Deception IV: Blood Ties Review

Jae Lee

Being evil makes me feel good.

Dispatching one’s foes is a common objective in video games.

Whether it be with a sword or a rocket launcher, we’re tasked to use the tools given to us to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Still, sometimes I feel like the tools they provide me with are rather dull. After all, how many times have I stared down the sight of an assault rifle or swung an oversized sword?

In Deception IV, the tools provided to the player come in all shapes and sizes, many of which I’ve never seen anywhere else. It asks the player not only to kill the opposition, but to humiliate them in the most elaborate ways that only the inner sadist hidden deep within us all can possibly imagine.

A noble quest! But not really.

The story of Deception IV is appropriately odd and entirely insignificant. The devil’s daughter is sent to retrieve the holy fragments scattered throughout the world, so that she may free her father from his banishment.

With the help of three spirits, she goes out to murder all the holy descendants and anyone else that stands in her goal.

It’s the kind of story that’s been told countless times, but from the opposite perspective.

It more or less sets the stage for her luring various would be heroes and innocent bystanders alike to the battlegrounds of her choice filled with deadly traps.

The story is presented visual novel style, and while it’s fully voiced, it is only in Japanese.

Outside of the plot that unfolds over the various chapters are rather entertaining heroes and villains. Whenever a new “hero” makes their valiant entrance to the arena, the player is able to use the “devil’s eye” to see a small background story which shows their personality and often gives hints to how they can be easily dispatched.

Most of the time, it’s nothing but flavor text, like a hero who is actually two days away from retirement, and another pair who are madly in love with each other and plan to confess to one another after this mission.

It’s really too bad that none of them made it out alive, though.

At the very least, I managed to dispatch the two love birds with the same trap, so they didn’t have to watch the other die and live to suffer.

See, I’m not such a bad guy after all.

The stage specific traps are quite elaborate and devastating.

The meat of the experience in Deception IV is in the traps and how the player manages to combine them together for maximum carnage.

Traps can either be activated on the wall, floor or the ceiling, and among them are three more varieties in humiliation, sadistic and elaborate.

Each of the spirits are associated with one of the types, and as more traps of one variety are used, more unlock for the player to purchase using points that they earn by killing the enemy.

The more sadistic and elaborate a trap that dispatches a foe, more points are rewarded, so it behooves the player to think outside the box and use everything in their arsenal to get the job done.

Overkill is the name of the game; it relishes every moment with dramatic camera angles and slow-mo to show off the carnage in full detail.

The player must put themselves in danger on the battlefield, and must serve as bait to lure the foolish invaders to their deaths. Time is stopped when going into the trap menu, where the player can manipulate the various trap placements around the field, but as they take some time to become armed, it requires advanced planning to be successful.

The player can also transition from one area of the stage to another simply by running, and as each area has its own unique stage traps, it’s a good way to mix up the game play and unleash some devastating combos.

While it’s rather easy at first, new enemies that are resistant to certain types of traps appear and require special attention to vanquish. Most of the time, they must be combo’ed into various different types of traps to break their armor and at that point, they’re at the mercy of basically any trap in the game.

There’s something incredibly satisfying about thinking up a combo involving a multitude of traps and actually seeing it work.

I once caught a helpless hero in a bear trap, shot an arrow at them and launched them into a furnace using a swinging blade, and when they came out smoking and burnt to a crisp, I dropped a boulder on them.

That’s only just scratching the surface of how elaborate and sadistic one can get with the various traps present in Deception IV.

Unfortunately, the physics in the game can often get a little wonky and fling people in the wrong direction, or not far enough to continue the sequence, and I found myself not really being able to trust the trap distance indicators presented within the game’s interface.

The spirits make special requests which are side objectives that give points in their respective trap category.

Also, there were a few bosses and enemy types with impeccable aim that could hit me across the stage, and it was an exercise in patience trying to dodge their attack and kill them off as they constantly filled their health back to full after taking an attack or two.

Luckily, there were active skills I could purchase and change around in between rounds that swung the battle to my favor, but it was still quite the annoyance either way.

While this isn’t the best looking or most polished game out there, it’s a title quite unlike any other.

How much fun one has with this title is directly connected to how much they’re willing to experiment, and if they already consider themselves a bit of sadist, they will learn as to what extent they are.

If they don’t think themselves as such, I challenge them to try Deception IV and see if they can stop themselves from smiling when their diabolical design is realized in front of their eyes.

Fun Tidbit – The roll and healing are two must-have active skills!

Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 3.

Good

  • Bringing out the inner sadist in all of us
  • Fun traps that can be used in creative ways
  • Big levels with lots of unique stage traps

Bad

  • Wonky physics can be difficult to predict
  • Frustrating enemy types
8

Great

Jae Lee
Jae has been a gamer ever since he got a Nintendo when he was just a child. He has a passion for games and enjoys writing. While he worries about the direction gaming as a medium might be headed, he's too busy playing games to do anything about it.
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