The upcoming offering from Arkane Studios, Deathloop, has players intrigued for its apparently more action-oriented take on the studio’s usual real-sim formula. Whereas the Dishonored games tend to push players toward pacifism with consequences for killing an abundance of enemies, Deathloop‘s gameplay appears to revel in the possible violence. Ever since its announcement, the basic principle behind Deathloop has been known – the player is stuck in a time loop, and the objective is to work out how to kill all eight of the game’s targets in the course of one cycle.
While many are on board with that elevator pitch alone, some have been waiting for a look at the minute-to-minute and hourly gameplay loop of Deathloop. The extent of the time loop was still largely a mystery until a recent Deathloop gameplay preview shed some light on how the cycles ashore the island of Blackreef actually works. Although protagonist Colt is still stuck in a time loop that resets the entire island at midnight, it does not work in the traditional Groundhog Day fashion, or how roguelike games like Returnal utilize the trope.
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Players will still have to play through parts of Deathloop repeatedly to learn how the loop works, but there is some agency on the player’s part in regards to where and when the current cycle takes place. Instead of starting in the same place at the beginning of each loop, the structure has been compared to that of Hitman and its individual levels, although Deathloop‘s sections directly interact with one another.
How Deathloop’s Time Loop Works
In Deathloop, the island of Blackreef is made up of four districts, and the days are separated into four time slots for gameplay purposes. When a player is starting a cycle, they can choose which district they want to go to, and what time of day it will be. The eight targets of Colt’s Deathloop assassination attempts will be in different districts at different times of day, though these routines can be affected by the player. In fact, that’s where the puzzle-like Hitman comparisons come in.
In order eliminate all eight of Deathloop’s targets in one loop, players will have to work out how to get them in close enough proximity that they can be taken out before the end of the day. Each district will have different things going on at different times, and the entire island will have to be explored in the various time slots in order to figure out exactly how each setting can be manipulated to the player’s advantage. The limited PS5 exclusive from Arkane has been delayed to September, but the wait might be worth it since Deathloop is one of this year’s more intriguing releases in terms of design.
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