Deception IV: Blood Ties is a re-envisioning of a classic original PlayStation title called Devil’s Deception. The game is a strategy puzzler where you play as the bad guy, which is an increasingly rare occurrence in gaming. It’s your job to keep all the heroes out of your castle by setting traps and luring the heroes to their doom. The gameplay is all in real time and has an original and interesting spin on the genre. The game is dark, but deeply satisfying and it has the potential to take a lot of people by surprise. If you want something that is going to challenge you and be unlike anything you’ve played before, this game is calling your name.
In Deception IV: Blood Ties, you play as Laegrinna and you are the Devil’s daughter. You are on Earth to collect a number of holy artifacts. Humans need to use these holy artifacts to banish you back to Hell, but you need these holy artifacts to resurrect your father. Everyone knows that you are residing in an old castle and everyone is on a quest to take you out while bringing these artifacts along for the ride. As long as you can dispatch all the heroes that show up, you’ll eventually collect all the artifacts you need. However, if you fail to take down the heroes, they will successfully banish you back to Hell.
The game, at its core, is a strategic puzzle game. You are tasked with placing traps across the level and luring your prey into them. It sounds like an easy task, and for the most part it is, but as the game starts to get harder, you’ll have your hands full before you know it. The challenge of the game comes from the fact that you do not attack your enemies directly. Instead, all the damage comes from the traps you set as you run through the level. The emphasis is moved from the player’s skill level, to how well you set up your traps and it is unlike anything on the market today. Each trap in Deception falls into one of three categories: Elaborate, Sadistic, and Humiliating. Sadistic traps focus on pain, Elaborate traps are used in conjunction with the environmental traps on the level and Humiliating traps just humiliate the enemies. Each categories has a separate upgrade tree which unlocks more advanced and damaging traps in that category. However, you can combine categories to make elaborate sequences that play off each others effects. This chaining system is all about timing and damage, but pulling one off is immensely satisfying.
From a technical standpoint, the game falls squarely in the middle of the road. The game doesn’t look or sound amazing, but it didn’t seem like that was the focus of the game as a whole. Instead, the game focuses on puzzle solving and it really stood out in that department. If you liked Catherine, chances are you are going to like this game too. The game was very easy to play and contained a great tutorial system which covered all the aspects of the game. This tutorial system worked really well, and albeit a few confusing objectives, but the tutorial system managed to teach you the game in a fair amount of time. The controls were also solid and manipulating traps was easy and a minimap showed you how each trap works which was quite handy.
However, as strong as the puzzle-orientated gameplay was, there were a few big problems that may turn some gamers away. The first big problem was the fact that the game only saves in between missions and there are several gameplay sections between missions. If you don’t time your save correctly, you will end up losing your progress from the last save which will make you repeat some gameplay. Being able to save frequently is a big part of puzzle games and this auto-save system is a big issue.
Another issue is the fact that there is no English voice acting in the game. Everything is voiced in Japanese and there are English subtitles and menus. While this may not be a big deal for some, including myself, those that want something that caters to English may have a hard time coping with reading menus and subtitles. There were also very few cut-scenes in the game. In the beginning, you are treated to a beautiful cut-scene that sets up the story and characters. After that introduction, there are very few opportunities to see the characters in motion. It would have been nice to see some more development and get a better idea of how these characters interact with one another.
All in all, Deception IV: Blood Ties was a good game. As with many games, there were some issues that prevented it from joining the ranks of the “Must Play”, but it still fills a niche that is often overlooked today. If you wanted something that was strategic, but wasn’t an RPG, this is a great game to take a look at. The story is okay, but the strategic gameplay is deeply satisfying and worth getting through the game’s quirks. However, you really need to appreciate puzzle games to get the full recommendation from us, so if you prefer more action in your game, this one may be something you should overlook. Whatever your preference is, Deception IV: Blood Ties is something that should be appreciated since we see so few action puzzle games on the market today. Who said being bad wasn’t any fun?
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 3 version of Deception IV: Blood Ties developed and published by Tecmo Koei.
- Fills an Often Overlooked Niche
- Deep, Satisfying Gameplay
- Setting up Elaborate Traps is Just Plain Fun
- No English Voice Acting / Too Few Cutscenes
- Poor Auto-Save System
- Average Sound / Average Visuals