Deathloop is a first person shooter with some unusual mechanics. With players trying to break a time loop by taking out eight different targets before the day ends, Black Reef will mix danger with the residents’ overwhelming urge to party the day away. Death is a very real possibility, and Arkane has explained how they’ll be implementing their own spin on a respawn mechanic. They also explain the many ways arch-enemy Julianna can change your game.
The island of Black Reef is stuck in a weird time loop, something of which its residents are all too aware. As such, they just want to party the day away… repeatedly. For Colt it feels like a prison and he’s eager to break the cycle. The residents don’t want the day to end and they’re perfectly willing to take Colt out at the first opportunity they get to stop him achieving his goal. This makes the island incredibly dangerous and death is inevitable. This is where developer Arkane’s “own spin on respawns” comes into play. Players get three reprises (or lives) per loop. If they find their previous body, they can recover all of the items they held when they died. If those lives are used up, the loop begins anew.
Julianna Blake is just one of those ways a player’s quest will come to a premature end. She’s one of the game’s eight targets, known as Visionaries, that must be taken out in a single loop for the loop to be broken. She’s also actively trying to stop that from happening. Her actions could be as harmless as taunting Colt through the island’s tannoy system, scaring him by randomly appearing and disappearing, or as deadly as trying to kill him. A second player can enter the game by assuming the role of Julianna, and how they play her is totally up to them. They could even be friendly and drop off weapons for a player to use. Either way, a klaxxon will tell Colt when a second player has entered the game and is now playing as Julianna.
When protagonist Colt first awakens on the shore of Black Reef, he begins with “a cool jacket, a horrible hangover, and a rusty SMG.” Players can find better weapons and unique powers as they take down enemies, especially if they were caught unawares. Weapons can be upgraded by collecting trinkets and will offer unique feedback through the DualSense controller. Unique abilities, some of which have returned from the Dishonored franchise, are gained through finding slabs and can be upgraded twice by assassinating the same target on subsequent loops. Colt can only carry three weapons at once and only has access to two powers at a time. Each loop will allow players to carry over “certain things” between them, although they didn’t elaborate on what these were.
Blackreef consists of four distinct areas, each of which offers plenty of verticality and “superhuman exploration”. Creative director Dinga Bakaba explains each area’s dense sprawl as “a level like Dishonored 2‘s Edge of the World, and made even bigger”. There are also four different time zones in each day, although the 24 hour day doesn’t play out in real time. Each period has its own stories, activities, and accessible areas. Visionary locations will also change throughout the day. The game’s quick menu can let players switch between each time zone, but some actions can have consequences that need to be considered. For example, “a character saved earlier in the day will unlock a door somewhere else later, giving you access to a new part of the island.”
Despite Microsoft’s acquisition of Bethesda, Deathloop will remain a timed exclusive for the PlayStation 5. After a couple of delays, the game is now due to be released on September 14. Available as a standard edition or a Deluxe Edition, players who pre-order the game will get the Royal Protector Machete, “Storm Rider” Colt character skin, and a trinket.[Source: PlayStation Blog]
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