Deathloop looks set to be an exhilarating ride. This is a PS5 (Window, and later, Xbox) action adventure game. It’s developed by Arkane Studios, the team behind the steampunk-stealth Dishonored series. Publisher-wise, we’re talking Bethseda Softworks. Everyone knows the phenomenal success of Fallout and Elder Scrolls. Deathloop is in good hands.
The premise of Deathloop sees you controlling Colt, a human assassin, who is stuck within a time loop. Colt’s trapped, forced to relive the same day over and over again. Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, he’s desperate to find a way out of this endless cycle. The problem is there’s a rival assassin, Julianna, who’s thwarting Colt’s efforts. For some reason, she wants to keep this loop running, and will stop at nothing to prevent you from escaping…
Groundhog Day… With Guns
The trailer itself looks like it was shot, chopped and directed in the style of Robert Rodriguez. Colt is a grumpy badass, and you want to slip into his shoes. Like Dishonored, Deathloop is a first-person shooter set in a fascinating world where supernatural powers are the norm. Teleporting and time travel go hand-in-hand like watches and cogs, but telekinesis is available, too. You can tackle missions all guns a-blazing, or you can attempt to stealth and sabotage your way around. Colt is an assassin, after all.
You wake up each morning on the same Blackreef beach (cue Sonny and Cher singing, “Babe… I’ve got you, babe…”). Only here you’re not reporting on Punxsutawney Phil’s weather prediction. Your aim is to take out eight targets on a stunning island where this loop has you hostage. The only way to break the endless cycle is to kill all eight members of the AEON Program before midnight. If not, then back to the beach you must go.
If At First You Don’t Succeed, Die, Die, And Die Again
Deathloop seems to be a puzzle as much as it is a shooter. Firstly, you’ll repeat each day, but every time you do, you’ll have learned from lessons of yesterday (or should that be ‘today’?). You’ll adapt. You’ll tweak your approach or playstyle – it’s up to you how creative you want to be. With every failure, you can rest assured that you will have compiled extra clues to how this island works.
“You can tackle each loop at your own pace…” says Sony. “…and in any order you choose – selecting your missions, targets and explorations as you see fit.” As well as super-human abilities, you’ll gain access to a range of weapons with funky powers. How will you decide to navigate the treacherous backstreets and hidden lairs of Blackreef?
Ramp Up Someone Else’s AI
Arkane Studios have also included a player-versus-player element to Deathloop. By default Julianna is a mere AI opponent in your game. If you’re feeling devious though, you can pause your own game and take on the role of Julianna in someone else’s game. This provides a wild, unpredictable personality to your nemesis. At any time she could take on a temporary, whole different chaotic quality. Talk about ratcheting a game of cat and mouse up to eleven! (You can toggle this on or off as an option, if you find it too stressful and want Julianna to remain as AI.)
Deathloop takes full advantage of the the PlayStation 5’s Dualsense controller. Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers will play their part in your island adventure. This feels like a real milestone for Arkane Studios. This is a developer known for their dedication to world-building. We cannot wait to see Blackreef in all its dystopian glory.
Deathloop has a 2020 holiday season release, which sees it as a timed console exclusive for PS5. It will launch on the Xbox Series X, some time later on.