Deathloop is a unique and interesting game. It follows the story of Cole, a protagonist who is trapped in a never ending time loop. He is caught in a single day that repeats itself each time the day ends or every time he dies. The “Deathloop” has somehow wiped his memory up until the point where you start playing and guides him through the world of Blackreef. As his journey begins he is continuously being murdered and harassed by the sassy antagonist Julianna who is somehow always one step ahead. Here begins your journey into discovering who Cole really is and how he ended up in the deathloop to begin with. Deathloop is a slow paced shooter that blends in stealth and sci-fi action into a cool time travelling detective action drama game which leaves you both excited and confused for what will come next.
Where Insanity Begins…
The premise of Deathloop is pretty self contained and the gameplay is very straight forward. It features four main maps that change depending on the time of day. Each time you revisit each area, there are important changes that begin to affect the outcome of your next day. Eventually, you come to find the time loop can be stale and tedious with its repetition, however, the saving grace of the repetition is the intriguing storyline. Dialogue between Julianna and Cole is engaging and each time they argue or talk more secrets about their history come to light. Personally this was one of the biggest highlights of the game, and I found myself waiting in anticipation for their next conversation.
The story is slowly revealed by these conversations and through hidden information on computers and safes throughout each map. As you progress, Cole eventually begins to make sense of his situation and is now able put his newfound knowledge to good use. He eventually discovers the time loop is being held together by this group of villains called the Visionaries who are under Julianna’s authority and are hell bent on keeping it going in an attempt to live forever. Ultimately it’s Cole’s job to assassinate these Visionaries in order to break the time loop and get free which turns out to be a very tedious and repetitive task. Due to the bite sized missions and the “customize loadout first, then head out” formula of gameplay, the entire experience becomes fragmented, and less interesting.
A Fusion Of Past Ideas
The game is most reminiscent of Arkane Studios’ stealth hack and slash series Dishonored. It also shares a few tones of other shooters such as Bioshock, Wolfenstein, Prey, and a little pinch of Fallout 4. The final product is a humorous and snippy stealth action shooter that takes its time to reveal its true backstory as you spend hours being a sort of time travelling detective. Separately, the largest gripe I had with Deathloop was not the final game, but instead how it was marketed and revealed by the trailers. I went into Deathloop expecting a fast paced shooter that allowed you to fight fast and crazy using abilities, weapons, and speed to overtake your enemies and break free. The whole thing seemed like a Doom Eternal styled roguelike shooter. Unfortunately, the final game could not be further from this reality and instead you find yourself in a snails paced shooter that favors stealth and bite sized maps and you still need to learn and piece together the story and play it to perfection in order break free. The setup works well, I only wished there was a connected open world to bridge the levels and faster gameplay mechanics.
Deathloop is an awesome break away from other shooters and puts the player in the forefront of a sci-fi time traveling drama. Cole is a hilarious protagonist and yet his counterpart and antagonist Julianna always seems to upstage him in every aspect, even when he is actually advancing and destroying her, so you never feel like the hero. Combat feels solid and heavy, should you decide to change up the pace by going guns blazing, however, the AI in the game is sometimes slow and at times can be downright braindead. Deathloop also features a lackluster multiplayer mode that only allows you to play as Julianna where you can drop into other random player’s time loop and attempt to kill their Cole. The multiplayer portion felt like it was copied and pasted right out of the recent Doom Series, but with less refinement. Finally what makes Deathloop shine brightest are its amazing visuals and solid storytelling, it’s just unfortunate the rest of the game’s design feels unfinished and limited.