Deception is a long-running series, starting off on the original PlayStation back in 1996. Though a newcomer to the franchise, and thus unable to compare it to previous titles in the series, sadly this game has left a bad taste in my mouth.
Unlike a lot of games, Deception IV: Blood Ties has you playing the villain, or should we say villains, of the story. In the cutscene at the start you find out the Devil was sealed away 3,000 years ago by the Holy Verse. This was then split into different parts spread throughout the globe to hopefully stop him from ever returning. Since that time however, there are now three Daemons who have been created to collect the Verse to bring back the Devil — Caelea, Lilea and Veruzak. Each one sports their own personality, though are nonetheless intent on doing what they were created to do. You play Laegrinna, who is in fact the daughter of the Devil, created by splitting part of his soul. Deception’s overall story mainly involves the Daemons tempting humans into their castle.
Unfortunately, the narrative is probably the most interesting part of this game. Once the gameplay kicks in, the repetition becomes abundantly clear very quickly. The main objective of Blood Ties is to set traps in order to inflict pain upon the individuals who appear on each mission, and though some of them are immune to certain traps and devices, it’s pretty easy to use the same sort of trap layout over and over again. You also don’t start with many traps, and you won’t find many unlocks till quite a bit later on. Of course, you will have a lot of fun with the traps the first few times though, and even now I do enjoy picking the game up for short bursts, but it isn’t the type of title I could do a big session with.
There are also traps built into the dungeon, which allows you to use for chaining up more traps. The aim of the game is to cause the highest chain you can by placing the traps in strategic locations and areas. Of course, you can do the game without using them, but chances are you won’t be able to complete the bonus objectives. These are given to you from the other three Daemons at the start of each chapter.
Blood Ties features both an auto and manual save, though the issue I found is that if you die during a chapter, it will start it all over again, meaning you will have to redo all the previous fights. Luckily the chapters aren’t that long, but it can still prove frustrating if you had just got to the final fight and have to redo it all over again. It’s pretty obvious this game is really designed to be played on PS Vita due to its pick up and play nature.
Deception IV also offers a free battle mode, which allows you to choose where in the gothic castle you start off in, as well as allowing you to pick enemies to add into the dungeon. The amount of choices you have in the free battle mode is a nice surprise allowing you to pick which traps you can use in the match, too. There is also a feature to upload and download other gamers’ quest that they have created on the main menu. It also covers a lot of the statistics in the game including the enemies you have killed via leaderboards. You can even save replays of your favourite tortures and watch them later on.
I played the Vita version of the game, and while the character models are fairly impressive, the environments don’t really hold up that well at all. The anime-style aesthetics, especially in the cutscenes, are a particularl highlight, as are the different costumes for the main character. I also like the fact when you destroy a target’s armour that they will actually appear wearing underwear, which is quite humorous. Deception IV also has a really good soundtrack that really fits this style of game, which is nice. Finally, the sound of a swinging axe hitting someone never gets old.
Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with this game, though I am sure old school fans of the series will really enjoy it. The highly repetitive nature of the action makes it hard for me to recommend it at full price, though at a budget there is enjoyment to be found in playing for short bursts.