s assassination as some of the initial reports led me to believe.
Deathloop – August 2021 Screenshots
Of course, another element of Deathloop is the ability to play not only as Colt, but as his rival Julianna. While Colt’s wish is to break the loop by killing the Island’s Eight Visionaries, Julianna’s role is to kill Colt.
According to Arkane, choosing to play as Julianna will inject you into someone else’s game, allowing you to hunt down and kill them while they’re busy trying to unravel Deathloop’s central mystery as Colt. For the purposes of this preview, only Colt could be used and human players could not enter our games as Julianna. Only AI-controlled Juliannas invaded my game, and she only appeared as a target twice in the roughly five hours that I played. The AI Julianna doesn’t seem too difficult to take down with a powerful weapon; it’s a bit tougher than standard enemies, but not blatantly.
It is very important to note that Deathloop can be played entirely solo, preventing strangers (or friends) from attacking your game and ruining your session. So, yeah, you can most definitely play Deathloop and only deal with an AI controlled Julianna. What confuses me a bit, however, is that I can’t really understand why someone would choose one otherwise. That is, after a decent stint on Deathloop – including a few back-to-back races that ended with slightly itchy deaths painfully close to my goal – I have no idea why anyone ‘one would choose to allow strangers to enter their game.
While I enjoyed picking up the initial threads of Deathloop mystery and patiently roaming the environments, I see no joy in letting Arkane drop a total stranger into my game to potentially destroy everything I had accomplished that day – especially if that meant losing weapons and power-up trinkets that I hadn’t yet protected from disappearing when the loop resets. I also don’t see how it would be fun to do this to someone else – especially a friend. Granted, I’m a strict one-player evangelist, but it seems roughly equivalent to breaking into a companion’s house and unplugging his PS5’s power plug from the wall before he has it. possibility to save your progress. Arkane has established that Deathloop’s PvP wasn’t really designed for competitive play, so I’ll wait until I see PvP in action, but I don’t quite get the appeal of this second pillar of the package. from Deathloop. Maybe I’m not a big jerk enough.
Thankfully, it’s not long to wait – Deathloop is coming to PC and PS5 next month, September 14 – but for now I feel like maybe it’s a mystery I’ll be looking to solve solo.
Luke is a game editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter every few days @MrLukeReilly.