Console Corner: Deathloop review
Every now and then a game comes along which makes you sit up and say ‘wow’.
Deathloop - the new timed PS5 exclusive from Arkane Studios - is one of those games.
Well you play the role of Colt, an assassin who is stuck in a time loop, waking up on a beach at the island of Blackreef.
The other residents of Blackreef, a former army base where strange experiments had once been held, have invested in the island and have gathered for this night to hold a party that seemingly lasts forever (I’ve been to a few of those over the years!) as at the end of each night, the island resets to the start of the party in that time loop.
Because of this reset, the partygoers pay no heed to their actions or deeds since they wake up at the start of the loop with no memories or effects of the previous loop. While Colt is part of this loop, he retains memories from each loop, learning the behaviors and patterns of the partygoers with each loop. Colt has been tasked to take out eight targets across the island before midnight, as leaving even one alive will cause the time loop to reset and undo his work. Further, should Colt die before taking out the eight targets, he will wake back up at the start of the loop.
Hardcore gamers will be thinking ‘this sounds like Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask’ - and yes that was, another game with a time loop that runs in real time.
But the difference here in, Deathloop is that the time loop is not strictly timed and is aimed to give players more time and freedom to take out these eight targets in one loop.
You use a combination of stealth, parkour, attack skills, gadgets and powers as in Arkane's previous Dishonored and Prey games to move around the island, avoid enemies and learn the patterns of Colt's targets to figure out the right order in which to eliminate them using guns, melee attacks, or the environment.
The premise sounds as mad as a box of frogs. But it works! It really, really works.
On so many levels Deathloop rips up convention with its highly original approach and just runs with it.
I have had the PS5 since launch and have long bemoaned the lack of exclusives and truly next gen games available in these columns. In fact I wrote here last month how I hoped Deathloop would fill the depressing void of quality true next gen titles.
It has done that. And then some.
There is so much Arkane should be lauded for here. Not least saving my PS5 from being listed on eBay.
The gameplay encourages you to actively try and master it and understand how best to use it to your advantage.
The storyline - as zany as it may sound - is built on a framework of brilliant writing akin to a top movie. This helps make the whole experiencing so utterly engrossing that you can lose hours playing and exploring the weird and wonderful world and the characters that inhabit it.
The graphics are jaw-dropping and for my money this is the first game that really starts to showcase the power available to developers making titles for PS5.
It has a cool retro vibe and art style which fits well with a wicked soundtrack and audio that is used to up the tension as you play.
Multiplayer is often an afterthought in new games like Deathloop. Something which feels tacked on at the last minute as the studio focuses on getting the main game right.
But not here. Multiplayer in Deathloop is packed full of excitement and can be brilliantly nerve-wracking and fraught - in a good way.
The crowning achievement, though, has to be how this breath of fresh air takes a host of ideas - many seemingly incompatible - and makes blends them together seamlessly. It laughs in the face of gaming convention.
As you play there are times when you think one or two elements of the gameplay could be a touch pointless. But then as you start to piece together the wider puzzle at large it all becomes clear just how genius Deathloop is.
On the face of it, Deathloop’s complexities should never appeal to a gamer like me who prefers a more linear video game experience. But this genuinely unique game is like no other you will have played. Deathloop is a work of art and a simply must have for all PS5 - and soon to be PC - gamers. In fact I’d go as far as to say it is THE reason to own a PS5 right now.