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Julianna and Colt from Deathloop
Julianna and Colt from Deathloop

Deathloop – Here’s What We Think

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Arkane presented their new IP, Deathloop, at the recent PS5 reveal event. The first-person shooter showcased Arcane’s classic style of map traversal and combat using abilities like Dishonored’s teleportation and telekinesis. Colt, the playable character, is forced to repeat the same day continuously until he kills all eight targets before midnight. It’s like a bloody FPS groundhog day, especially when tracked by Julianna, a rival assassin tasked with hunting down Colt. Players must “die die again” if at first they don’t succeed.

Groundhog Day 2.0

Colt awakens on Blackreef beach every morning, the target of an island-wide manhunt by the same crazed partiers. Killing all eight targets is the only way to free himself from this continuous cycle.. He has until midnight to achieve this task, after which he finds himself on a familiar beach with a painful hangover. In Deathloop, every day is another chance to adapt as players are encouraged to go at their own pace.

Players choose targets, missions, and exploration in any order and set about uncovering the Deathloop’s challenges. Use various weapons and supernatural abilities while applying knowledge to implement strategies in future loops. Learn the ins and outs of Blackreef’s alleyways and hidden lairs, gather clues about the island’s true nature, and rework strategies until a winning solution presents itself. Colt’s nemesis, Julianna, doesn’t take prisoners. She’ll be hunting Colt relentlessly, so it’s up to players to familiarize themselves with their environment and equipment to survive.

The premise is unique, which is rare these days, and makes for an interesting setting. Instead of a linear plot with different levels, Deathloop traps players on the same map as they die repeatedly, forcing them to adapt by alternating playstyles and studying the environment. The scenery itself is appealing with gunplay that looks entertaining, which will make it easier to die and return eagerly in search of more action. Figuring out how to assassinate all eight targets before midnight is sure to feel rewarding.

Multiplayer Twist

Arkane’s version of multiplayer introduces the wrathful Julianna as the rival assassin. Players can control Julianna in online matches, whose task is to maintain the loop at all costs by eliminating Colt. This will certainly lead to intense moments and outrage on either side. When playing as Colt, special care must be taken to prepare for rival players at any moment, or risk winding up in someone’s crosshairs. This game of cat-and-mouse is optional as it can be toggled in the settings.

Game director Dinga Bakaba says ““The focus is on the campaign and the story. And that campaign can be played with Julianna controlled only by the AI, or – and this is our recommendation – by a mix of A.I. and random players to experience the range of unpredictability and chaos that Julianna is capable of.” It seems Julianna’s control will seamlessly transition between players and AI. It’s safe to say the devs intend this game to be played with the multiplayer enabled.

Arkane Action

From the gameplay video’s beginning, Arkane’s unique style shines through, invoking immediate Dishonored flashbacks. The gunplay, abilities, stealth, animations, and artstyle are there; older mechanics repurposed for a new title. The adage “don’t fix what’s not broken” rings true here, as Dishonored’s gameplay is most welcome in Deathloop. Crisp movements like sliding under crevices while shooting or jumping onto someone’s back from above are still satisfying. However, Deathloop’s progression should reveal differences from Dishonored by way of its arsenal. 

Various weapons are used in the gameplay video including shotguns, rifles, smg’s, snipers, machetes, and dual-wielded pistols. Abilities like the teleport from Dishonored are used to get to higher vantage points. There’s even a push ability that sends enemies flying. At one point, Colt flicks his hand and throws someone to the right, which could be a  similar power to pull. Hopefully there’s a plethora of interesting abilities in the final product.

Built for next gen consoles, Deathloop will display Arkane’s true potential. The freedom of mission choice and map exploration in stylish environments is probably only the beginning. It’ll be interesting to see all the game’s features, like the Dualsense controller’s integrated haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as the SSD’s role in level design, which will be fascinating to witness firsthand. Deathloop is coming as a timed exclusive to PS5 and PC holidays 2020, and to Xbox Series X sometime after.

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