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10 essential Deathloop tips

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips
(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Deathloop is out, and it’s safe to say that Arkane’s stylish “murder puzzle” is one of the most creative games of the year. In this time loop adventure, you’ll shoot, sneak and think your way past eight deadly Visionaries who want to protect their eternally recurring day at any cost. Breaking the loop requires both strategic thinking and quick reflexes. We’ve compiled our favorite Deathloop tips, which should help you navigate the game’s unique structure and demanding gameplay. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to make mistakes while playing — after all, you can always try again.

Make Wenjie your first target

If you’re already a few hours into Deathloop, feel free to skip this tip. But if you’re just starting out, Blackreef Island opens up pretty quickly. Once the tutorial is done, you can pretty much go wherever you want and tackle the Visionaries in any order. Still, the game recommends you start with Wenjie, and following its advice will unlock a key gameplay element. By tackling Wenjie first, you’ll gain access to a resource called Residuum, which lets you take your favorite items and skills with you through the loop. Otherwise, they’ll disappear once morning rolls around again.

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Focus on one objective at a time

Each area in Deathloop has dozens of small objectives to accomplish, and usually three or four big ones. While you could try to play as efficiently as possible and pursue every objective in a single visit, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. First and foremost, completing objectives often rewards you with good equipment. Leaving the area is the only way you can spend your Residuum to keep it — or discard it, and use the Residuum to empower something else. Furthermore, you can use your revivifying Reprise power only twice per area, so it’s usually wiser to leave, let the skill recharge and come back.

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Upgrade your favorite powers…

Just like Corvo in Dishonored, Colt in Deathloop can acquire a handful of special abilities that set him apart from the rank-and-file enemies in the game. These include teleportation, telekinesis, invisibility, damage reduction and “linking” targets together to harm them all at once. It’s worth acquiring all of these powers, but you can equip only two at a time. Every power has optional upgrades, and you can acquire these upgrades by hunting certain Visionaries over and over. If you find a power you really like, it’s worth taking down a Visionary a second (or third, or fourth) time to see how you can improve it.

… and don’t worry about the rest

The special powers in Deathloop can give you a big edge, but as mentioned above, you can equip only two at a time. It’s not worth hunting down every last upgrade for every last power, unless you just like collecting things for completion’s sake. Once you find two powers that fit your playstyle, your best bet is to upgrade them. After all, each power upgrade requires you to kill a Visionary, and this is usually a risky and time-consuming process. If you’re going to risk your whole run, it may as well be for a reward you’ll actually use.

Consider your multiplayer options

In Deathloop’s multiplayer component, you take control of antagonist Julianna Blake, and invade other players’ games. It’s an intriguing cat-and-mouse mode, but it’s easy for Julianna to get the advantage — especially against less-skilled players. If you want to test your wits against any and all invaders, then you don’t have to make any changes to your multiplayer options. However, if you’d prefer to play with friends, you should toggle the “friends-only” invasion setting, which will probably sting less than getting obliterated by a total stranger. You can also toggle a single-player mode, in which Julianna still invades, but as a computer-controlled character.

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Don’t get too attached to gear

As you start to defeat Visionaries on a regular basis, you’ll rack up a lot of great weapons, trinkets and abilities. However, it’s not worth spending your limited Residuum reserves on keeping every single one. Colt can equip only four trinkets, three weapons and two special abilities at a time. Having a small arsenal of gear can be useful if you want to vary your playstyle, depending on your objectives. But it’s a lot easier to just find gear that you really like and focus on saving that first. If you have to sacrifice a situationally useful item to do so, it’s no big deal; you’ll almost certainly find another one in a future run.

Listen up

Defeating Deathloop’s Visionaries is never as simple as kicking in the front door and blazing a path of destruction through an enemy base. You’ll have to explore each level carefully to learn about the Visionaries’ schedules, habits, and weaknesses. The most common way you’ll do this is by finding documents, but you can often get smaller hints by listening in on enemy conversations. If you come across two or more rank-and-file Eternalists, and stay out of sight for a bit, they’ll often drop a hint during their conversation. It’s usually not game-changing stuff, but it’s worth hearing them out for a few seconds.

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Start with stealth

Deathloop isn’t Dishonored. You can take on multiple opponents just fine, and prolonged firefights are a perfectly viable strategy. Still, Eternalists can and will gang up on you, given the chance. When you approach a new area, particularly an area in which you can see three or more Eternalists, it’s a good idea to thin their ranks with silent executions. Even though it might be faster to just blast your way through, guns make a lot of noise and can draw whole contingents of enemies within earshot. While stealth takes time, there’s no rush; as long as you stay in a given area, time doesn’t advance.

Gun and run

Similarly, if you start a firefight and it doesn’t go your way, there’s no reason to stick around. Eternalists in Deathloop will lose track of you fairly quickly if you hide, and when they split up to search for you, that’s another good opportunity to take down a few of them. If you see a huge cluster of enemies, taking down a few, running away, and repeating the process might be the best way to deal with them. Retreating might also be a good opportunity to scope out any hidden paths nearby. Very few areas in Deathloop have only one entrance, after all.

Deathloop gameplay: 10 essential Deathloop tips

(Image credit: Arkane Studios)

Memorize your favorite paths

Blackreef Island is stuck in a time loop; only you and Julianna retain your memories between cycles. As such, every single enemy, obstacle and shortcut will be right where you left it, every time you revisit an area. As you explore and reexplore the four main locations, you’ll start to find paths that you take over and over with few obstacles and minimal enemy interference. Memorize these paths and use them to your advantage; they won’t change over time. Granted, if Julianna invades (and she will), this could change your entire gameplan. But at least you’ll know a few good hiding spots along the way.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.