Is this more than Dishonored Déjà vu?
If at first you don’t succeed Die, Die Again. From the team at Arkane Lyon comes an innovative take on first-person action. “Deathloop” transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down targets all over the island in an effort to put an end to the cycle once and for all, and remember, if at first you don’t succeed die, die again.
Deathloop is more than your standard FPS. It puts you into a world where your character Colt who is stuck in a 24 hour timeloop where each day he wakes up on a beach and is trying to constantly break the loop by killing a number of targets within the 24 hours but working out the best way to do that will take a lot of learning about your targets such as their schedules, changing key elements so they end up in different places between loops and many other variables. Oh, and you are hunted relentlessly and randomly by a rival assassin Julianna, who wants to stop you at any cost.
The game world is broken up into 4 different area which all can be chosen to be explored at different times of the day such as morning, noon, afternoon and evening where different targets and different timed events will occur depending on the location. Colt begins each area from a series of underground tunnels only he can access, and you’ll need to leave through the same way after completing what you need to do during that portion of the day. Julianna can hack your exits though and you’ll need to unlock them with your hacking device while keeping an eye out for her.
The game definitely has Dishonored vibes with the way it controls and the abilities you earn such as Shift and Aether which can make you teleport short distances and turn invisible for a short period respectively. You can gain these by killing your targets and nabbing them but to keep them between loops you’ll need to upgrade them before either dying 3 times in a main area or until the loop comes to an end again. There are more abilities besides the ones I’ve mentioned that are a lot of fun to use but it’s better to see it in action than me simply explaining it. I really don’t want to ruin the fun too much. The DualSense also comes into its own here with amazing use of its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, resulting in a more authentic shooting experience.
The same can be said for weapons, trinkets and character perks. You’ll need a vast arsenal to have the smallest chance of pulling off the ultimate kill, which also can be done in numerous ways much like killing targets in the Hitman series. Each target has their own quirks, weaknesses that you can exploit and so on so finding that out will definitely give you the upper hand. You can choose to be stealthy if you wish, although Julianna may throw a spanner in the works if you aren’t careful, and your game can even be invaded from online opponents playing her if you have the option enabled.
That’s right, Julianna can be played as you or others to invade their games and ruin their chances of ending their loops. Julianna has a few of her own skills at her disposal, enemies won’t attack her, and she can even point them towards Colt if she spots him. Julianna only gets 1 life though so ending Colt with his 3 lives is a challenge, but not impossible. I did feel a bit guilty about ending someone’s run, but it was fun to hunt him down at the same time.
Visually, Deathloop is a stunning game with a great design choice that fits within the Arkane games. It may look a lot like Dishonored, but it’s so much more than that, thanks to its charming appearance that definitely gives off James Bond vibes. The game runs at a solid framerate depending on what options you choose, and I didn’t come across any glitches during my time besides one solitary crash.
The story itself is brilliant and the voice-acting between Colt and Julianna is full of superb, hilarious banter. There’s also an incredible soundtrack that also has Bond vibes, especially the Déjà vu track that feels like it was literally ripped from a classic spy film.
Arkane Lyon changes the FPS scene with this incredible shooter that despite borrowing elements from Dishonored, has its own style and substance that makes it one of the most unique games I’ve played in years. It’s been one of 2021’s biggest surprises for me and I really hope we get some form of sequel down the road and be stuck in another loop all over again.