Overall - 60%
Deathloop is in a weird spot. It isn't as good as Dishonored, but I also don't expect to see another game in the series. If you want to support the studio or need a Dishonored fix, this will help...but honestly, the game isn't that fun.
After first being shown at E3 2019, Deathloop launches near the tail end of 2021. Does Arkane Studios deliver another solid adventure game, or should they stick to the Dishonored series? Check out our review and find out.
Deathloop is a first-person action-adventure game with some minor RPG and roguelike elements tossed in. You are stuck in a time loop and have one day to kill all your targets and escape before the loop resets. Oh, and everyone wants to kill you; good luck.
When you first start Deathloop, you wake up on a beach with no memory of who you are or what is going on. You quickly find out your name is Cole, and some woman named Juliana is chatting with you via radio. She does help you remember things, but you can also tell she is not your friend. While trying to figure out everything, you also see these words around you giving you warnings and tips. When you finally put everything together, you find out that you are the one leaving the messages to help you escape the time loop.
Now that you know how to escape, you need to put together a plan to do it. To do this, you enter each zone and find notes, check computers, open safes, and eavesdrop on enemies. Finding the targets alone is actually pretty easy; it’s getting them all before the end of the loop that is difficult. The way time progresses in Deathloop is when you leave an area or die. You have four loads before the loop ends (morning, noon, afternoon, and dusk) and eight targets to kill. I’m not great at math, but that means you have to double up or triple up a few times to break the loop.
That part of the game is really going to make or break the whole thing for you. There are four areas total, and they change every time you come back, but you are still visiting the same areas repeatedly. If you like putting together clues and puzzles to find the perfect chance to kill these guys, you will love it. On the other hand, if you think this sounds like a lot of work, you probably won’t enjoy it. For example, I had two targets meeting at a secret spot for lunch. I found that info in the afternoon and had to restart my loop to find the meeting spot. Then I had to reset one more time actually to find them both and kill them. Needless to say, you will be doing that quite a bit.
It isn’t just about killing the targets though. The world has a bunch of side objectives and gear for you to find and equip. The roguelike part of the game comes into play here as well. When you die, you lose all the equipment you haven’t infused to yourself. You can infuse between loading into areas, and you earn the currency by finding it in levels. After about three runs, I had so much equipment that I hardly needed to infuse anything anymore. The game tries to counter this by making you lose it all once a loop is over, but it does little to stop you from becoming very powerful very quickly. While I felt the challenge early on, I had all the weapons I wanted fast and burned through enemies after a few loops.
There are also powers called Slabs that give you abilities. The targets are the ones you find the Slabs on, and they can be infused as well. You get the classic Blink that allows you to teleport short distances. There are also a couple of new ones, such as Link. Link will enable you to link people together so one bullet can kill them all. I stuck with those mostly, but there are a couple of others as well. You can go invisible for a bit, pick up and toss enemies, or increase your damage while taking less damage. While all of that sounds cool, a Linked silence headshot that brings down five enemies is even better.
One other thing you can infuse are trinkets. You can think of these like weapon mods that make you shoot further, aim down your sights quicker, or any other minor weapon buff. The trinkets themselves are fine; it’s how you sometimes get them that bothers me. Throughout the world, some safes and doors are locked with codes. Imagine that you’ve been searching for a safe code for a few hours, done a few loops, and you finally get it. You find the safe, put the code in, and you get a weapon trinket that some random bum off the street had when you killed them. It all comes back to the fact that you will be way overpowered by the time you actually get these codes that it doesn’t matter. Balancing didn’t seem to be a big priority here.
The last thing I want to talk about is Juliana and how she invades your world. It is just an AI player in single-player, but you can have real people if you want. Can we just stop wasting effort and development time implementing things like this? Why on earth would I want a human player to invade my world like it’s Dark Souls? Bethesda tried doing this with Doom Eternal as well and eventually had to scrap it. Stop it. We don’t want this. If you are going to add multiplayer, then make it co-op. If you can’t tell from my writing, the whole Juliana part is just annoying, and again, you will destroy her because of how powerful you are.
Deathloop is in a weird spot. It isn’t as good as Dishonored, but I also don’t expect to see another game in the series. If you want to support the studio or need a Dishonored fix, this will help…but honestly, the game isn’t that fun.
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