Deathloop has so much going for it. The time loop mechanic allows you to relive the events of the day over and over, helping you learn what NPCs do, where they are, and manipulate events to help you reach your main goal. However, there’s a lot more to all of this. The entire game is a puzzle, but it’s nothing like the puzzles in games today. Instead, it’s like a puzzle in a game on the N64, PS1, or GameCube. There are no on-screen prompts to help you get from A to B or find the right NPC. You’ve got to remember it all, and I love that.
I think games today do a little more handholding than is necessary. They take players through everything, removing a lot of the challenge that would have been present in the past. This might just be something that I’ve noticed because I’ve been gaming for way too long. I remember picking up a game and having to write down certain things, or follow written guides to get through them. The challenges and puzzles were too much for my brain to handle, so I had to have a reference to use while I played.
Deathlopp feels like one of those games. There are certain actions that are great for specific paths, while others are a bit pointless. You can create your own path through the game using the knowledge you gain and avoid using what the game tells you from each mission. To be fair, the game doesn’t offer to hold your hand. It gives you all the tools you need, and then lets you figure out how to complete the goal by yourself. There are constants and variables, and it’s the constants that you need to pay attention to.
I really like this aspect of the game, but I don’t think it’s for everyone. As I’ve said before, this is part of the game’s design that I think most people won’t get on with and will actually find quite jarring. It’s unfortunate, but also an essential part of this Arkane Studios outing. Without these aspects, the game wouldn’t be the same, and that just means that some people have to miss out on it.