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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Play glamorizes gun-based violence, and the looping day mechanic reduces the concept of death to a mere inconvenience. Recurring narrative themes include mortality, identity, and narcissism, but they're given only shallow exploration.
Positive Role Models
The two playable characters, Colt and Julianna, are both best described as antiheroes. They're strangely likable, mostly because of their sharp humor and fearless ability, but they're also selfish, remorseless killers.
The two playable characters, Colt and Julianna, are Black. They're not good people or role models, but they are funny, intelligent, capable, and very much in charge of the situation on the island.
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Ease of Play
While the first-person shooting is straightforward and should be easy for most players to get the hang of, it takes time to understand the game's unique looping day mechanics. Helpful tutorials can be accessed from within the game's menu at any time.
Violence & Scariness
Viewed from a first-person perspective, play involves using shotguns, rifles, and handguns to shoot human enemies, usually with moderate splashes of blood and sometimes with decapitation. Close-range combat depicts enemies getting their necks twisted nearly all the way off and brutal machete attacks with large blood splatter effects. Defeated enemies cry out in pain, crumple, then disappear in a small burst of light.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One scene includes suggestive moaning sounds that imply the act of sex without showing it.
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Coarse language appears frequently throughout text and spoken dialogue, including the words "f--k," "s--t," and "c--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters talk about getting high, and whimsical signs around the world include phrases like "get baked." Bottles of alcohol are scattered all over the environment, and many enemies are depicted both drinking and in severely intoxicated states.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Deathloop is a first-person shooter for PlayStation 5 and Windows PCs. It's the story of an island stuck in a never-ending time loop, where the same day continues to play over and over again. Players can choose between playing as Colt or Julianna, a pair of Black characters who are funny, smart, and capable, but also ruthless and remorseless killers who will stop at nothing to break or protect the loop. Combat against human enemies involves a range of powerful guns as well as a machete, which is used in bloody and brutal melee kills. Dispatched enemies cry out in pain, crumple, and disappear. Dialogue, while clever and funny, includes a heaping helping of strong profanity, and there are plenty of references to getting high and drunk. Many enemies are seen drinking to intoxication and stumbling about. Be aware, also, that one scene includes the sound of sexual moaning.
Is It Any Good?
There's a lot to love but also a bit to bemoan in this fantastically bold and original shooter. Deathloop is set in a beautifully imagined 60s-style retro future world, and its story and main characters are both instantly compelling. Colt is unflinchingly cool, even as he bumbles his way through his first few days, and Julianna is a fountain of biting one-liners and occasionally sharp insights, as when she observes that Colt -- who admits to feeling nothing for the people he's killing again and again each day -- may have sociopathic tendencies. The storytelling is a fit match for the game's brilliant design, which challenges players not to mindlessly wade through endless baddies, but rather be mindful of everything they see and hear as they study the island and its inhabitants. It's like a giant puzzle box filled with secret compartments that players gradually access, each one containing its own gratifying reward in the form of information, weapons and gear, and opportune assassinations. It draws key bits from disparate sources including classic "roguelike" games, cult action films, and Arkane's own Dishonored series, but there's really not much else like it.
But like most daring new games, some of the experiments don't quite fly. The gradually unlocked upgrades and abilities, while fun to toy with and certainly handy, are weirdly inessential in combat. Improving your skill through experience in firefights and knowledge of the island is all you really need to survive each loop, even as you near the end. Plus, while you're sure to find important information and hidden areas each new day, there does come a point when a sense of repetition begins to settle in. Engaging the same enemies in the same places again and again grows tedious. And while some players will likely enjoy taking on the role of antagonist as Julianna, others are bound to find these so-called game invasions frustrating and disruptive. You can play offline to avoid having other players insert themselves in your story, but the game will still occasionally introduce a computer-controlled Julianna in an attempt to mess with your perfectly laid plans. Still, these issues never sink the ship. Deathloop is a refreshingly imaginative and innovative shooter that doubles down on narrative rather than action, and is definitely worth a look for older players.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.