I’ve never played a game like Deathloop before. More accurately, I’ve played a lot of games that are a little bit like it – Dishonored, Hitman, Outer Wilds, and even Dark Souls among them – but never anything that fits so many interesting ideas together to create something so fascinatingly unique. Its ever-repeating day, doomed to loop until you can break it by murdering eight targets, is a playground for impactful gunplay, absorbing investigation work, satisfying experimentation, and even tense multiplayer standoffs. Developer Arkane Studios’ precise calibration of these pieces make Deathloop an intricately built clockwork machine that doesn’t so much quietly hum, but rather confidently roars.
Your eight targets, known as Visionaries, have taken up residence on Blackreef; a cold and grey island made appealingly vibrant by dashes of 1960s fashion, architecture, and technology. Awakening every morning on its freezing shore is your protagonist Colt, a consistently amusing and understandably sweary gunslinger whose amnesia prevents him from knowing how he got here or for how long he’s been looping. Surprisingly for the scenario, there’s no ticking clock snapping at your heels as you try to end the cycle by taking all your targets out before the day resets and they’re all resurrected. Deathloop’s smartest decision is to split its day into four time periods – morning, noon, afternoon, and night – and you can remain in each of them for as long or as short a time as you’d like. You choose one of Blackreef’s four unique districts to visit in each period, and you can take your time to thoroughly explore and crack some of Deathloop’s most elusive optional secrets without the fear of time running out.