I’m a massive fan of the Dishonored games from Arkane Lyon, with both titles appearing my Year in Games lists, and I can’t hide my disappointment that Dishonored 2 didn’t do the numbers to allow for another entry, with the series currently “resting”. Fortunately Arkane Lyon haven’t been resting, and are moving forwards with DEATHLOOP coming this holiday season for PlayStation 5 and PC. For me, DEATHLOOP was the highlight of Sony’s big PlayStation 5 unveiling, read on to find out why.
I’ll admit, I was hooked as soon as I saw lead man Colt blink to a roof ledge after a precision shot took down a bad guy. A move which instantly serves as a reminder of the joys of Dishonored and shows that Arkane know that the exploration of that assassination series can be just as useful in DEATHLOOP, another game about assassination. Hitman this isn’t, but it looks to be joyously it’s own thing.
Despite being set on the island of Blackreef in a world full of 60s vibes, and one that is also full of guns, the action looks set to let you get up close and personal with melee weapons, while also allowing you to let rip with other powers that hark back to Corvo’s adventure. Unlike the Dishonored titles which saw you jump between grand locations, DEATHLOOP is focused on Blackreef, and knowing how good Arkane are when it comes to world building, I’m going to enjoy exploring every square inch of the island.
The other inhabitants of the island, among their partying and debauchery, are ready and willing to take on Colt and for him to restart his time loop. Groundhog Day this isn’t, as revealed in this developer blog Colt must eliminate eight targets on the island to break the loop before the day ends. Missing one will restart the loop, and of course so will death.
Arkane reveal that you will have to manipulate the world around you to solve the puzzle that is the island and its loop. There will be a range of main and side missions to complete in your own order, and to help you uncover new routes around the island and increase Colt’s powers.
The elements of time manipulation instantly remind me of A Crack in the Slab, while the tease of the island being a puzzle by itself, well surely that reminds every one of the Clockwork Mansion.
Of course, DEATHLOOP is more than just an action-oriented evolution of the Dishonored formula laid out across a single island. Julianna Blake is a rival assassin of supernatural persuasion with a carefree attitude to life, living in the loop to have her own fun, and play games with Colt.
Julianna though won’t always be following some AI routines; she can be controlled by other players taking the chance to infiltrate your story. In the developer blog, Game Director describes giving players the chance to play as the primary antagonist as a:
great way to really ramp up the level of trickery, tension, chaos and just plain unpredictability that we love in games like this. We feel that our game systems uniquely position us to allow for the confrontation between two players to be one not just of skill, but of wits, creativity and an open display of your personality.
The focus is on the campaign and the story. And that campaign can be played with Julianna controlled only by the AI, or – and this is our recommendation – by a mix of A.I. and random players to experience the range of unpredictability and chaos that Julianna is capable of.
Even if you turn off the PvP aspect, the different playstyles offered will ensure an interesting singleplayer adventure. Colt has his supernatural abilities highlighted in the trailer and can make use of hacking devices, while Julianna is working alongside the other inhabitants of Blackreef and can take on the appearance of any NPC.
It sounds wild, and while Dishonored is taking a breather, I’m very pleased to have another adventure from the minds at Arkane Lyon to look forward to.