Release Date: 2021.
Console (played on): PlayStation 5.
Console (Also available on): PC (Microsoft Windows).
Mode(s): Single-Player, Multiplayer.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Comedy.
Developer: Arkane Studios.
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks.
Director(s): Dinga Bakaba.
Artist(s): Sébastien Mitton.
External Writer(s): Joe Fielder.
Composer(s): Tom Salta & Ross Tregenza.
Voice Actor(s): Jason E. Kelley, Ozioma Akagha, Cherami Leigh, Erika Ishii, Michael Croner, Josh Zuckerman, Khoi Dao, and many more!
My Overall Rating:
It’s a frightening thought to be stuck within the same day without a clue how to escape such a predicament. Ever so more when your memory remains intact with each day, bringing about an individualized form of psychological torment with every passing day. But, given the chance, wouldn’t anyone want to grasp at such an opportunity to perfect their day, to bring about a scenario that will meet all their expectations? What if achieving such an exploit is the solution to breaking free of such a reality? Drawing upon the best gameplay mechanics found in their previous games (Dishonored, Prey), Arkane Studios offers fans the opportunity to discover an original, engrossing, and creative adventure with Deathloop where repetition leads to experience, wisdom begets creativity, and freedom nurtures chaos.
What is Deathloop (2021) about? Waking up oblivious of his past in the middle of a beach in the 1960s, Colt is perplexed by the events leading up to his situation. As he wanders around, he notices messages popping up in the middle of nowhere instructing him to break the loop. With this not-too-subtle hint of direction and purpose, received loud and clear, he quickly learns about Julianna Blake, the head of security of the AEON Program, who is dedicated in hunting him down and taking his life. In fact, she warns the Visionaries and their followers, known as the Eternalists, of his plans, allowing him no instant of respite as he sets off to uncover the truth behind who he is and what’s going on. What he also discovers quite quickly is that this reality in which he bathes is a single day (morning, noon, afternoon, and evening) on the subarctic island of Blackreef that repeats itself. But the question remains: can he break the loop?
Creatively constructing a meticulously thought-out narrative around the premise of a protagonist restlessly going through the same day over and over again to desperately find a way out of this mess, Deathloop provides an ambitiously ingenious adventure that offers players an abundance of ways to approach their day. Short and compact, the story is cleverly constructed in a way that players are given the liberty to progress through the narrative at their own rhythm and order, with the additional liberty of focusing on developing Colt Wahn’s powers or surveying Blackreef for secrets that could help him break the loop. Despite undeniable replayability, the simple-minded AI enemies who are pretty much at your mercy rather than offering any true form of challenges is irritating but the complexity of this world largely makes up for this little flaw.
Given that my playthrough was mostly oriented around stealth, the game nevertheless offers players a variety of ways to engage enemies and reach objectives. On top of the fluid parkour abilities, Colt is also given the opportunity to learn certain powers that make him a true force to be reckoned with (from invisibility to phase-shifting). Additionally, weapons can also be found throughout the game to enhance his deadly arsenal, while others might simply prefer a good ol’ knife to behead their oblivious enemies. While you make your way around the various island’s four districts (Updaam, Karl’s Bay, Fristad Rock, and the Complex) looking for answers that could help you figure out how to break the loop, you’re also randomly hunted down by Julianna when you least expect it.
The fascinating thing about Julianna is that she’s also quite conscious of Colt’s fate, able to also retain memory of past events with each loops, and draws a lot of pleasure in killing Colt every loop. Her insatiable rage for him is a mystery in itself and it’s up to Colt to not let her stop him from achieving his goal. Fully immersed into this vibrant and exquisite world, with its jazzy score, and its colourful ensemble of peculiar characters, the developers over at Arkane Studios had no trouble in tackling their ambitious concept with dedication and passion. Their multiplayer feature originally complements the single-player game by allowing players to play as Julianna to protect the loop and invade other players. You heard that right. Other games around the world can be Julianna and add their own touch of creativity in their hunt for Colt. But don’t fret. You can always disable this online feature and let an AI-controlled Julianna come after you. Ultimately, this won’t stop you from having a fantastic time with this originally and wittily conceived game.
Deathloop (2021) is a narratively ingenious and conceptually innovative game offering players a myriad of ways to elucidate, expose, and attempt to break Colt’s unforgiving loop.