If you’re sitting down and getting into Deathloop, wait! Much like the protagonist of Deathloop himself, I’m jumping out of nowhere to give you an important warning to keep in mind as you start your journey. Don’t forget to kick! Kick doors, kick people, kick everything you can.
When I first started working my way through Blackreef, I forgot that I had a powerful kick at my disposal, because I was too busy keeping track of six other things. The Deathloop designers at Arkane Studios did an admirable job holding the player’s hand through the game’s info dumps with clever writing and concise summaries, but I still felt a little overwhelmed.
Deathloop is a good game, but it’s definitely a dense one. The time loop thriller starts with your character Colt being murdered and suddenly awakening on the shores of Blackreef. He has to learn a lot, and learn it quickly — here’s how weapons work, here’s how you can hack, hey you have this grenade, there are Slabs that grant supernatural powers, you’re being hunted by a rival assassin, there’s a story linking it all together that you start to uncover … It’s a lot!
It wasn’t until I found my sea legs and got a little more comfortable as Colt that I remembered — oh, yeah, can’t I kick some doors open or something? I refreshed my memory on the keybinding and kept one leg ready as I crept through Updaam. And that’s when I realized kicking is legitimately the funniest way to get out of a pickle in Deathloop.
The machete is efficient, but it’s a bit slow and it leaves Colt vulnerable. It also leaves a time-shadow of the dead body behind, which isn’t good. But if you just plant a foot in their back and send them hurtling off into the great beyond, it’s an absolutely clean kill. If you play your cards right, you can yeet multiple goons off the same cliff or railing without triggering an alarm. Plus, it opens up some extra avenues to explore around Blackreef.
Much like the idiom of having a hammer and seeing nothing but nails, I have to be careful not to kick my way through Deathloop. The real lesson is that Arkane throws a lot of tools at you early on, but it rewards you for messing around and trying longshot strategies. Despite Deathloop being a game about breaking the loop, I’m having an excellent time smelling the roses along the way.