Deathloop Review: Unforgettable Momentary Blink

Deathloop Review Cover

Ever wondered what Groundhog Day, a movie about a day repeating itself over and over, would look like as a game? Well, we now have Deathloop for that. Deathloop is the latest game from Arkane Studios, known for their critically-acclaimed Dishonored series of games. Instead of having a sneaky assassin, we now have time-bending sneaky assassins. As with all titles, is this something to consider this coming holidays? Let’s find out with this Deathloop review!

Deathloop Review – Story & Premise

Deathloop Review beginning
Prepare to see this scene a couple of times while playing the game

Deathloop is a game with 80s retro aesthetic that mostly deals around the passage (or the lack thereof) of time. You start by dying in this game. After your surprising death, you then again wake up on a beach without any memory of what transpired or your reasons for being here. Thus begins the adventure of Colt Vahn, a man with amnesia seeking to find out what is happening and why he keeps on restarting on this very beach every single day.

Deathloop Review target and clues
Use loops to get clues to draw out your targets and eliminate them.

As Colt, the player must find out the mysteries surrounding this island and get to the very meaning of “break the loop”. But doing so is not that easy. Colt must kill 8 people that hold knowledge about the island’s mystery. All of them in one single day. With that challenge, players must make use of the looping time to uncover secrets, schedules, and possible routes to effectively break the time loop.

Advertisement

Alongside the assassinations, you also uncover clues as to who Colt is. Who the heck is Julianna, the woman chasing you? Why are you on this island? Why is there a loop? Things such as those flow naturally as you progress through Deathloop making it hard to stand up and walk away. It sticks with you and nudges you on, making you forget real time.

Deathloop Review – Gameplay

Upon assuming control of Colt, you’ll definitely notice its similarity with Dishonored. The controls are more or less the same but with a more minimalistic HUD and 80s retro visuals. Deathloop is a first-person shooter game that allows players to use of both weapons and player abilities to complete objectives. These objectives can then be tackled in whichever sequence depending on the player’s liking.

The Guns Of Deathloop

Deathloop review stats
On higher levels, you get attachments for your weapons, skills, and passive traits.

Guns are definitely one of the best things in Deathloop. While they are limited, each one of them offers a great deal of uniqueness and charm. From sniper rifles, to humble SMGs, you can have a large variety of weapons for any encounter. The weapons here also have various stages of rarity. High-level ones have better built-in abilities and have more slots for the player to use. Low-level ones can jam and may place the player in a pinch. Unique weapons have unique appearances and better effects but may require extra elbow grease to get.

Deathloop Review hackamajig
In Deathloop, you can hack electronics to emit noise to distract enemy patrols.

Aside from the guns, you also get 2 useful tools to aid you in your quest. One is the Hackamajig, a hacking tool. The other is a grenade that has 3 forms with each one having different effects. You can use these tools to either distract, eliminate, or open key shortcuts to your objectives.

Collecting Clues & Using Time

Deathloop time loops
Time loops in Deathloop so if you must collect clues during specific times to complete the whole picture.

As this is an first-person assassination/mystery game, you have to collect clues as to what can give you the edge in taking down your targets. As Colt, you use the loops to uncover mysteries in each of the 4 districts available to explore. In the world of Deathloop, a day restarts every 24 hours. Taking advantage of this, you must get clues that can give you info about each of your targets.

Deathloop Review loop code
Safe’s like this one can only be unlocked after you get the code from a different loop.

A great example of this time loop mechanic is the fireworks factory mission. In order to get a code required to unlock a target’s safe, the player must visit the fireworks factory at about noon time. However, the fireworks factory is fated to burn down on mid-day. With that conundrum, the player must intervene and avert the disaster on a morning to be able to get that code. This right here is where Deathloop truly shines. It makes use of available assets multiple times but in a creative way, providing urgency and giving importance to the player’s actions.

Game Modes & Features

Deathloop Break & Protect

There are 2 game modes in Deathloop: singleplayer and multiplayer. In singleplayer, you play as Colt as you uncover the mysteries surrounding the island. The second is multiplayer. If you’re familiar with the invasions propagated by the Souls games, this is very similar to that. As Julianna, the player must stop other players from succeeding in their missions as Colt. This also has a progression system but is separate to that of the singleplayer campaign.

Wait, You Can Farm In Deathloop?

Deathloop assassinating and farming characters
You can kill targets to farm their abilities to improve yours.

Yes. With infinite time means infinite opponents and targets. See, whenever you kill a target, they drop down an item called a Slab. These slabs grant you powers like teleport, invisibility, and berserk mode. Sounds like Dishonored, eh? Not quite. As you progress through the days, you can kill targets multiple times to get their respective Slabs. These can then be used to upgrade your existing ones. For example, getting another Teleport (Shift) slab can grant you better range or longer air time.

Aside from these things, you can also farm weapons from the bosses. As the big wigs on the island, they have far better weapons that the usual hooligans. Taking them down may grant you a high-level weapon or more so, a unique one.

But There’s A Catch – You Lose Items Everyday

As the day repeats, you also lose everything you have at the end of the day. But fret not, here’s where the game’s currency comes in, Residuum. After clearing a specific point in the game, you can infuse this mysterious substance onto your Slabs, upgrades, and weapons. Infused things are carried across loops so you don’t have to worry about losing them even if you drop them in one loop. Come the next day, they’ll all be back for you to use again. This is a great way for players to economize and take only what they need from each iteration. It also means that players can sacrifice trash items to get Residuum so that they can take the important ones across loops.

Deathloop Review – PC Performance

CPUAMD Ryzen 5 3600 @ 4.00Ghz
GPUAMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
MotherboardMSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX
RAM16GB Patriort DDR4 3000Mhz
HDD / SSDCrucial 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD

With the benchmarks above and the appropriate patches released weeks after the game’s release date, I can say that the game was able to run without any problems ony my fairly mid-range PC. I did not experience any crashes or game-breaking bugs during my run towards the game’s end.

I was also able to play the game on Ultra 1440p with frames averaging at about 60FPS. Going 1080p and lowering the settings, I was able to get a better average with 80FPS. Suffice to say, this game is not that demanding. If you have a more modest PC, you can simply tone down the settings a bit to accomodate your hardware without sacrificing much of the game’s frenetic play.

Deathloop Review – Conclusion & Verdict

Gameplay & Flow Is Superb

Deathloop Assassinations
Deathloop’s approach to info collection and execution is quite addicting

Deathloop is a modern classic. It’s been quite a while since I found myself glued to my seat, playing continuously and religiously for hours on end. Deathloop’s story, pacing, and development is that engaging. The gunplay and controls are very smooth and it doesn’t even feel out of place even during the platforming sections of the game. What it does well is to really make you feel cool and in control. Colt’s powers allow you to play the game as you see fit.

Great Story That That Doesn’t End Well

Deathloop Docs & Lore
During the campaign, you can check the game world’s lore using documents such as this one.

As mentioned previously, I have been enamored with Deathloop’s story. The way it flows felt natural and discovering things with every loop makes it all the more rewarding to continue to play. However, despite the climactic means to get to the ending, you get rewarded with something less than expected. This is not to spoil anything but personally, I felt that the ending could’ve given more.

A Modern Classic

I’m a simple man. If a game can keep me tied down to my seat for 13 hours, I think it’s worth seeing. Deathloop did just that. Despite my busy adult schedule, I still found it too engrossing to ignore. The gameplay loop is exceptional and the presentation is highly easy to get into. While some may say that it’s short, I do think that it has the right amount of puzzles and other quests that can keep you playing for hours on end. I also think that it’s pretty replayable as you can uncover other methods to slay your targets.

With all that said, Deathloop is definitely one of the greatest games this 2021.

Deathloop Review – Availability

Check out Deathloop on Steam here. The game is also available on the Playstation 5 as a timed-exclusive. It may become available for purchase for the Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X next year. Prices vary depending on your region, the edition, and platform.