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Deception IV: Blood Ties Review

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On 08/26/2014 at 03:12 PM by Chris Yarger

“Oh yes, please walk directly toward me, but look straight at me! I don’t want you to notice that bear trap lying at your feet or the guillotine swinging in from the right…”

Great niche title that’s well worth the time and effort. While it won’t astound you with anything new in the series, it still proves to be a great installment!

I fondly remember the first time I played Tecmo’s Deception for the original PlayStation back in 1996. It was the one game I could play over and over thanks to its unique gameplay where you never truly attack an enemy or defend yourself from a blitzkrieg of varying attacks. Instead, Deception challenged the player to lure enemies into tactfully placed traps that will do your bidding. Deception IV follows the same formula as the previous installments; instead of fighting your way through hordes of enemies, you’re simply left trying to stay alive while luring them into your dastardly devices.

For those who haven’t played a Deception game before; fear not, the storylines do not follow one another, meaning that anyone can jump into Deception IV without any prior knowledge of the series. Furthermore, the basic underlying story is simple to follow as all the depth is in the gameplay. You play as Laegrinna who is the daughter of Satan, and you need to obtain 12 ancient relics to break the seal imprisoning your father. Helping you with this relic hunt are three demon goddesses who act as your allies and help lure unsuspecting holders of the seals to your location. My only issue with the story mode is its lack of English voiceovers. Players are forced to read subtitles, as the original voice cast is the only available voice track.

Laying traps is easily accomplished through a basic menu that shows the room you’re in, which allows you to place your traps on the room’s grid. There are three different trap types at your disposal: floor, wall, and ceiling based. Within each category are sub-tiers of traps: sadistic ones dealing out heavy amounts of damage, elaborate traps that deal minor damage yet aid in setting up combos to dish out mass amounts of damage, and humiliating traps which represent a mixture of both sprinkled with a bit of humor.

Setting up combos in one of the more redeeming gameplay aspects of Deception IV and also the most rewarding. It requires thinking ahead and anticipating your enemy’s reactions, which results in incredible amounts of damage and a reward of massive amounts of experience points to buy new traps. For instance, by setting a bear trap on a flight of stairs, you can easily ensnare your victims, drop a bolder from above to roll down the stairs, use a springboard to send the bolder back up the steps for another crushing blow, and then knock them off the stairway with a swinging guillotine simply for good measures.

This however leads to the biggest drawback of the game; the complete lack of enemy AI. At one point, you begin to realize that you can easily circle back around to the same traps and the AI will fall for them every time, showing that they’re unable to essentially learn what is lying in wait for them, allowing you to beat them utilizing only one trap. The lacking of enemy AI is countered though when you’re unable to focus on one specific enemy since you’ll often find yourself facing up to three foes at once.

The traps don’t end with what you set around the areas either - for each room within every location contains numerous traps of their own built in to the landscape. Whether it’s a pillar that can be toppled on to your pursuers or an electric chair that will launch your enemies, there’s always something within your general vicinity that can be used against your enemies or turned upon you with a simple misstep.

As you progress through the game though, you’ll learn quickly that laying advantageous traps simply isn’t enough. After the first two chapters of the game, the game decides to force an incredible difficulty hike upon you that seemingly plateaus throughout the rest of the game, causing enemies to always rush at you in groups of three while typically being immune to varying traps. This is easily countered though by using your Devil’s Eye, which shows not only their immunities, but their weaknesses as well as a bit of unique backstory for each enemy.

The foes you face throughout your adventures are quite diverse in their classes; ranging from melee based opponents to wizards and archers. While they share similar appearances in each class, it’s the bosses that truly shine in this game. The bosses prove to be quite memorable in terms of appearance and their respectable personalities, with my favorite being the gun-toting nun who is out to purify all evil by committing atrocities of her own.

The further you delve in to the game, the more you’re able to unlock. Basic story progression will provide you with new arenas you can use as your personal sanitarium of pain, whereas the complexity of trap combinations will reward you with valuable experience points which can be used to unlock even more devious traps as well as abilities to use upon yourself such as healing, increased speed, and the ability to send enemies in to an enraged and blinding frenzy. If you find yourself wanting more than what you’ve unlocked through the storyline in terms of traps and abilities, you can always enter the free play mode and gain precious experience while tinkering with new combos.

Deception IV boils down to what is essentially an action-packed match of chess. While you’re always trying to stay one step ahead of your enemy at all times and plan for every move they make, they’re on the other side of the coin trying their own tactics to take you down as well. The best part is the limitless combinations that lay at your disposal, hindered only by enemy immunities.

Once you finish the relatively short campaign mode, there is still plenty to do within the game; whether you fancy free play, or you want to attempt to complete the 100 challenges offered. There is also an option for you to create your quests, which can be played out and posted online for others to attempt. Couple the optional game modes with the mass amount of unlockable content, and you’ll easily find yourself enjoying countless hours as you slice, dice, push, squish, and launch your enemies into oblivion. Whether you decide to play this on the Vita or PlayStation 3, you’re guaranteed to find something you enjoy, no matter how sadistic you feel.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




08/27/2014 at 02:52 PM

I played Trapt, which is I guess the third Deception game in the series, on PS2. I love the concept and the visuals of these games. Can you imagine Deception IV online with real players trying to get through your traps? That would be awesome!

Chris Yarger Community Manager

08/28/2014 at 05:00 PM

I would love to see an online Deception game, however, the pausing to set up traps would be annoying if it's continuously done. Considering it's easier for us to memorize traps, I'm sure the pausing would be happening quite frequently


08/29/2014 at 02:39 PM

How about asynchronous on a phone. That would be cool!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

08/27/2014 at 07:01 PM

i can't believe they're still making these!

Chris Yarger Community Manager

08/28/2014 at 05:00 PM

I know man! I remember playing the first one on PS1 way back in the day. Such glory!!


08/28/2014 at 01:08 AM

I've never heard of these games until now. How long to beat? It's gameplay mechanics sound wierd to me. Sounds kind of tedious.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

08/28/2014 at 05:01 PM

They're probably around 15-20 hours to beats, depending on how well you can strategize and fully utilize the traps and world around you against your enemies.

And it does sound tedious, but it's actually a lot of fun. If you ever see it on sale, I'd definitely recommend it just so you can try it out for yourself!


08/30/2014 at 03:11 AM

Hawt women who set up random fatality traps for their hapless victims and dogged pursuers? How delightful! (Dark grin)

Chris Yarger Community Manager

09/02/2014 at 06:30 AM

This game was meant for you Ben!

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