Deathloop is set on the fictional Blackreef Island, the base of the operations of technology company Aeon. Awakening on the beach with a brilliant headache, our protagonist Colt pulls himself to his feet and starts to see... words. Floating in the air. Guiding him to where he needs to go. That's a first.
His memories of the night before crystallise and he finds out the scale of his situation - he's trapped in a time loop on this wave-beaten bit of rock and everyone out there is out to kill him. The only way to break the loop is to eliminate the eight Visionaries that have created this paradise/prison.
Naturally, that's one of those things that's more easily said than done. Colt's knowledge and expertise with mysterious powers and an enviable arsenal of weapons grows with every failure and his threat to the smooth operation of the island rises. With a few loops under your belt, you'll be a pro, but there's no shame in asking for some handy hints on the way. So, here's our guide to getting the most out of Deathloop. Don't worry - there are no story spoilers!
Check out the game in action below, showing off the gaudy environments and the lethal array of weapons and abilities at Colt's disposal.
Let's get this party started
In the first five hours of the game, you'll travel through an entire day on this dreadful island and across its different districts. It's very tempting to veer off the path that the story has presented and hunt for clues. I'm speaking from experience here as I'm always the one to march off in the opposite direction to the objective.
This isn't the way to do things in Deathloop. Not in the beginning, at least. Follow the instructions the game is giving you irrespective of how much you want to find out about the mystery as fast as possible. Otherwise, you're essentially like a little pooch straining against the leash on their walk. I know you want to investigate. But, trust me, rein it in a bit.
The error of your ways
If you love a roguelike or if you're a dab hand at Dishonored, I'm going to ask you to chuck all of that muscle memory out of the window right now. This isn't a roguelike nor is it Dishonored, so don't play it like it is one. To get to grips with your guns and abilities, throw yourself into the party with vigor, mowing down Eternalists and dodging out of the way of turrets.
I definitely recommend sticking with the slab Reprise for the start of the game as you'll be resurrected somewhere out of harm's way if you die. Be aware that this perk only works twice and then that's it.
Furthermore, Karl's Bay, The Complex, Updaam and Fristad Rock are extremely dangerous yet the populace have adapted to these harsh conditions. You'll be able to find automatic health stations and ammo dotted about with abundance as well as new guns and trinkets. Honestly, if you make a misstep and Colt meets a sticky end on the streets of Blackreef, it's not the end of the world. What's the worst that could happen?
Throw the bombs out with the bathwater
Well. While Colt will return to Blackreef with everything he's learned in a run, his weapons, trinkets and slabs will not. Trinkets are upgrades for Colt's character or guns that offer him an advantage - they're like Bonecharms in Dishonored. Some might give you a speed boost while crouched and others might reduce the recoil of the gun you attach it to.
Again, it's important to remember that Deathloop isn't a linear game and losing something to the loop isn't a permanent problem. You'll have the opportunity to come back to these locations and remember where certain guns are at certain points in the day.
View weapons, trinkets and slabs as a buffet that you're picking from. You might like to try this one out this time round but you do like the look of that too. The only thing I would say is save any slabs that you can't go without. This is how.
It's all Blackreef to me
You'll discover that there's a strange resource called Residuum that is generated and harvested on Blackreef Island. This, which is easily spotted with a rainbow glow hovering about different objects, lets you infuse your equipment to prevent it from disappearing with the sunrise. Deathloop kind of just slaps a wall of text in front of you to explain what it is and how it works and when to use it. I'm essentially going to do the same thing but without that slick '60s style.
Residuum comes from these glowy objects. As you travel through the level, you'll gain more and more of it as you stumble on these knick knacks. If you die, you'll lose it all - unless you're using Reprise, which is why I recommend it for the start. When you head home to Colt's hideout, you'll have an option to spend Residuum on guns, trinkets and slabs. You'll also be able to sacrifice things that you're not a fan of for extra Residuum.
Different levels of gear require different amounts of Residuum to save them for the next loop. Any Residuum you don't use up will expire with the next loop, too, so don't be stingy. And that's it.
Listen to Colt and Julianna
Men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Or something. What matters is that the two central characters, Colt and Julianna, are on Blackreef and at each other's throats. At the start of the level, they antagonise each other through the radio and while Julianna is a hilarious foil to Colt's blundering through the early parts of the game, she also serves another purpose.
If you're ever not sure of what's going on in the story, Julianna will reiterate it in much more chatty and accessible language compared to the info dump that the UI gives you. There's a saying from an enterprising tanuki that it's better to learn through living than through listening but in the case of Deathloop, your worst enemy has got a few nuggets of wisdom to share. Funny that.
And, that's that. Well, as much as I'm able to tell you without spoiling the intriguing story that weaves through Deathloop's times and zones. It arrives for PC and PlayStation 5 on September 14th and there'll be the possibility for some anarchic multiplayer antics in its invasion mode with Julianna.
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