Experiencing Deathloop for the first time is a virtual rollercoaster, it was fun, scary and all over the place.
While I haven’t finished Deathloop just yet, here’s what I’ve managed to learn in the first five hours.
When offered the chance to preview Deathloop early it was clear the developers, Arkane Studios, wanted to keep the mystery of this game as secret as possible.
In Deathloop you play as Colt, a man stuck in a time loop and seemingly the only one who doesn’t know why — ergo the mystery.
You awaken on a cold beach and are guided by various floating messages into your “base”.
These floating messages don’t go away — they stay with you throughout the game, ever so often offering a hint or assist in moving the story forward.
Eventually you discover the only way out of this is to assassinate all eight bosses in a day.
Early on you make contact with a woman, Julianna, and without spoilers, she’s essentially the woman trying to stop you from breaking the time loop.
The first hour of the game opens your mind to many questions; Why is this happening? Who is this person? Why are they doing this? How do I do that?
It was clear for me the initial mystery was how to play the game.
At first I felt as if I was being discouraged to explore. Get in, finish the objective, get out.
I was playing through an area, looking around before heading to the main objective and getting nowhere.
But then it hit me exactly how this game works — playing the same levels over and over again is the system working as it should.
Exploring different areas at different times of day, unlocking new abilities to reach new areas, finding new information to assist your mission — that’s the key to progression.
There are four main maps to explore, each with four different times of day: Morning, midday, afternoon and evening.
The times dramatically alter the experience, including different enemy locations and bosses only coming out at certain times. You’ll need to find out exactly when and where they’ll be.
If you start a map in the morning, time will not progress into night — no matter how long you’re there for.
Although you’re repeating levels, going through days, there’s no limit to how many days you spend exploring a certain area, and there’s no consequence to exploring too much, which I love. You can also skip to a certain time of day before starting the level if there’s something specific you’re looking for.
Colt will learn special abilities throughout the game, each boss has their own unique ability for you to possess. Defeat the boss, claim your prize.
Standard enemies in the game are faceless, they are all wearing masks. It makes killing them that little bit easier as some of the kill animations are graphic!
When you die, that’s it. Start the day over.
But as you’d expect, there’s ways to manipulate the time loop to help you progress but to avoid spoilers I won’t go into any details.
I had moments where I actually wanted to die in the game to start the next day, which is a very different feeling from any other game I’ve played.
Dying is often the next step to unravelling the mystery.
It’s a unique gaming experience.
Another thing the game does well is utilise the PlayStation 5’s controller.
The DualSense is one of the best things to come out of the console (or any new console for that matter) and I can’t speak more highly of how Deathloop builds the controller into the design of the game.
Slight haptics vibrate left to right as you run through a level, different types of vibrations depending on the type of ground you’re walking on.
Adaptive triggers are tighter to pull when using certain weapons and each pull of the trigger is unique.
Being able to feel your actions throughout the game is a near perfect next-gen experience.
To say more about the story would be unfair to the reader, but I’m confident in saying Deathloop is one of the best games of the year.
For fans of the Dishonoured series, Fallout, spy movies, puzzles and adventure, add Deathloop to your list.
There is a multiplayer mode available in Deathloop, which we can’t speak too much about right now. We’ll be sure to bring you more information about that when we can.
Deathloop is coming to PlayStation 5 and PC on September 14.