One of the titles we are most looking forward to this year is without a doubt Deathloop, an action revealer from Arkane Studios. The developers are perhaps best known for the Dishonored games, but also have a couple of Wolfenstein titles in their luggage. In other words, the DNA bodes well for their new title, which despite similarities to the previously mentioned games offers a completely different concept. Especially in the fps genre.
Welcome to the confusion
It all starts with our protagonist, Colt, waking up at a beach. The confusion is total and he has no idea what he is doing there, or what is to come. He hurries forward towards a nearby, dilapidated building that seems to lead to a bunker. All of a sudden, as if out of nowhere, he sees words formed right in front of his eyes. Could it be visions? The messages are cryptic, but we suspect that they are meant to be guiding in this confusing situation. Like they’re from someone who’s been through exactly the same thing as our protagonist.
Colt continues towards the building, which appears to be uninhabited. In the middle of all the darkness, he finds a firearm, which is now kept ready for what is to come. The floating words are becoming more and more, and more and more clear. Do they come from the Colts subconscious? Or are they messages from a future version of him? Colt chooses to ignore a piece of advice from the “words”, whereupon he is immediately attacked from behind. The antagonist seems to know him quite well, but Colt himself has no idea who it is. In the end, he is pushed down from a precipice, without having become wiser. Game over.
Welcome to the confusion, once again
It all starts again with our protagonist Colt waking up at the beach. Still confused, but with the memories completely intact this time. He moves towards the same dark bunker, but this time takes with him the knowledge that led to his untimely death last. Why does he relive all this? And why is it only he who remembers everything from previous experiences? The questions are many, but he still rushes further and further into the bunker.
In this way, the Colts’ exploits continue in the short demonstration we recently witnessed. Colt is more or less stuck in a time loop that recovers every time he “dies”. Timely enough, everything takes place on an island, and therefore Colt has no choice but to move forward to finally solve the mystery. Both the surroundings and the enemies are very reminiscent of the tones of the happy sixties, but whether we actually play during that era does not emerge. All we know is that Colt must defeat eight “visionaries” to break the time loop. But it will not be an easy match for our hero.
Learn from your mistakes
If you have played previous games from Arkane, you probably recognize the concept. Namely, we are faced with situations that can degenerate into pure action parties, but which can also be fixed through the usual stealth. Part of the thing about Deathloop is that death is not necessarily the end. Without just one lesson you have with you for the next round. Were you massacred by about twenty guards? Then try to infiltrate the same place, but at night. The patrols of the enemies vary markedly.
But that does not mean that the enemies get stuck in exactly the same paths. The person you have just destroyed can in fact rethink during the next “loop”, and is then perhaps equipped with completely different weapons. In this way, the replays become dynamic, and also mean that we can never really be sure of what comes next. Especially not when certain elements can be controlled by human players.
Break the time loop, or protect it
Before you start boiling and raving about any “live service” elements, we can reassure you that this is not the case with Deathloop. We are completely with you though, but that is a discussion for another article. But suppose you do not want to deal with the basic story itself. That you would like to see the game from a different perspective. Then there is an extra mode where you control the antagonist who killed Colt at the beginning of the game, Juliana.
For unclear reasons, she wants the time loop to last. Therefore, she does everything to prevent Colt from succeeding with her goal, and to her aid she has a large arsenal of weapons and superpowers. When you control Juliana, you jump into other players’ worlds and act as a kind of “Nemesis” á la Resident Evil. But do not worry about missing any parts of the game when you are not connected. If there are no human players who want to take on you, Juliana is controlled by the computer.
In other words, we have a lot of cool battles to look forward to, but also puzzles and story elements that will require a number of reboots to solve. An example might be gathering information about certain specific enemies during a number of loops. To map out exactly where on the island they will be at certain times, and then adopt the most optimal way to get rid of everyone at once.
Here another important element comes into the picture – the various special forces the protagonist Colt has access to. During the show itself, we witnessed everything from pure teleportation to a fantastic attack that links the brains of the enemies together. If you kill one of these people, all linked enemies will fall in the coup. Exactly how many properties are unlockable is not yet known, other than that you keep these (as well as the experience points) when you start a new loop.
Not another roguelike game
Now maybe the thoughts still fall to fantastic titles like last year’s Hades, which is just a roguelike game where you start from scratch (almost) every time you die. But the big difference in Deathloop is that you are more or less free to decide the start time and place before each new time loop. Thus, the game also bodes well for both short and long game sessions, which is always appreciated.
According to the developers themselves, it is possible to skip certain segments if you are good enough, but also that (for story-based reasons) it is not possible to manage everything in one sitting. Rather, expect a playing time of at least 20 hours, without including any side positions.
But, Bethesda and Microsoft then?
The elephant in the room, which unfortunately was not addressed during the show, is, however, whether the game will be fully supported in the future. At present, Deathloop is exclusive to Playstation 5 and PC, despite the fact that publisher Bethesda is now part of Microsoft’s gaming division. Microsoft itself believes that all predetermined deals should be kept. But whether Deathloop also comes to Xbox consoles when the exclusivity clause expires does not tell the story.
Regardless, we are really hyped before Deathloop’s release and look forward to dying again and again.
Deathloop will be released on September 14 for Playstation 5 and PC.