Deathloop game review: A dishonorable Bethesda discharge

If you’re looking for a simple back-of-box quote about how Bethesda’s newest video game works, you won’t get one. The list of inspirations in Deathloop, out this week on PS5 and PC, is long: the time-loop conceit of Zelda: Majora’s Mask; the multiroute sneak-and-sleuth genius of Dishonored; the aesthetics and trippiness of We Happy Few; and Metroid Prime‘s mix of backtracking and clue-hunting.

What a mouthful! Deathloop is certainly more ambitious than yet another generic shooter, which I appreciate. The studio behind it (Arkane Lyon, creators of Dishonored) can’t be faulted for not playing it safe. But ambition alone isn’t enough.

You may very well enjoy Deathloop‘s big swings—and at their best, they combine into something special. But there’s no denying the sloppiness players have to wade through to find the good stuff. Even though its core is compelling, Deathloop simply doesn’t feel finished. Instead, it seems unpolished, like it was rushed out the door. And its die-and-retry gimmick doesn’t make up for a confusing lack of world building or an egregiously small gameplay universe.

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