Deception IV: Blood Ties – As We Play

As We Play offers the thought strands of the reviewer as they’re going through the game. This offers unique content for the reader so they can come to understand the conflicting feelings of the reviewer as they’re playing a game for the very first time. All feedback on this concept is welcome.

I hadn’t heard of the Deception series previously, so when I came across the trailer for Deception IV: Blood Ties, it left me highly intrigued. What is it that interested me about this game in particular, you may ask? Well, for one, the game boasts some spectacular anime-style visuals, which alone managed to hook me in. The theme, although quite sinister for a young female like myself, also caught my attention in some manner.

Possibly the best (and the bloodiest) entry in the series, Deception IV follows its occult theme by the book. You play as Leagrinna, the devil’s daughter, who’s tasked with collecting twelve artefacts in order to resurrect her father. You are served by three demonic goddesses, each representing elaboration, humiliation, and sadism.

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In order to defend yourself from knights, sorcerers, archers (and nuns?), your main goal involves rigging a room with a variety of traps, each designed to ensnare, embarrass and create as much bloody great damage as possible. Though the traps are initially limited as you begin, the possibilities unlocked as you progress become nothing short of endless. From downright brutal to outrageously zany, there’s no limit to just how much calamity you can cause. Traps can range from deadly swinging guillotines to razor-sharp spikes, to the simplest arrow launcher. There’s even a rake, which you can use to cause much humiliation when it is stepped upon in comical “Looney Toons” style. Placing the traps works inside a grid-like system, where you can tactically choose where you wish to position each trap, and in turn cause a chain of destruction and land the highest possible combos you can.

That’s not all though. Each trap is divided into one of three classes, color-coded by the demonic trio who serve you. Elaborate traps can be set down to instigate other traps, whereas sadist traps cause the most bloodthirsty damage, and traps designed for humiliation are there to serve as a mixture between the two. Fans of the series will be pleased to know it’s possible to skip past the tutorial completely, but it’s nice to know the option is there in case you have the desire to refresh your memory of the game mechanics.

Each mission also starts with a series of optional traps that are placed throughout the room to be used at the players discretion. These allow you to chain up further traps complete a number of bonus objectives given to you at the start of each chapter. There’s no end to the possibilities in how you set up a series of traps. One example could be using a moving wall to push them into a particular area, after which you drop a vase on their head. When they begin to then walk aimlessly around, you lead them into a deathly bear trap and then unleash the giant swinging guillotine as the final move. You can also make use of the traps already available, by setting off a trap for example that could cause a column to consequentially fall on someone as they are wandering aimlessly with a pumpkin attached to their head.

The game gives you four themed worlds to play around with, each with their own selection of traps  to utilize in order to make your combo creations even more exciting. Admittedly, four levels doesn’t sound like much, but there’s oodles of personality in all of them to consistently keep surprising you.

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As you advance throughout the game, more enemies start appearing at one time, each with their own abilities that can cause and inflict damage to you, but with the benefit of the “Devil’s Eye”, it’s possible to learn more about each enemy and their invulnerabilities in turn. Deception IV is action-packed for the most part, thanks in part to the addition of evasive abilities such as dodging and dashing, and there’s a whole host of customization options involved here,  so long as you can put up with constantly having to pause in order to set more traps.

The campaign will mostly set you back around 10 hours, but that’s not where the excitement ends. There’s also a huge 100 mission challenges on offer with specific requirements you must meet in order to reach the goal. There’s also the free battle mode, which allows you to practice combos at your own will too. Finally, the “Quest Creation” mode lets you pick your own enemies and objectives, and share them with others online. You also have the option to download other’s creations and try them for yourself. That’s not also taking into consideration the vast amount of unlockables including costumes and new traps which you can then use to replay further down the line.

The Japanese voice track is a refreshing choice, and is great in combination with the brilliantly animated openings and cutscenes.The story is fairly linear in that it doesn’t really have any surprising twists or turns, but the altogether dark and grisly nature of the game, alongside the wickedly amusing writing style take you for an altogether glorious ride.

Disappointingly, Deception IV makes good on graphical content but struggles to keep gameplay engaging. Playing for long stretches of time becomes overly repetitious, and even though the game is indeed highly enjoyable, it ends up feeling like you’re just going through the motions over and over.When further traps unlock it becomes a little more exciting and gives you a lot more to work with, but I still feel the game was better designed for the PS Vita, where you can just pick up and play in shorter more satisfying bursts.

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One of my gripes was that although the game includes an auto-saving function, if you die during a chapter, you’re still required to return and start over all the fights you have already done so far in that mission. This can further be frustrating if you reach the final fight of the mission and have to go back and start over.

For those who are already invested in the Deception series, Deception IV is without a doubt the entry that offers the most. For newcomers, it gives a great taste of what you’ve been missing, and for returnee’s it allows you to just get stuck right in. Tecmo Koei have managed to impress us once more with this brilliant creation, proving they still have what it takes to shine once more.

Areas for Development

  • Additional checkpoints throughout the mission to spare you having to start all the fights over again from the beginning.
  • The settings can get boring after a while.
  • Some of the gameplay feels repetitious and trap-building sequences become too routine.

Final Analysis

Although Deception IV is largely entertaining and full of limitless content, it’s also gruelling, hard work, and a little repetitious in places. The lack of a quick-save feature is slightly off-putting, especially when you come to the realization that you have to reface a multitude of enemies when you accidentally die. It takes a lot of time to set the traps, and the settings can get old real quickly. That aside, Deception IV is packed with countless hours of entertainment, and it’s fun for the most part in short bursts.

Technical Competency – 7/10

Graphic/Sound Quality – 6/10

Network Stability – N/A

Overall – 7.5/10

(These grades assess our playthrough, taking into consideration how many (if any) bugs were encountered, whether there were any interruptions in gameplay, and the product’s final technical state. These scores, coupled with the Final Analysis and Areas for Development, are suggestions for future patches and updates which the developers could (and in our opinion, should) explore. These scores are separate to our DLC/Expansion Reviews but link into our Patch/Firmware Reviews.)

(These scores are not designed as a grading system to determine the entertainment value of a product and should not be treated as such.)