Thursday, 30 July 2015

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess

The Deception series is largely still unknown in the West. Kicking off with Tecmo's Deception: Invitation to Darkness in 1996, the series, until last years Deception IV: Blood Ties, was only released in Japanese and America. Poor Europeans such as myself never got a chance to try out the series for ourselves. Though we did manage to get our hands on Trapt, a Playstation 2 spin-off of the franchise, the main series is only something that has been open to us in recent years. Last year I reviewed Blood Ties. I really enjoyed it, and now comes an enhanced version of that game.

Developed by Tecmo Koei and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita comes Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess, a great, funny, bloody and over-the-top game that makes me a little sad for missing all the previous games in the series back in the day. The plot is pretty straightforward, and has you assume the role of Satan's daughter, Laegrinna. Laegrinna wants to effectively resurrect her father, and in order to do this she'll need to harvest souls. However, souls don't really grow on trees, so to get them she'll need to lure people into her death traps. Laegrinna does this with the help of three demons, who by the way are as equally undressed as she is. There is a second story mode in this updated version of Blood Ties, but we'll get into that soon.

The Nightmare Princess is all about laying traps. The three demons that help out Laegrinna effectively represent the three different types of traps you can set. The three types of traps on offer here are elaborate, sadistic, and humiliating. Elaborate traps are the ones you'll want to place down in order to kick off a chain reaction, sadistic ones deal out the most damage, while humiliating traps are, well, humiliating to the person who walks into them, while also being pretty funny. Traps are plentiful and diverse in terms of what they do too. From rolling flaming boulders, banana peels to slip on, a circular saw, a sharp Scythe, a small black hole and an iron maiden to squeeze enemies into, the traps in The Nightmare Princess go from the horrible to the hilarious. It's up to you what type you're into, but with around 100 traps on offer, you've plenty to choose from.

Upon starting a level you're placed in a room. Each room you play in have different layouts and obstacles, and its up to you to use each given level layout to your advantage. With the flick of a switch you can quickly jump into an overhead view, and this is where you'll start laying down your traps. But when playing The Nightmare Princess you're not just aimlessly putting traps down, instead your ultimate goal is to create a chain reaction between traps. The bigger the better though, as for some of the later enemies that will invade your level, they often need a lot of damage inflicted on them before they keel over. So this means there's a great level of strategy involved in The Nightmare Princess, as you'll often find yourself creating intricate configurations of traps in the hope of one giant chain reaction of death. It's doable even for the stronger enemies, but it takes more skill and precision than you may assume.

Another side to gameplay is when you're directly in charge of Laegrinna, and once you do this it cuts to a third-person view of her. From here you'll need to directly lure your opponents into your traps. This gives you a nice perspective of the action down on the ground, as well as giving you more control over which enemies fall into which trap. One nice little feature in The Nightmare Princess is that once an enemy walks into a room, you're able to read up a little bit of a back-story on them. Back-stories can vary in terms of content, but there were a few times in which I felt pretty bad for the person I was ultimately leading to their death.

The Nightmare Princess will offer you around 9 hours of gameplay during its main story mode, but on the side it also gives you 100 challenge missions, a sandbox mode and a level editor in which you can create your own missions and challenges, and ultimately share them online. Finally, the biggest enhancement to gameplay that The Nightmare Princess has over Blood Ties is the addition of another story mode. This new story mode focuses on the character of Velguirie, another daughter of the devil who, compared to Laegrinna, is more evil and wicked. Her story mode is a little more free-form than Laegrinna's, and can even branch off intro different directions at key points during the plot. If you've never played a Deception game before, buy this game. It's funny, smart and violently hilarious. If you have and already own Blood Ties, I think there's enough new content here to warrant another purchase.

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess captures my bloody imagination with a 4/5.


Denis Murphy

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