A lot of people were surprised when a sequel to the PS1 cult favorite, Deception, was announced for the Playstation 3 and PS Vita. I was surprised that a series such as these games even existed, but after reading about its trap-based RPG mechanics I was definitely interested. With its unique gameplay and anime-styled, dark fantasy presentation, I came into Deception IV: Blood Ties with eager curiosity and what I found was a real surprise.
I was asked earlier about this game from a friend of mine and I proceeded to tell him it “was like that board game Mouse Trap.” The funny thing is I’ve actually never played Mouse Trap and only saw constant commercials for the game on TV when I was younger. I’m telling you this because while I’ve never actually played that game, it’s a pretty convenient answer when you can’t remember the term “Rube Goldberg” off the top of your head like me at the time. And while I can’t actually vouch for Deception IV: Blood Ties‘ similarities with the colorful children’s game, I can tell you that the mechanics of the game features the construction and execution of these Rube Goldberg contraptions to dispose of your enemies. Almost as if they were rats in your own personal maze (Seriously, anybody ever play Mouse Trap?).
The gameplay fuses elements of an action RPG with the aforementioned trap mechanic to create a real-time battle system in which you run around the level, setting up traps and position enemies into spots that would activate them. While your traps are divided into three categories for ‘elaborate’, ‘sadistic’, or ‘humiliating’ you can mix and match any combination of the three to create a chain of catastrophic and brutal events to befall your enemy. The kicker is that while your traps are extremely over-the-top and powerful, you yourself are fairly powerless and defenseless which forces you into mostly fleeing situations until they are all laid out.
You play as the daughter of what is essentially the devil (demon lord, same difference) who along with three other demons are in charge of collecting 12 sacred relics and revive your father so that he can continue bringing about the destruction and ruin of humanity. Fun stuff.
I’m a little disappointed that the voice acting is only in its native Japanese though that’s probably because I’ve personally been growing more fond of dubs over the years. Still, the full voice work is a great addition to the game. As for the visuals, the game itself looks like a Vita game even though I was playing on my PS3. I’ve never been one to care too much about graphical quality to begin with and the crisp visuals help streamline the more creative elements of the gameplay. Deception IV is a game that relies more on the creativity of its premise than eye-candy anyway so it rarely detracts from the experience.
On the topic of the game’s four characters; while they tend to fall into typical anime tropes, I really like the design of each of them. It’s just fan service, but if it’s done well then it’s just a plus in my book. The enemies on the other hand are a bit bland but an ability of yours lets you analyze their individual back-stories which fleshes out these enemy drones. It’s a nice touch and these characters each have a unique background which makes them feel livelier than your regular cannon fodder.
I appreciate games like Deception IV because they are wholly unique in the market. Deception offers an interesting mechanic and does it so exceptionally well that learning how to play is part of the fun. Even after the main 8-9 hour campaign is over, free battles and challenges give this game a much larger life beyond the main story. While I have nothing but praise for the game, there will be those that find the very anime-esque premise a bit too heavy and they’d be correct. While it’s not for everyone, Deception IV offers novelty in gameplay and comfort in anime tropes for anyone willing to pick up the fun title.
[Editor’s Notes: The original title of this review was originally going to be Deception IV: Blood Ties Review – Do You Want To Build A Trap, Man? Before Matthew realized the title had already been done on the site sort of. He was very upset.]
[+Great, challenging gameplay that’s wholly unique] [+Fun, sexy character design] [+Wonderfully macabre premise and design] [-Some design aspects a little bland] [-Tricky mechanics sometimes don’t work the way you want it to]