There's death, there's destruction and no dearth of delight, it's Deathloop, and it comes to PlayStation on September 14th.
Tell me how this sounds: a James Bond film, but it isn’t a film, it’s a game, and it’s not Daniel Craig as James Bond, it’s Samuel L Jackson – and the whole film is having a bad trip. What do you think? Does this chaotic idea sound like your sort of thing? Me too. Thankfully, this idea is not confined to the realm of the imagination: it exists – it’s called Deathloop, and it comes out on the 14th of September. The logistics of this game are a bit puzzling, so I will try my best to decipher actually what is going on here. Deathloop was created by Arkane Studios and published by the Microsoft-owned Bethesda Softworks, but Deathloop will be a PlayStation exclusive in its first months due to the fact that the game was developed and signed off to PlayStation before the Xbox acquisition. It will come to Xbox, just not yet.
What is Deathloop?
Deathloop is a first-person action-adventure title that is actually difficult to describe because of how whacky and loony it is, but I will try to briefly convey the brilliance of this game anyhow. You know I love a game comparison, so here goes: Deathloop is a merging of Fallout graphics and Dishonored gameplay with a narrative a result of the film Inception going pear-shaped, and it has all the dry humour of a blockbuster Comedy and the art-style of a sixties-based Quentin Tarantino movie - quite the recipe, eh? It isn't hard to see why the gaming community has gone absolutely nuts about the game, with footage release during Gamescom 2021 that gave us a taste of gameplay, leaving us all with our minds boggled and our gaming thumbs wanting more.
What is the game's context?
Deathloop is a game as retro as it is intricate in concept, at least to begin with. We are the ever-sangfroid Colt, a hired killer who finds himself stuck on the party island of Blackreef, trapped in a simulation-of-sorts with a merry bunch of celebrities. Doesn’t sound so bad for one night, does it? But for every night for the rest of time is not such a pleasant idea. Colt, who is a skilful assassin, decides that he must break the circuit by taking out the eight ringleaders who built or perpetuate ‘the loop’. Believe it or not, Deathloop takes place over the course of one drawn-out night, a Groundhog Day that repeats itself infinitely until we get everything right. Sounds easy enough: kill those we had a bone to pick with and jobs-a-gooden, right? Not so fast; we are not the only assassin on the island, the other of which wants to protect the loop, meaning they have to kill us. Our nemesis is called Julianna, and if she or the loop’s army of Visionaries kills us before we attend to each and every task, we fail the night, destined to try again. It’s not a concept I have come across before outside the like rogue-like titles, but I like it! It’s novel and exciting, changing up each of our gaming mixes for a time.
'Our nemesis is called Julianna, and if she or the loop’s army of Visionaries kills us before we attend to each and every task, we fail the night, destined to try again.'
How do we win?
So, how do we go about beating the system? We might begin by performing some stealthy recon and surveillance - that wouldn’t be a bad idea, picking up information through any means necessary, even if that means eavesdropping, so that we can think through how we might get through the level. Victory in Deathloop takes patience, diligence and a sanguine outlook, but with our patience comes a certain flexibility: we can assassinate people in whichever way we choose, with access to a wide selection of tools and a carte blanche that gives us total murderous freedom which, when we learn of our weapon arsenal, is extraordinarily fun and seldom gets old.
What is the combat like?
The combat in Deathloop is completely mental – it’s a homicidal rampage of a bunch of people donning masks named The Visionaries. With some insanely satisfying game physics, shooting included, Deathloop is a real neck-breaker, offering us plenty of different weapon types – machine guns, shotguns, melee – you name it, we’ve got it! We are not limited to mere weapons, though, we are also gifted with what I deem to be the most interesting aspect of the game: Slabs, endowing Colt with special abilities ranging from chucking enemies of balconies using telekinesis to invisibility and teleportation. How neat is that? OK – but there is more! Trinkets also perform an assortment of functions, offering upgrades like improved accuracy and larger ammo capacities. Deathloop gives you a task to complete but gives you a slew of ways to execute (literally) it.
'Slabs endow Colt with special abilities ranging from chucking enemies of balconies using telekinesis to invisibility and teleportation. How neat is that?'
Does the game have a multiplayer mode?
How about going against our flippant hero, Colt? Perhaps you are tired of his optimistic quips, or maybe you don’t like cuss words and you feel you ought to teach Colt a lesson. It might feel wrong to do so, but it also sounds pretty fun…particularly if you are a misanthrope! In multiplayer mode, we control either Colt or Julianna, each tasked with their respective missions, whilst another player controls the other character; it’s a 1v1 scenario where we are trying to torture and brutally kill one another. Back in the day we could settle our petty squabbles by meeting each other on Modern Warfare’s Rust Map, now we can do so in Deathloop.
We are so looking forward to having an absolute whale of a time while playing Deathloop, though we don't expect the game to be a walk in the park, nor do we think it is for the faint of heart, requiring us to at points think prudently and tactically before our blood-thirst gets the better of us. The re-playability of Deathloop along with the sheer number of ways to complete each level makes it a game well-worth dabbling in. More, the eccentricity of the game’s visuals and art-style, along with the absurdly barbaric killing sprees and its simultaneously humorous nature, creates a gaming experience that pulls you in and keeps you there.
If savage killing sprees using shotguns and powers that allow you to fling enemies through glass sounds up your street, be sure to pre-order Deathloop in preparation for its September 14th release!