Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Deathloop

Go To
"So... protocol is in effect. Protect your Visionaries, kill Colt, and have a fulfilling day."

"This place isn't a paradise. It's a prison. Out here we're trapped... in this endless, eternal cycle. And I can't let this go on any longer."
— Colt

DEATHLOOP is a Roguelite First-Person Shooter Immersive Sim, developed by Arkane Studios Lyon team for PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Windows PCs, and later released on the Xbox Series X|S.

You play as Colt, a Professional Killer trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop on the mysterious island of Blackreef, where Colt and the island's villainous inhabitants hunt one another endlessly in an unending 'party' of debauchery and violence. Using your growing Hyperspace Arsenal of weapons and supernatural abilities, you'll need to take out the 8 "Visionaries" ruling the stunning, chaotic island before the day resets in order to break the loop once and for all. By far the most dangerous Visionary is Julianna, a rival assassin whose sole mission is to take Colt out and keep the loop going... and the thing is, someone else can play as her too.

It released on September 14, 2021 for PlayStation 5 and PC via Steam and the Bethesda Launcher.

Previews: Welcome to Blackreef, DEATHLOOP Explained

"DEATHLOOP" provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Some eternalists are strapped with explosives and will throw themselves at Colt or any gun turrets he has commandeered. There is also a purple-tier Trencher shotgun that will make enemies explode on killshot.
  • Actionized Sequel: The core gameplay is essentially "Dishonored with guns". Rather than being an immersive sim with limited health, magic and ammo as well as a Chaos system that penalises players for killing Deathloop does away with all that and encourages players to go in all guns blazing. Rather than having a traditional linear narrative it's a more arcadey experience that encourages players to repeat the same missions over and over.
  • Ambiguous Ending: If at the end you commit to breaking the loop once and for all, you wake up on the beach one last time. Juliana stands over you with a gun to your face like she promised, but she finds herself unable to shoot you and cloaks herself as she walks away. And the sky around you is a rather bizarre swirl of orange and the sea has dried up. The game ends without explaining the significance of this, though considering the game takes place in the same universe as Dishonored, it's likely not good.
  • Amnesiac Hero: While Colt retains his memory from previous played loops it's quite clear he's been trapped in the loop for far longer than that, and he intends to find out why.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The only way to unlock new outfits for Colt is to play as Juliana, in order to incentivize players to try the multiplayer option.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: A few are given to Colt to mitigate some of the trickier issues of actually playing a time loop.
    • After Opening the Sandbox, the gameplay portion where Colt acquires his basic kit is skipped, and he starts at the map selection screen.
    • The Reprise ability allows for Colt to die twice in a given area before he is forced to restart the day. It will rewind time as far as necessary to put Colt in a stable area and gives a few seconds of near-invisibility, making it incredibly unlikely to just drop you back into a deathtrap.
    • Reprise gets reset if you manage to kill Juliana and absorb her residuum ghost, which can offset the trouble an invasion can do to your planned schedule.
    • If the player finds a password for a safe or a door, there is a button that the player can hit to automatically enter in the code.
    • The game goes to lengths to point out that time does not actually pass within an area until Colt retreats back to his tunnels, allowing for pressure-free exploration.
    • If the player does not want to deal with an invading Julianna controlled by a random player with a varying level of skill, they can select offline mode and Julianna will be controlled by a bot.
    • If the player lands a machete swing while in stealth, the game automatically performs the quieter, more certain execution instead.
    • Once the Hackamajig locks onto a target, the player does not need to keep looking at it and is mostly free to move around without breaking contact. If contact is broken, the progress is saved.
    • Should Julianna disconnect from the game this counts as a death, meaning the player can still obtain a slab upgrade, residium and any used Reprise charges.
    • Julianna always announces her arrival when she invades a game so the player knows to watch out for her. The location of her jamming signal is also marked on the player's HUD.
    • Julianna players are alerted when Colt starts to hack their jamming signal giving them the opportunity to find him and force a confrontation before he can run away. The hack takes a significant amount of time but cuts Colt some slack in allowing him to keep his progress if he's forced to leave and return.
    • It's generally impossible to fail a mission outright, with a few exceptions such as Charlie's games and Fia's reactor (which are just undone with every Loop anyway). Your targets won't ever leave the map or move to an impenetrable location so if you're seen you can always just gun down every character on the map.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Residuum (pronounced "Res-idj-oo-um") is an otherworldly energy that Colt can encounter before finding out what it is, and learning how to collect the material and infuse objects with it to persist with him between loops is the final step of the game-beginning tutorial. The material is also what was harnessed by Dr. Wenjie Evans to create the Slabs and Trinkets that give new and/or augmented superhuman abilities to the populace on Blackreef.
  • Assassin Outclassin': A foundational element of the game's premise. Colt and Julianna are rival assassins locked in a time loop who are trying to enact this trope on each other. Julianna reveals that she was actually Blackreef's archivist before Colt decided to break the loop and started killing her again and again in his attempts to do so before she got sick of it and started utilizing the Mental Time Travel powers they both share to learn how to fight back, eventually starting to like killing Colt again and again in the hunt before the game 'starts'. When the player gains control of an amnesiac Colt, Julianna has become the far better fighter between them, despite Colt's own skills, and he has to learn as much as he can about Blackreef's resources, weapons and how to use them against her before she kills him and restarts the loop.
  • Attack Failure Chance: There's a mechanic where several of its weapons can jam if used too often, meaning Colt has to stop in order to un-jam them.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Many of the unique weapons have interesting gimmicks but fail to be as useful as certain variants of the standard gear, with most players preferring a silenced sidearm over the fully auto Constancy Automatic SMG or an explosive Rapier rifle over the Sepulchra Breteira.
    • Dual Wielding eats up two of the player's three weapon slots, has long reload times, can exhaust ammo quickly if weapons of the same type are used, prevents the player using gadgets or slabs with their off-hand and requires multiple trinket slots to be effective.
    • In other stealth games the Nail Gun would be incredibly powerful being a silent source of ranged kills, but here silenced submachineguns are easy to come by and work for stealth and combat. High rarity nailguns compensate by having useful alternate functions such as revealing nearby enemies or disabling security systems, but with only three weapon slots to go by it can be hard to justify bringing a utility weapon.
    • Julianna's Masquerade power allows her to swap her appearance with another NPC or with Colt. The idea is likely to blend into a crowd for an assassination or take the place of a Visionary but a number of factors make this less than useful:
      • NPCs move in very stiff, predictable ways so simply moving or looking around or taking a weapon out is going to immediately tip off the Colt player, assuming they aren't already just gunning down every Eternalist they see. Julianna also won't perform any of the idle animations or environmental interactions real NPCs use so even standing still won't necessarily work as a disguise.
      • The effect is broken if the copied NPC dies, meaning you can't complete the illusion by copying the enemy, taking their weapon and assuming their place.
      • The Colt player's objective marker will still show the actual Visionary you copied and they won't change their behaviour or location, meaning the ruse will become obvious quickly.
    • The Splashdown trinket triggers an explosion whenever the player makes a sizeable fall. As well as potentially breaking stealth this doesn't negate fall damage, meaning you risk damaging yourself in the process and leaving yourself easy prey for enemies.
  • Bag of Spilling: As per the time loop, Colt starts every day with all of his equipment and gear taken away, since he woke up on the beach with nothing. This is subverted with the infusion mechanic, as Colt can infuse an object with Residuum, allowing him to keep weapons, slabs, and trinkets between the loops.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Several of the Visionaries end up in a First Day that's closer to an Ironic Hell than paradise:
    • Frank Spicer: Learns to his dismay that the time-altering properties of the Anomaly can't restore his voice, leaving him unable to produce new music. He spends all his time in a radio booth spinning his old hits and bitterly reminiscing on his salad days.
    • Charlie Montague: Lobotomizes himself to create 2-Bit, leaving him possibly mentally and definitely emotionally handicapped. What's more, he was encouraged to do this by his girlfriend Fia, who dumps him, mocks him, and beats him every afternoon.
    • Fia Zborowska: It's implied the impermanence of the loop eventually drives her even crazier than she was before, as none of her artworks survive to the next day. By the time the game starts, she's rigging a quarter of the island to explode for her latest "masterpiece." She also started the loop high as a kite, and may have semi-Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory because of it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Colt can either abandon his ideals and replace them with Julianna's, remaining with her in the loop for eternity with the hint that this may happen all over again, or stick to his principles and destroy the loop, in the process alienating himself from the only family he has and seemingly ending up in an apocalyptic wasteland. The Taking a Third Option ending is no better either, as Colt merely puts off making the choice for another cycle. The Golden Loop update makes adds some cheer to the break the loop ending, as it extends the ending to show Colt, 2-Bit, Pick, and some other Eternalists leaving Blackreef on a boat.
  • Black Comedy: Between the number of traps you can set off, the difficulty curve of the game, and Colt and Julianna's bantering, this is almost a given.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Complex at night is very close. Egor expels everyone else from the area while he celebrates his discovery, leaving only himself, a small thicket of Eternalists near the entrance, the possibility of an invasion from Juliana, and many, many fixed defences and traps.
  • Boring, but Practical: While the machete lacks the flash and style of the guns Colt finds all over Blackreef, it kills most mooks in two or three hits, never has to be reloaded, and is completely silent. Which makes it a much better option over most of the weapons you'll get.
    • Players will typically eschew more elaborate mods or dual-wielding in favour of a silenced LIMP-19 which can pop off groups of enemies from stealth and even be effective in an all-out fight if the player is good at lining up headshots.
  • The Chessmaster: Justified by Colt's ability to retain memories from previous loops. There's never enough time for Colt to pick the Visionaries off one by one, so he has to manipulate events in order to create more time efficient assassination plans.
  • Clown-Car Base: Downplayed. Generally speaking there's a finite number of Eternalists on a given map. Loud noises and radio operators can call for reinforcements, but this just causes enemies in a wider radius to alert to your current position. If you win a firefight, that area is secure. That said, some scripted events (primarily, killing a Visionary) will repopulate the map, so escaping an assassination is never going to be too easy.
  • Combo Rifle: The Strelak Verso are a pair of pistols that can be joined together to form a burst-fire SMG.
  • Company Cross References: Throughout the game, you can find (sadly unplayable) vector-graphics arcade machines based on Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Dishonored, and Wolfenstein.
  • Crapsack World: According to Julianna and Egor, this is what the world outside Blackreef is like. Given that this is in a Shared Universe with Dishonored, they're probably not wrong.
    • If you break the loop it's heavily implied that the world has reached an apocalyptic state during the centuries Colt spent there.
  • Creator Thumbprint: The game reuses a lot of mechanics and abilities from Dishonored as well as the collapsible turrets from Prey (2017). Colt's Amnesiac Dissonance is also reminiscent of Morgan Yu from Prey (albeit that was produced by a different studio within Arkane).
  • Cult of Personality: The Eternalists, an army of deluded psychos who venerate the Visionaries for allowing them to live forever through the loop.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Colt has that going for him, in an exasperated Only Sane Man kind of way.
    Julianna: [describing Blackreef's ridiculous violence levels] It's totally normal. Death is a typical physiological experience in this place.
    Colt: I hate to break it to you, but there's nothing normal about this fuckin' island!
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying as Colt causes him to teleport back to a safe location far away from where you died. This ability makes dying a viable strategy for going back into stealth, escaping other players invading your game, and quickly returning to certain locations after luring enemies away. The only limitations are that it can only be done twice (unless gameplay settings are altered), after which you are looped back to the beginning of the day next death, and you drop all Residuum you have accumulated at the time at the spot you were felled (or the nearest accessible spot in some cases, like falling into the freezing water), which you will have to make an effort to reclaim.
  • Determinator: Both Colt and Julianna are each as equally stubborn and determined as the other to break/protect the loop, and aware that their opposite number is very much focused on doing whatever they can to prevent that exact outcome, with only death itself being able to temporarily halt their attempts to alter/maintain the cycle. It's in part why Colt remains trapped in an eternal loop where everybody's out for his blood— Julianna always wakes up before him and sets in motion events to turn the whole island against Colt and persistently does whatever she can to hinder his attempts to advance or make headway in figuring out the necessary steps to break the cycle, no matter how monotonous things should get for her to do it over and over again. She does express exasperation at Colt sometimes making the same mistakes over and over again but maintains relentless focus on always stopping him no matter what. In effect, the closest thing to a Big Bad the game has is Julianna's resolute willpower to protect the loop at all costs, as she's the one that ultimately causes the cycle to repeat the same steps whenever Colt 'wakes up'. Julianna's similarities to Colt's own stubbornness makes more sense when they're revealed to be Father and Daughter.
  • Dramatic Irony: All of the enemies are are aware of the time loop, but most of them, including all of the Visonaries except Juliana, seem to think that they're only on the first loop. Colt never bothers to try to explain this to anyone, though it's unlikely that would change anything.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: Called "loop stress". Its exact value can't be seen in-game, but higher values mean more aggressive and attentive Eternalists, but more and better loot. It goes up when Visionaries are killed, decays slightly at the start of each day, and drops sharply if Colt runs out of Reprises and dies.
  • Early Game Hell: Until you get infusions and start building up your abilities, it can definitely be this.
    • Applies to a greater extent with Julianna and for significantly longer. Where Colt can find and infuse new weapons, trickets and slabs as he chooses Julianna can only slowly unlock them at random by levelling up, meaning it may take a very long time for players to obtain their preferred loadout. Her personal Slab is also significantly less useful than Colt's meaning she starts at a disadvantage in a direct fight.
  • Everybody Lives: Once the Loop is broken, everyone who died the previous day will wake up one final time to the new world. In the extended ending, we see all of the Visionaries and their various reactions to the loop being broken. And despite many of them being pissed about the situation, they are all apparently content to let Colt leave the island alive (a few random Eternalists even join him). Though given that none of them ever remember the loop, it's highly likely none of them aside from Julianna even realize he's responsible..
  • Evil vs. Evil: Subverted. The Visionaries weren't good people to begin with, but it's not entirely clear at first as to why Colt snapped and decided to start repeatedly murdering his friends while he and Julianna have duels with high collateral damage all over Blackreef, making it easy to believe this trope is in effect. But while searching for the RAK Passwords, it's revealed through one of his divergences that Colt never truly believed in the Eternalist Movement and only joined Egor and the AEON Program in the misplaced hope that he could use them to develop a way to go back in time and reunite with his late lover Lila and their daughter Julianna after having lost them both to being trapped in the first time loop for 17 years. But once it became clear that he had inadvertently helped trap not only himself, but Julianna in another faulty time loop instead, Colt became determined to free everyone from this hedonistic cycle of senseless violence and death by whatever means necessary. Making Colt's conflict with the Visionaries more Grey vs Black than initially believed.
  • Faceless Goons: The Eternalists, the foot soldiers opposing Colt, each wear a pretty eerie mask resembling a human face painted bright colors.
  • The Fog of Ages: It turns out that the loop has been going on for at least a few decades over a century if not longer, and that the cause of Colt's memory loss is from an overload of information which leads the mind to start deleting information to compensate. There is an implication that the others on the island aside from Colt and Julianna may be suffering from a more extreme version of this, stopping them from remembering ANYTHING between loops (Julianna uses the term Sundowning to refer to their memory loss. This is an actual term used for a behavior common in dementia patients.) Julianna apparently discovered a mental exercise that has allowed her to retain her memory for over a century however, which is why she remembers everything.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Multiplayer is presented as just yet more Loops except you control Julianna this time. Switching back over to singleplayer can result in radio chatter acknowledging the multiplayer loops (such as Colt gloating if Julianna got killed, or Julianna rubbing it in if she got a win streak.)
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: An oversight on the Last-Second Ending Choice won't register Colt's death if done a conventional way (i.e. other than jumping off the platform), forcing the day to loop as normal instead of breaking the loop.
    • Julianna has canonically killed off the Visionaries before for fun, explaining how she is able to possess their Slabs. Players are unable to take mods or Slabs from dead visionaries, likely to discourage players from killing their allies and doing Colt's job for him.
    • When playing as Julianna the player doesn't start out with the Karnesis slab that Julianna used in the prologue (possibly because this is a different Julianna) and also lacks the Sepulchra Breteira sniper rifle despite the player character prominently holding it on the gear select menu.
  • Grim Up North: Blackreef comes across an amalgamation of Northern England, Scotland, and Russia, from its crumbling rural towns to scenic if frigid vistas and scattered military outposts brandishing Soviet-style motifs. A subtle hint that it's just off the coast of Tyvia from the Dishonored series.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Colt is trapped in the same day where he washes up on the shore of Blackreef, over and over again. The day ends? He washes up on the island at the start of the same day again. He dies? He washes up on the island at the start of the same day again. The only way to escape is to kill the 8 "Visionaries" who rule the island.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Lampshaded in the stealth tutorial, which notes that the Eternalists weren't recruited for their good attention spans. Indeed, the guards are often stoned or looking to get stoned and most of them have no idea what they are doing during combat. Loop stress will make them somewhat more competent, but they're never entirely effective. On the other hand, they have numbers.
  • Guide Dang It!: Many notes are hidden in the clutter of the stage, especially laboratories. You may have to go through a visionary's personal items several times before finding that critical piece of information needed to progress the plot. This gets worse if the necessary note is only available at a certain time of day. A special note goes to the shutdown code on Egor's device, which can only be found in his laboratory at night, with a new page taped to a map that you probably investigated in the morning or afternoon.
  • Guns Akimbo: You can dual-wield any pair of one-handed weapons. While this is mostly impractical, it can be useful to have a weapon in your left hand while carrying a battery in your right.
  • The Heavy: Juliana is the primary nemesis and antagonist for the game.
  • History Repeats: Aside from the obvious recurring loop, there is a lot of evidence that the events of the game are just one of many attempts by Colt to break the loop, only to abandon his attempts at the last moment. Every major milestone he reaches, Julianna tends to be dismissive and unsurprised by, as though it isn't the first time he has done so (she explicitly says as much when you unlock the ability to infuse gear to keep with you between loops.) Indeed, one of the endings has Colt choose to give up trying to break the cycle to instead spend time with Julianna enjoying the loop, but with a heavy implication that he'll either grow tired of it again or else sundown, at which point the whole cycle will begin again. The only true way to end the cycle permanently is to push through and close the loop for good.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Lampshaded in the pickup description for a weapon with the "Silenced" perk, which outright says "...just like in the movies." Played with a bit in that it's silent to Eternalists, but the other player in an invasion can still hear the suppressed noise.
  • I Call It "Vera": Played for Laughs. Colt is so excited after infusing a weapon for the first time that he enthusiastically begins trying to name it. He eventually realizes how stupid he's being and snaps out of it.
Colt: Who'd ever want to name a gun "Colt"?
  • Idiot Hero: Colt, while not a total moron, isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer. At one point he pretends to be one of the mooks he just killed over the radio to one of the Visionaries, and she immediately recognizes his voice and asks if it's him. The prompt for interacting with the mic again says "Say something smart", but when you do, all he can come up with is an awkward "" which of course immediately confirms her suspicions.
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing: Colt's memories begin when he's mid-death to Juliana's latest victory over him, and he's left understandably confused and disoriented by his bizarre 'nightmare' and unfamiliar surroundings, not to mention suddenly seeing glowing messages appearing in mid-air that talk to him and instruct him on what to do, plus his initial inability to remember his own name and identity, but intimate familiarity with weaponry and how to kill people, realising that he must have killed before when he sees how good he is at it despite his amnesia. Colt's arc throughout the game is finding out who he is and why he's trapped in a time loop surrounded by people who want to kill him and the first few hours are dedicated to having him figure out the context surrounding his current situation whilst making his way through the island's forces on what amounts to muscle memory alone. Julianna regularly mocks him for being so clueless.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: This is Colt's modus operandi in a nutshell. In order to be truly free of Blackreef's never-ending time anomaly, he must assassinate every Visionary perpetuating the loop by whatever means necessary within the span of a single loop. Considering how he already knows the horrors of being trapped in a single day for an obscene amount of time, Colt's drive to end the loop even if it meant facing off against his former friends and family is understandable.
  • In Medias Res: In-Universe. Colt's memories begin with him lying down on the floor and being stabbed to death by Julianna with a machete, much to his confusion, and he initially thinks the whole thing is a nightmare upon waking up the next loop on the beach. That said, it is clear that Colt's actions have taken effect during prior loops with Julianna, but he cannot recall them, nor why she's so dead-set on killing him to protect the loop, and his journey is as much to find out his history as it is a way to figure out how to break the loop.
  • It Gets Easier: Colt notes his lack of reaction to slaughtering his first human, and concludes he must have done it before often enough to have gotten used to it.
  • Invisibility: Egor Serling can turn himself mostly invisible using the Aether slab. Juliana is also capable of equipping this Slab when she goes on the hunt.
  • Last-Second Ending Choice: Once Colt gets to the Stabilizer Core, Julianna lets him choose; either pull the trigger on the antique dueling pistols she brought, kill her then himself and break the loop, and with it their relationship as family in the process, or relent and spend the rest of their days inside the loop. Either way, Colt wakes up afterwards on the beach, with Julianna present; in the distance if he chose not to break the loop, and close-up if he does, with a gun to his head before she decides to walk away. Of course Colt can always shoot Julianna and then stay within the loop anyway...
  • Lighter and Softer: Than Arkane's usual work, particularly to Dishonored which Deathloop is heavily implied to be a Stealth Sequel to. Though the setting itself is pretty bleak when you learn more about it and there is still a lot of death, because of the loop, Death Is Cheap and the game has a rather humorous tone to it. Particular with our Idiot Hero Colt and his interactions with Julianna. However, compared to the Dishonored games, Deathloop lacks any unambiguously happy endings. Either Colt decides to abandon the loop and rebuild his relationship with his daughter (which is heavily heavily implied to have happened in the past, meaning it's only a matter of time before he sundowns again and the whole process restarts) or he finally ends it and permanently alienates his daughter in the process. And on top of that, something bad has happened to the world during the centuries that the loop was going on, the sea has completely dried up and the sky has turned a very ominous red.
  • Limited Loadout: In addition to a few permanent items, Colt and Julianna can equip three weapons, four trinkets, and two slabs besides their signature slabs, Reprise and Masquerade respectively.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: This was the sales pitch that attracted Eternalists (and many of the Visionaries). If you're living in a time loop where nothing you do is permanent and death just means "see you tomorrow", what's to stop you doing anything you want? Unfortunately, everyone's trapped reliving the virgin day of the loop forever, where hard drugs and other excessive debauchery was forbidden (or rather, limited to the Visionaries) while those in charge made sure the loop was working. You can even overhear Eternalists talking about the wild stuff they're going to do with no consequences, completely oblivious to the fact they're just living the same day of anticipation over for eternity. One interpretation of Colt is he noticed what a miserable hell this is, leading to his decision to break the Loop.
  • Machete Mayhem: Colt, and most every other Eternalist for that matter, has a machete for a melee weapon. Colt, however, is the only one who can hack off limbs and heads with one to two swings.
  • Master of Disguise: Julianna can shapeshift to look like regular Mooks.
  • Me's a Crowd: Wenjie, the scientist who made the loop, has used temporal duplication to create a large numbers of temporal clones of herself to work as her science team.
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: With the exception of Julianna, the Visionaries aren't much tougher than the regular Mooks and tend not to use their slabs to any great degree (Charlie and Egor are essentially just regular Mooks you have to chase, Harriet and Aleksis almost never use theirs at all and they're not very dangerous, and Fia is essentially just a stronger Mook for a few seconds) though they do tend to carry unique weapons. There's no climactic battle at the end either, just a Last-Second Ending Choice.
  • Motif: Circles and the number 8 (which both looks like two circles next to each other and the infinity symbol turned on its side) both feature prominently.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The 'Antique Dueling Pistols' that Juliana gives to Colt at the stabiliser core in order to trigger his Last-Second Ending Choice via them performing a Mutual Kill on each other to break the loop or Colt finally deciding to submit to and accept the loop are the flintlock pistols used by the player characters in Dishonored.
    • Take a close look at the side of the Heritage Shotgun and you may see the stamped seal of "Dunwall Imperial Armouries".
    • If you enter the classic Looking Glass Studios Immersive Sim "0451" code into the first locked door in the game, Colt will muse "old habits die hard."
  • Neck Snap: Colt can get behind enemies to snap their necks and instantly kill them.
  • Never Was This Universe: Implied; there are references to historical events that don't match our reality, an audio log says that the year is 1965 despite the aesthetics appearing to be more akin to The '70s, and at the end of the game, you have a duel with a pair of antique pistols that look identical to the ones from Dishonored.
  • No Body Left Behind: Zigzagged Trope. As a side effect of the loop, when someone dies, their bodies disappear in a flash, but they leave a shadow behind that other enemies can notice. Played straight with a certain invisibility upgrade, which eliminates the shadow an enemy leaves behind when you kill them from stealth. There's also a chance Eternalists can "glitch" and leave a glowing body of themselves, worth a hefty chuck of Residuum when it happens.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Well, as close to a game over as the setting allows. Getting spotted by Fia in the reactor room will cause her to try to overload it. Fail to kill her first or stop the sequence and it explodes, levelling the area and looping Colt on the spot, Reprise be damned. Though if Colt can escape Fristad Rock entirely before it detonates, Colt can survive and Fia will be killed off by the explosion. But it comes at the price of locking out the destroyed Fristad Rock for the remainder of the loop.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain. Colt vs Juliana. Pretty heavily Justified because they're father and daughter, much to Colt's shock as he was convinced that he and Julianna dated before and that was the reason she was coming after him with such passion for killing him. Not so.
  • Opening the Sandbox: The game requires you to complete the tutorial and finish a linear loop that introduces each of the four areas before you get full freedom to go where you want, whenever you wantnote . If you get looped before making it this far, you start back at the beach and have to pick up your basic gear again. Once you complete the first loop, you no longer have to do this as the game skips ahead to the map selection.
  • Optional Boss: The Goldenloop update added "The Garbage Collector" to an underground area in Karl's Bay, posessing a new slab (allegedly the one Frank would have used, but threw away). The Collector is Nigh-Invulnerable and can only be taken down through stealth due or similar trickery due to the bomb-defusing suit he's wearing.
  • Optional Stealth: Sneaking around is definitely useful, particularly during the Early Game Hell. However the fixed number of fairly weak enemies makes clearing enemy groups loudly just as viable once you have the right tools.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Largely Averted, due to the "Groundhog Day" Loop that forms the game's premise. The only truly missable collectibles are those at Julianna's house, including one that is only available if you go back after completing the tutorial but before Opening the Sandbox.
  • Player Versus Player: Typically the entire conflict with Julianna isn't simply some special foe, but another player invading your game as her. As a Visionary, the enemies are allied with her, meaning her mere presence can complicate the map as a Spanner in the Works. Depending on the Colt player's progression and skill, this can be something of a Mirror Match or facing off against a dangerously stronger opponent — or the Julianna player could be Too Dumb to Live, granting you a chance to wipe her threat early from a loop.
  • Plot Hole: Juliana notes that Colt never, in any loop, gives her the code to the tunnels. But he doesn't need to — it's a 4 digit code with only 10,000 possibilities, and she has literally all the time in the world to brute force it. Even if it locks the panel after a certain number of tries, that screws Colt over more than her. Though given Julianna's real goals, it's very possible she just never bothered since she wants Colt to have some sort of an edge against her.
  • Psi Blast: The Karnesis slab (dropped by Aleksis Dorsey) can be used to toss enemies into the air with a wave of the user's hand. Though one point of note is that it only works on living things, not inanimate objects. Julianna uses it on Colt in the beginning of the game, and both can have it on their loadouts.
  • PVP Balanced: While the gameplay draws a lot from Arkane Studios's previous titles (most notably Dishonored) a few changes have been made to keep things fair for hosts and invaders.
    • Dishonored allowed you to equip all your powers at once, here you're limited to just two (aside from the mandatory Reprise/Masquerade power) as killing a player who can cloak, enhance their durability as well as throwing enemies around would be very difficult. Likewise players are restricted to just two of the four upgrades for each Slab.
    • The amount of trinkets that can be equipped at once is much smaller at just four, and certain passive upgrades that didn't require a slot in Dishonored (e.g. enhanced sprint and health regeneration) now require one.
    • Despite being a senior member of Aeon Julianna can't order Eternalists to specific locations or instruct Visionaries to run and hide, only alert them to Colt's presence once he's in eyeshot. She also can't cut the knot by, say, taking Fia's detonator and nuking Fristad Rock once he's down to his last life.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Justified. Despite the crumbling buildings and infrastructure around Blackreef even after all the efforts to keep everything in working order, no one seems too concerned. Not when the Loop means it'll all just reset anyway. And judging with how long it's been going, keeping things like that for centuries is still an impressive feat.
  • Reds with Rockets: The Motherland, a major military and economic superpower located beyond Blackreef, appears to be an in-universe analogue to the real-world Soviet Union whose presence is absolutely littered throughout the entire island by virtue of their forces having constructed various military bases here way before the arrival of the AEON Program. Documents found later in the game also reveal that both Colt Vahn and his lover Lila Blake were originally soldiers of the Motherland and members of Operation: Horizon, a secret expeditionary mission dedicated to investigating Blackreef's temporal anomaly.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The most common weapons carried by Mooks will occasionally jam, requiring a tap of the reload key to clear. Justified, as these weapons are visibly worn and poorly maintained.
  • Sanity Slippage: Despite Julianna's insistence to the contrary, no one in the Loop has been improved by the experience. Julianna herself has degraded into a giggling thrill-killer whose only form of stimulation now consists of her deadly cat-and-mouse games with Colt. As the game nears its end, Colt's chief motivation for ending the Loop is to break the island's hold on her, whatever may come.
  • Scenery Gorn: As the day progresses, the beautiful areas of Blackreef become vandalized, looted and overall just plain wrecked, as the Eternalists know it's all going to reset soon and they may as well have a little fun trashing the joint.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Eternalists set a trap outside Colt's apartment in Updaam's afternoon: A huge wrapped present that is being watched by multiple snipers. Opening the box alerts every Eternalist in the area, and the "gift" is a Trinket which harms you for no benefit. However, one of the snipers is carrying a special rifle...
  • Self-Destructing Security: If Fia is alerted that you're infiltrating her research facility in the afternoon, it will activate an energy reactor to start overcharging until it has a meltdown and levels the entire area. She'd rather kill herself and all of her compatriots if it means ensuring Colt can't discover her secrets.
  • Shapeshifter: Julianna can use the Masquerade slab to exchange her appearance with that of anyone she sees.
  • Shared Universe: It's heavily implied and eventually confirmed that Deathloop takes place in the same universe as Dishonored. Here's a list:
    • The Heritage Gun, beside having a very Dishonored-era look to it, is also stamped with the logo of the "Imperial Arsenal" and sports an impression of the clock tower of Dunwall. Its serial number even contains the letters "DUNW". And the animation for its unique ability may also elicit notions of something familiar: the fanciful mechanical unfolding of Corvo's gadget sword. It seems the Imperial technologists in Dunwall continued developing down that path.
    • In one of her interview tapes, Harriet Morse mentions how one of her favorite books is about "the history of the last century" and is entitled "The Fall of Empires".
    • The flintlock pistols Juliana gives to Colt at the ending are the same ones used by Dunwall City Watch, and she even mentions how they are museum pieces and have their original oil cartridges.
    • There is a mammoth-like creature that was excavated in Karl's Bay.
    • A recording of the drunken whaler song can be found in the spy headquarters with a note alongside it of one of the spies mentioning how it sounds "like something [her] grandma used to listen to".
    • A warning sign in the version of the game from its release day has a clear reference to Tyvia, the northernmost Isle of the Empire from Dishonored. The texture was swapped with one without said reference in a subsequent patch but DEATHLOOP still ultimately takes place on a frigid island close to a polar region, with Russian-sounding names on the map and governed by a state called "The Motherland" which relies heavily on Soviet-era nomenclature and aesthetics. Just like Tyvia.
    • A number of furniture models greatly resemble distinctive pieces found in Dishonored, such as the four-doored cabinets, chairs, and the unique piano-like instrument that have 3 keyboards.
    • One of the arcade cabinet games is called "Touch of the Stranger", with a logo that is decidedly similar to the Mark of the Outsider on Corvo. Possibly a game adaptation of Heart of the Abyss.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Shift Slab's teleportation ability unlocks new routes through the environment, provides quick movement for travel, stealth or escapes as well as allowing you to break out if caught by Aleksei or Julianna's Karnesis power. That's before you start adding upgrades that allow for superpowered kicks or swapping enemies into long falls or deathtraps, or simply extend Shift's reach.
  • Skippable Boss: The Collector is an extremely durable slab holder who is Nigh-Invulnerable and resistant to many slabs, but you can avoid having to face him at all by killing the mostly naked man at the bar next to Frank's mansion at Fristad Rock at noon who happens to be singing the exact same song the Collector sings in Karl's Bay. If you do so, you can walk straight into the Collector's lair and take the slab out of an unlocked safe.
  • Smug Snake: All of the Visionaries bar Julianna fall under this. For all of their bluster, they do the exact same things every loop. And Colt can exploit that predictability to break the loop for good.
  • The '70s: The game has the aesthetics of this time period, though an audio log from Dr. Wenjie reveals that the year in the setting is technically 1965.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The water around Blackreef is lethally cold, so ankle-deep water will harm you and falling into the ocean will outright kill you. Complicating matters is that over the course of the day, the tide comes and goes, revealing more areas to explore during some time periods, and ice shelves may form when the sun isn't hitting the water.
  • Surprise Incest: Downplayed. While it never goes beyond a bit of Foe Romance Subtext, his ten-parts-hostile-to-one-part-affectionate banter with Julianna soon has Colt convinced that she's his angry ex-girlfriend, and he treats her accordingly. Needless to say, this makes things even more awkward when he learns that she's his daughter.
  • Synchronization: Harriet's Nexus slab can be used to link the fates of people affected. A damage done to anyone in the Nexus link will be transferred to everyone else in the link.
  • Take a Third Option: Subverted. When Colt confronts Juliana in the Stabilizer core, he's given the option of either killing her and then himself to break the loop for good, or staying his hand and accepting staying in the loop for eternity. It's possible to kill Juliana but then decline to kill yourself and allow Colt to restart the loop, putting off the choice to decide whether or not to end the loop for another time, which effectively just means that Colt still has to make the same choice, but not for another loop's worth of events. Accepting Juliana's offer to accept the loop doesn't even really end the cycle of events either, as it's still possible for Colt to change his mind afterwards and re-create the sequence of events to render Juliana the only Visionary standing and then kill both of them to end things. The only choice Colt can make that will change events permanently is ending the loop, but it comes with the cost of alienating his only daughter forever, which is something multiple versions of himself have struggled to do throughout the successive loops.
  • Take Your Time: Time won't progress within a level, only when Colt travels between areas. Many events also only trigger once Colt reaches a certain location (such as Harriet lowering her acolyte into gas) so there's no risk of missing story content if you take too long. You might be able to avoid a Julianna invasion if you can quickly kill any Visionaries before any join your game though.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Given a twist in that It's Colt who is being given the speech by Julianna. The final 'conflict' of the game involves cornering Julianna up at the stabilizer core maintaining the time loop, at which point, it's necessary for the other 7 visionaries to be dead before Colt can unlock his means of being able to reach the core. As the last person standing between Colt and ending the loop, rather than engaging him in a fight that she risks losing and letting Colt end the loop that way, Juliana goes for emotional manipulation, offering Colt a choice of pulling a Mutual Kill on her and himself to simultaneously end the loop together like he wants, or to avoid doing so because he's aware she would never forgive him for breaking the loop, and thus accepting being stuck in the loop with her. If Colt pulls the trigger, then it turns out that Juliana never intended to shoot him, and thus leaves Colt with a Last-Second Ending Choice to either kill himself and finally end the loop, or choose not to and maintain it. Colt Lampshades how dumb her plan was of just asking him not to break the loop, but also acknowledges that the same speech must have worked on several other of his temporal duplicate versions, given the loop is still ongoing despite their efforts.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Colt is directed on his journey throughout Blackreef by floating, glowing messages that only he can see that appear and disappears out of thin air, often in response to something Colt has said or done. For example, when performing his first Stealth Kill, Colt notes that he wasn't upset by taking another person's life and that it was surprisingly easy for him, despite his amnesia, realizing that he must have done this before with the messages then appearing to confirm this. It's heavily implied they are coming from other Colts in other timelines.
  • Teleportation: Charlie can use the Shift slab to instantly jump from where he's standing to any location in his surrounding field of view. Julianna has this slab as well, and uses it to catch up to Colt in the beginning of the game as well as having it as a loadout option.
  • Timed Mission: Of a sort. With each map Colt visits, time never directly progresses until he leaves to go to another, but which period of time you visit can affect what targets you're able to kill there, and since another loop ensues if you fail to kill all the Visionaries within a day's cycle, the game's time loop focuses around optimizing a route to figure which area to go to in which order and what patterns work together to kill all of the targets before it all starts again.
    • In a more traditional sense, Harriet's Human Sacrifice has to be saved before he either gets lowered into the gas or before the gas reaches him.
    • Charles's game that he plays at the Bay if he's still alive by nightfall is a series of these. First you have a bar that has a door with a lock on it. To open the lock, you must find 4 drawings painted on different walls around the bar that give you the code to the lock one by one, but you have only 3 minutes from unlocking the front door to figure out the code and open the door though you can cheat a bit by going around to the side and climbing through a gap above the barred door there, letting you figure out the password at your own pace, then exit the bar and go in the "proper" entrance and immediately unlock the door. The second challenge is at the hanger where Harriet is in the morning. There are 6 switches and you have 30 seconds to activate them in the correct order. Your only hint as to what the correct order is is that the next switch in line will be beeping. Finally, (after grabbing multiple other boxes around the zone), you have the final challenge that's similar to the one at the hanger, except there is a power nullifier with a field encompassing the obstacle course unless you find the wall crack to its room and shoot out its battery) and multiple lasers that if tripped will instantly fail the test, forcing you to restart the entire event on another loop. Fortunately, the resulting reward is a very nice gun (that can alternate between a rifle and a shotgun on demand).
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: Colt's Reprise ability allows him to rewind to where he was a few seconds ago before dying, giving him a chance to fix a mistake. He can use this ability twice per area, refreshing when he leaves and goes to the next map. Absorbing Julianna's Residuum after killing her also replenishes this ability.
  • Trash Talk: Juliana regularly taunts Colt over the radio.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Colt finds out who he is on the second day after he stumbles upon a poster of himself with the caption "Colt Vahn - Head of Security"
    Colt: Damn... I look good.
    • It's later revealed that Colt is also the 9th Visionary. At some point he had a change of heart and started slaughtering the Visionaries over and over in an attempt to stop the loop.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Colt reloads his shotgun by twirling it, a la Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Fia's Havoc slab turns the user mostly invincible and improves damage output. This also makes her one of the most dangerous Visionaries to take on in a fair fight.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: This is only played straight for Julianna's Masquerade slab and Colt's Reprise slab. For everything else that enemies are carrying from guns to slabs, it's averted.
  • Victor Gains Loser's Powers: Killing a Visionary allows Colt to gain their powers by looting their slab and infusing it with residuum. Successive infusions of the same slab can upgrade the powers associated with them. The only exception being Julianna's Masquerade slab and Colt's Reprise slab.
  • Video Game Sliding: Colt can slide on the ground to avoid attacks and close in on enemies.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Not a heavy one, but when you finally put together the proper steps to break the loop, Juliana stops taunting you at the start of every area and starts more and more aggressively trying to convince you to stop what you are doing before it's too late.
  • Visionary Villain: The main villains call themselves "the Visionaries" and seek to perpetuate an endless "Groundhog Day" Loop where they can live forever.
  • Visual Innuendo: The Aeon Coital Center, as its name suggests, is a designated building for hedonists to engage in physical intimacy. The interior is very pink, with cushioned surfaces built into the wall looking like a ribbed tunnel. From the correct angle, the entire room resembles the view from a gynecological medical examination.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Colt and several of the Visionaries including Frank and Egor used to be close. By the time the game starts, they're hollow shells of themselves who don't even fully know what they're doing and why, and Colt is trying to hunt them down and murder them.
  • Wham Line: A note that Colt finds while looking for RAK codes spells out the relationship between Julliana, Colt and Lila:
    I've been reassigned to the mainland - ostensibly for hiding the pregnancy of Colt's main squeeze - Akkar Station's very own Lila Blake.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Marketing for the game painted the "Groundhog Day" Loop as being based on Mental Time Travel rather than physical, so the player is equally taken aback as Colt is when he follows the glowing messages' instructions to jump out a window in the library shortly after meeting Juliana for the 'second' time and getting his leg caught mid-fall by what appears to be another version of himself that then gives him the contextual information he needs to proceed deeper into Blackreef before they're both killed by Julianna.
    • When investigating the Project Horizon bunkers, Colt will eventually come across a document mentioning that Colt had impregnated Lila, the woman with the hand-drawn picture in Colt's apartment. More importantly, it shows her last name is Blake, as in ''Julianna Blake''.
    • During the final scene of the game, Julianna hands you a box containing antique duelling pistols, which also happen to be the exact same pistols from Dishonored, revealing the games share a setting.
  • What the Hell, Player?: A few actions will make Colt comment that he "doesn't know why he'd do this", such as using a Portable Harvester to harvest his own Residuum ghost after a Reprise.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: It turns out that the time loop is more of a pocket dimension than all of reality looping on itself. Because of the first loop he was stuck in, Colt looks like he's in his 30s despite the fact that his daughter Julianna is in her 20s. Time passed in the outside world while Blackreef was repeatedly looping. And if you do finally break the loop at the end, a great deal of time has clearly passed, with something having gone horribly wrong in the interim with the seas having dried up and the skies being an ominous red swirl.
  • You Shouldn't Know This Already: Every password in the game is randomized from the start, so unless the player wants to brute force a particular lock, they need to find the actual clues to solve them in a playthough instead of looking them up online. Though naturally, this knowledge carries over from loop to loop... with the notable exceptions of the code to the pressurization controls in Wenjie's lab (for which she has managed to create a process to make it unique for each loop) and, for some reason, the solution to one of Charlie's games in Karl's Bay.
  • Your Son All Along: Turns out Julianna, the villain Colt spends the loops trying to kill, is in fact his biological daughter.