In 1996, the PlayStation became the breeding ground for a sadistic new strategy game. Named Tecmo’s Deception, the game featured crudely rendered traps and torture inflicted upon unsuspecting entrants into the Castle of the Damned. Something about this polygonal violence struck a chord with gamers as it quickly became a series. Kagero: Deception II and Deception III: Dark Delusion both followed on PS1, while Trapt came a few years later on PS2. After that, the Deception series went silent — until Tecmo Koei revealed a new entry was coming.
Deception IV: Blood Ties for PS3 and Vita is meant to be a sequel to Trapt, although it features a new cast of characters. Originally, the series featured a protagonist making a pact with the devil, but this plot point was mostly absent in the following titles. Deception IV brings this demonic aspect back with lead character Laegrinna. She’s actually the Devil’s daughter and latest inhabitant of the castle. She isn’t alone. Along with her are three daemon helpers by the names of Veruza, Caelea, and Lilia. Although each character is designed to look fairly cute or sexy, they’re each skilled at plotting the death of unwitting humans!
Fans of the series need not fret as the gameplay is mostly unchanged from its predecessors. The main difference is that, like the original Kagero, it is played from a third person rather than first person perspective. You’re free to run around, luring people toward your traps, before setting one off – just make sure you don’t accidentally ensnare yourself. Setting up traps is taken care of from a top-down perspective which can be toggled at any time. Once in trap mode, the game throws a grid down on the castle floor and lists all the instruments of terror you can place.
Traps are the heart of Deception and there are set to be a ton in IV. Traps such as wall spikes, iron maidens, pendulums, and scissor-like bear traps are all available. However, there’s also a lot of dark humor to be found thanks to traps like banana peels and bear masks that cause more pratfalls than pain. Setting up traps in a smart manner is rewarded with incredibly bloody chains. These are caused by NPCs being unlucky (or idiotic) enough to set off multiple traps in succession. It seems a bit weird that any human could stand getting slashed in half by a pendulum and then keep wandering on to the next trigger, but it’s certainly engaging to watch.
One new feature comes in the form of Trapmobiles. As their name implies, these are special large-scale traps that can be found on specific stages. One example is The Scarlet Express which looks like a hellish train. If you can finish an enemy off with one of the Trapmobiles then you’ll also trigger a special effect. No matter the trap employed, each has a statistic attributed to it: Elaborate, humiliating, or sadistic. Getting a good mix of each aids players in their overall level score.
At the moment, there’s no information about if Deception IV will be a Cross-Play title, but there definitely will be some interesting new features included when it launches. For one, PS3 players will be able to upload videos of their best trap chains for other players to check out. Perhaps the most interesting feature is called Cross-Quest which is used to upload or download user-created missions. Here’s hoping a rating system will be implemented so the best user missions are easily accessible. As with many other Vita games, touch functions have been implemented for simple trap placement and a few other things.
So far, it seems that Deception IV is aiming to fit squarely in line with its series brethren. The strategic gameplay is as bloody as ever, but there are some intriguing new features as well. Things like easier trap sequence usage, Trapmobiles, and user-created stages are all steps in the right direction. Hopefully the game’s release on both PS3 and Vita will give Deception a much-needed injection of new fans. Deception IV: Blood Ties launches on March 25th in North America.