Review: Deathloop

Does Arkane Studios' new shooter have what it takes to be a good time killer?

Muslim Taseer
8th December 2021
Image: Arkane Studios
Deathloop really is a game after my own heart. This run and gun time loop shooter from Arkane is, in my opinion, the perfection of Arkane’s formula, a formula that gave us titles like Dishonoured, Prey, and Wolfenstein: Youngblood.
deathloop crashing
Image: Bethesda Softworks

The objective of the game is essentially to find a way to kill 7 people in one day. That one day loops over and over every time you finish a day without having killed all 7 ‘visionaries’ or when you die thrice in a single stage. However, you keep all your knowledge and everything you’ve learned, and as you play and follow leads, you figure out ways to achieve your objective easier, in preparation for the one day where you kill all 7 and ‘break the loop’, so to speak. You can also keep weapons and Slabs (magical powers) throughout loops via a points based system of ‘infusing’ items. The variety of ways to achieve your goal and the different powers in the game lend themselves to immense replayability, which is one of Deathloop’s strongest suits.

Dishonored's influence on Deathloop is obvious, from some of the environmental ennui to whole features such as Dishonoured’s infamous ‘Blink’ power showing up as a power called ‘Shift’. But make no mistake, Deathloop is a formidable title in it’s own right, and it has its own compelling plot and gameplay feel.

You can feel like John Wick blasting through ‘eternalists’ left right and centre. 

Deathloop’s world and it’s lore achieve a very distinct ‘vibe’, one that teeters on the edge of the scientific and the fantastic, the real and the sublime. It’s a sort of magical realism present in a lot of Arkane’s stuff, but it has its own unique feel to it, and the modernistic '60s architecture and fashion in the environments only further adds to it. It’s a hard feel to describe but it’s done incredibly well and it pulls you into the world very well. Dialogue is also done in a charmingly witty way without becoming overly cheesy, and it maintains a level of self-awareness that never bores or annoys you. 

Deathloop
Image: Arkane Studios

The gameplay is expertly tuned and the controls are very fluid. Movement feels fast and dynamic and the combat is just plain fun. The level design and the varied environments on offer allow you to really tune your playstyle to how you want to play, with options for stealth or all out carnage aplenty. The four areas of the game vary widely depending on what time of day you visit them, and each iteration is full of interesting things to do or find. Combat is challenging, and you will die often, but it only serves to make you better at the game by forcing you to think about how to tackle problems instead of just rushing in guys ahoy. At least until you get the hang of the environments and build up a formidable arsenal, that is. Then you can feel like John Wick blasting through ‘Eternalists’ left right and centre. 

All in all, Deathloop is a great title, and it is no surprise it’s looking like one of the frontrunners in this year’s award cycle. It’ll only get better as it is updated and maybe even gets some DLC. Do yourself a favour and if you’re a fan of first-person shooters, buy the game!

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