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The Joy of playing Deathloop as the pettiest man in existence

Not Steve! He was ∞ days from retirement!

Hello! How was your day? Oh, me? Well, I spent the morning scheduling a crank wheel delivery to Updaam. Had lunch. Went back in the afternoon, disabled a few turrets, then hid behind a bin for a bit. All solely to turn off an oxygen pump and asphyxiate a bubble-encased band that I could have easily shot in a few seconds. Tomorrow, I may climb to the top of a three story building just to plummet, machete first, on the face of a guard that killed me once a few loops back. Hello. My name is Colt, and I am the pettiest videogame protagonist in existence.

In his Deathloop review, Brendy described Colt as “playing it by ass”. I liked that line, but I didn’t yet understand its true gravitas. I am now enlightened. I have beheld the true ass of Colt, and I have grasped its magnitude: Colt’s ass is the antithesis to Dishonored’s heart. Blam. Boot. Blam. None of you are free of sin.

Absent the spectral whispers of a murdered empress for guidance, or the crushing burden of a city teetering between ruin and hope, Colt allows his glute-instincts to scribble his itinerary through Murderparty Island. While my Emily Kaldwin peers at the souls of militia trapped by poverty and circumstance and opts for the sleep darts, my Colt is stifling laughter as he sticks four proximity mines to a firework and launches it at a happy drunk.

Deathloop encourages this by not only scrapping Dishonored’s wagging narrative finger, but actively lopping it off with a machete. Then it sews on a new finger, perpetually pointing out an array of blissful idiots who simply cannot get enough of the very edge of roofs. We’re left with a Colt who I can happily accept thinks nothing of spending a day planning an elaborate murder with the same casual annoyance and gleeful spite as a driver splashing grotty puddle water over the tosser who cut in front of them earlier at the post office.

Colt is the rare videogame shootyman who isn’t Doom Guy and just straight up enjoys his job as much as the player does. Both he and Julliana are Arkane protagonists cut from the cloth that the studio usually reserves for its much more interesting fringe oddballs while the leading parts go to stoics and mutes. I have some gripes with Deathloop, but I’ll take Colt and Julliana’s worst one liners over Corvo lamenting Dishonored’s much more interesting world while he perches on a roof like a grim, guilt-ridden, gravel-throated gargoyle. Homicidal glee is, it turns out, incredibly infectious.

Lighthearted time loop stories usually feature a sort of ‘seven stages of grief’ arc. Confusion. Despair. Acceptance. Then playful nihilism, like Bill Murray eating facefuls of cake for breakfast. This is always the best part. Deathloop knows this. Personal growth and altruism are for suckers who don’t recognise a good thing when they see it. Revenge is best served in perpetuity, in the pettiest ways imaginable. Bill Murray never had to floss again, and Colt never has to wash the face fragments off his best kicking boots.

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About the Author
Nic Reuben avatar

Nic Reuben


Definitely not on twitter. Big fan of skaven, onion bhajis, and weird fiction.

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