Halfway through Dishonored 2, Deathloop developer Arkane’s earlier assassination fable, you stumble upon the heralded Clockwork Mansion. It’s a remarkable piece of game development; a shifting, morphing millionaire’s house where the rooms morph and shift around each other like an insane Rubik’s Cube.
Deathloop feels like the Clockwork Mansion ethos in all caps. Its overall construction is of a similar startling intricacy, except that its moving parts are not mechanical walls and rotating stairs, but time. Its Groundhog Day-esque loops are admittedly nothing new, but rarely has the concept been used in games with such mechanical panache. Multiple timelines, player abilities, and discoveries are layered on top of each other until you have Deathloop’s fabulous temporal mille-feuille. You may not understand the recipe or the technical skills that go into making it, but you know it’s absolutely delicious.
You are apparently amnesiac Colt Vahn waking up on the sun-dappled shores of Blackreef Island. It’s a brilliantly twisted place; In each of the four districts, you might find a cavernous hangar housing a cult, an exclusive members’ club outfitted with 70’s psychedelics, sprawling laboratories, or a high-rise block that turns into a deadly real-life RPG became. The island is patrolled by heavily armed “Eternalists”, mask-wearing hedonists straight from Clockwork Orange, decked out in lilac turtlenecks and armed with assault rifles. It’s a journey.
Blackreef was intentionally placed in a one-day time loop, with the island resetting at midnight with reverse death and consequence. Colt, for reasons that emerge from his own memory, took it upon himself to break the loop and escape the island forever. That means killing the eight eccentric “visionaries” who run Blackreef in a single day. Colt is an efficient assassin and none of the visionaries alone should deliver him to a lot of effort, but bringing them together is the real trick. The whole island is put on high alert by Colt’s sort of soulmate, Julianna, who is determined to protect the loop and sends out murderous Eternalists to track you down. Or hunt yourself.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gaming/features/deathloop-review-temporal-thriller-gamemaking-stylish-smart/ temporal thriller is gamemaking at its most stylish, smart and satisfying