2021 has been an interesting year for gaming, with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S releasing in November 2020. Due to the current global situation, many games have been delayed, including games such as Halo Infinite, Far Cry 6, Kena: Bridge Of Spirits, and Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time Remake, giving players not much to play on their new consoles. Deathloop is set to kick off the Autumn/Winter period, with Bethesda’s fresh take on the FPS genre which centers around a time loop.
With the next-gen consoles lacking in terms of exclusive titles, is Deathloop the game we’ve all been desperately waiting for? Let’s find out.
Is Deathloop A PS5 Exclusive?
Microsoft closed a deal in March 2021 to acquire Bethesda and ZeniMax, however, the deal was made by Bethesda prior to the acquisition to make Deathloop a timed exclusive for the PlayStation 5, which is really great to see that they continued to honor their agreement even if it meant the game bypassing the Xbox for the time being.
The timed exclusive deal is said to be for one year, which means that the earliest that Deathloop could be released on the Xbox Series X|S is September 14th, 2022, the game won’t be released on either last-gen consoles, the PS4, and Xbox One.
Before we jump into the review, here are the PC requirements for PC players.
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: 64 bit Windows 10 version 1909 or higher
- Processor: Intel Core i7-9700K @ 3.60GHz or AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia RTX 2060 (6GB) or AMD Radeon RX 5700 (8GB)
- DirectX: Version 12
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 30 GB available space
- Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
- OS: 64 bit Windows 10 version 1909 or higher
- Processor: Intel Core i5-8400 @ 2.80GHz or AMD Ryzen 5 1600
- Memory: 12 GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GTX 1060 (6GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
- DirectX: Version 12
- Storage: 30 GB available space
What Is Deathloop About?
Deathloop is a first-person murder puzzle game that adds a fresh take of the tried and tested FPS genre with the game centering around time and a loop that sees the player relive the same day over and over but in new and exciting ways.
Players take control of Colt, who wakes up on a beach with amnesia, unable to remember how he wound up in the situation he is in, and how he is going to escape it.
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Colt then learns that he is stuck in a timeloop, set to relive the same day over the over again unless he can break the loop by taking out a group of people called Visionaries. Once they are dead then the loop will be broken.
So Is It Like Majora’s Mask?
I think we will see a lot of people trying to compare Deathloop to Majora’s Mask because that is one of the most well-known games that centers around time.
The way Deathloop works has some similarities to it but in a more linear manner.
In Majora’s Mask players have a three-day timer and need to reverse time before the end of the three days.
When this happens, the player still retains their knowledge as well as many key items needed to progress, as well as certain events only happening at certain points in the cycle.
Things are fairly similar when it comes to Deathloop, except players can choose four time periods throughout the day, with certain events only happening at certain times.
For example, an area of the map could be very quiet in the morning, whereas in the afternoon it could be packed with guards and enemies as a large music festival happens.
Visionaries can only be taken out in certain time periods, with them varying depending on which one you’re going after.
Players can explore the areas before the Visionary is there to gain intel and discover new things in the game.
If I had to compare Deathloop to any other time-related game I would say it resembles Konami’s Shadow Of Destiny/Memories more than Majora’s Mask, with that game having the player go to specific times to try and solve their own death.
How The Time Loop Works
Players start the game washed up on a beach at the start of a day, with no memory of how they got there.
Throughout the game, players can choose between four different time periods in the day, morning, noon, afternoon, and evening, with certain events playing out in each.
Each time period serves as its own unique mission in each area of the game, giving the players over 30 “missions” in the game.
Players will jump between them throughout the game, rather than it being a linear experience of playing through each of the four periods before moving on to the next area.
Choosing which area you go to next is very open too, giving players the option to explore the game as they choose.
Each Visionary has its own area, with them only appearing at certain times of the day.
This allows players to explore the area during other times of the day to learn more about the loop, the Visionary they’re going to face, as well as setting things up ready to take out the Visionary.
Three Strikes And You’re Out
The game operates on a three-live rule. When you jump into an area and time period, you are given three tries to succeed in it.
If you lose all three lives during the mission then the loop will reset and you will have to try that mission again, losing all of the progress that you made in the area.
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This is very similar to many games, so just try and think of it as you have three lives, the game tries to make it sound more complicated than it is, which confused me at first.
You have heard me mention the Visionaries many times throughout this review so far, so now is a perfect time to explain who they are.
The Visionaries serve as boss-type enemies in the game, with Colt tasked with taking them out.
By taking out all eight Visionaries in the same loop he will break the loop and be able to escape it and be able to go back to living a regular life rather than repeating the same day.
Each Visionary in the game has their own unique area, which serves as a level in the game, as well as each possessing their own unique abilities.
However, I never found any Visionaries to be that challenging. The game doesn’t have difficulty settings, instead, it is just a one size fits all difficulty.
Many times when I finally got to a Visionary I just reigned hell onto them with my Shotgun and other weapons and they died soon enough, the setup to the fight was certainly more exciting than the actual battle with the Visionary.
But, each Visionary drops a Slab, which grants players a unique ability when selected, such as invisibility, increased health, and the ability to teleport.
Here are all of the different Visionaries in the game.
“Resident asshole and chief financial backer of the Aeon Program. He holds a party every night where he and his rich guests laugh about all the horrible things they’ve done. Oh, and at this party, the main dish is people… Delicious. You can find Aleksis in Updaam at night.”
“Egor, one of the founders of the AEON Program, is obsessed with psychometry. He believes to be on the verge of a massive breakthrough, which makes him even more touchy than he normally is. Find Egor at the Complex at night.”
“Dr. Wenjie Evans is the brightest mind of the AEON Program. Her research enabled the creation of trinkets, slabs, and the time loop itself. Needless to say, she is taken much more seriously than her previously mentioned pseudo-scientific counterpart Egor. Wenjie runs her experiments in the afternoon at the Complex.”
“Charlie Montague is Blackreef’s entertainment and communications master. This world renowned fella created the island’s numerous gaming experiences, as well as the Minicom system that the Visionaries use to communicate.”
“Frank is the island’s DJ and resident celebrity. Once a very successful musician, he lived life hard and now kicks back at his fancy club. He also helps out with Blackreef’s security efforts.”
“Fia is the main artist of the AEON Program and creator of Blackreef’s over-the-top art style. Having ingested a veritable cornucopia of psychedelics just before the loop kicked off, she’s not quite all there. Or as she would put it: she’s there, and there, and everywhere else, at the same time, all the time.”
“A motivational speaker whose views on motivation are a little extreme, Harriet lives in Karl’s Bay with her loyal followers (this is really starting to sound like more of a cult…).”
“Blackreef’s scribe and head of security, Julianna is Colt’s archnemesis. You never know when she’ll show up to make an already stressful loop even more stressful. She’s got one particular goal: make Colt’s life a living hell.”
It Took A While For Deathloop To Click With Me
For the first hour or so I didn’t really know what to make of Deathloop, it just wasn’t really clicking with me.
Deathloop is an incredibly well-made first-person shooter, but I just couldn’t quite figure out the purpose of the timeloop.
To be honest, it still doesn’t make much sense and it is largely just a way to justify mechanics in the game and is made to sound more complicated than it is.
If the player dies in a loop three times then it resets and you have to start again. But, this is just the same as having three lives in a level in Super Mario, if you lose all three lives then you need to start again, as is the case with thousands of other titles.
Where it has the most impact is when it comes to weapons and items that you find in the game. If you don’t “infuse” them, which adds them to your inventory permanently, you will lose them when the day is complete and the loop resets.
But, you can only infuse so many items because it uses a currency of sorts called Residuum that you collect throughout a mission.
This means that you have to be mindful of what is worth saving and what you won’t miss when the loop resets.
After around an hour in, once things began to open up and it stopped being as linear when I was now given the option with how I played the game when it came to choosing which Visionaries to target, things began making much more sense to me.
So, if you find yourself slightly confused and the game isn’t clicking with you immediately, keep on playing because it is about to get a whole lot better.
Familiar And Satisfying Gun & Stealth Mechanics
Immediately upon getting into Deathloop, the gun and stealth mechanics felt very familiar to me, which made it incredibly easy to get into it. But, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the game reminded me of.
After much thinking and checking out other titles, I realized that the gunplay has a very similar feel to games such as Bioshock and Borderlands, despite Arkane Studios not working on either of them, along with the stealth mechanics of Dishonored, a series Arkane did develop.
So if you’ve played any of those games before then Deathloop should feel familiar enough that you can jump in and get used to the gameplay very quickly.
Just Enough Weapons To Not Be Confusing
What is satisfying gunplay without weapons to use it with? Deathloop features a variety of weapons and all of the types that you would expect from an FPS game, just with a more primitive and classic style to fit with the game’s 60s aesthetic.
Guns such as a pistol, SMG, minigun, shotgun, hunting rifle, and even a nail gun. Deathloop also features a few unique weapons including the Strelak Verse, a powerful burst firing pistol, and the Heritage Gun, a very devastating what that I won’t go into too much detail about so you can have fun with it yourself.
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Coupled with the traditional guns are various secondary items, including a machete for stealth and melee kills, multiple explosive weapons including grenades, and a hacking device that is used frequently throughout the game.
The Timeloop Makes Customization Confusing
To go along with the selection of weapons are many customization options called Trinkets. These are upgrades that improve the weapons they’re attached to, such as lowering the recoil, increasing the clip size, and improving the distance that it can be fired.
As mentioned earlier, throughout each loop players earn Residuum, which is granted by defeating enemies and acquiring it from items scattered throughout a mission.
At the end of a loop, players need to use their earned Residuum to infuse the Trinkets to weapons to add them permanently to it, otherwise when the loop resets all of them will disappear too.
This is similar to games such as Majora’s Mask, with things resetting when Link goes back in time, but some key items remain.
Players can also sacrifice weapons and items for Residuum if they don’t need them to help to be able to afford to infuse more Trinkets.
Overall, it is a great system but it can take some time to get used to. At times it does feel overly complicated, especially for someone new to the game as it becomes a key part of the game fairly quickly.
The good news is, with the difficulty not being punishing, don’t worry if you mess up your decisions. It won’t really play a huge factor in whether you win or lose a mission, and you can usually acquire most Trinkets again without much effort and they are scattered throughout every area of the game.
The Multiplayer Seems A Bit Pointless
A multiplayer element has been added to the game, which allows players to jump into other players’ games as Julianna, tasked with trying to take out Colt and ruin the player’s day.
Although it is a fun and interesting concept, it is something that I can’t see being overly popular with players.
It can be turned off to make the game just a single-player experience, and I think you will see more people trying to invade other player’s games, rather than players allowing it to happen.
While I occasionally will try and jump into another game to have some fun, when I was playing through the game I had it set to single-player mode because I just want to play through the story and don’t need any more hassle, and I think many other players will do this too, which makes the multiplayer redundant.
A Much Needed Next-Gen Game
Although the game didn’t really click with me in the first hour or so, once things started to fall in place for me I got completely sucked into the story of the game.
Over this last year or so my sleeping pattern has become really messed up due to lockdowns, which I have been trying really hard to correct over the last few weeks.
But, all of my hard work was swiftly undone by this game. As I sat down to play the game in the evening after receiving my review copy from Bethesda, I set myself a time limit for when I would call it a day and turn Deathloop off.
When my cut-off time approached the game started to really click with me, with the story beginning to make sense and hooking me.
Then I would tell myself, “I will do just take out this Visionary and then I will turn it off”, and then the conclusion of that mission would be exciting and I’d say, “Just this final one, and I will turn it off”. I ended up playing the game for over two hours longer than I intended to.
To me, that is the sign of a great game as the story, coupled with the solid gameplay and gun mechanics, kept me wanting to come back for more and more, even at the expense of sleep. But I will forgive you Bethesda, Deathloop was worth it.
NOTE: Deathloop was provided to The Click by Bethesda.
- Very familiar and satisfying gunplay
- A gripping story that makes you want to keep playing
- Stealth is so much fun
- It took a while for the game to click
- Slightly repetitive with a lot of visiting the same locations
- Customization can be confusing