Friday, April 25, 2014

Trying just a little too hard

Deception 4 is a perfect example of developers doing more than they needed for a sequel. Deception games, in concept, have never been very complicated. Enemies wander into room, player kills them in grotesque ways. Repeat until bored - they were always fun while they lasted but had the common sense to not last too long. All Deception 4 had to do was more of the same with better graphics and a few new traps and the (un)faithful would be satisfied.

Improved graphics and a better physics engine have been delivered. Prior Deceptions existed completely on a grid. It didn't matter where a trap hit a victim, if it hit the results would always be the same. This made planning out trap combination very easy. This time location does matter - bodies get caught on door frames, traps run into one another, it all feels much more physical and looks quite painful. When a six trap combo goes off without a hitch it is almost embarrassingly satisfying.

Tecmo did not stop there. Traps are now divided up into three categories - elaborate, humiliating, and sadistic. Use of each is graded separately as a way of encouraging the player to experiment. The problem is that the humiliating traps just don't do much damage and there is almost always a better choice in one of the other categories. It is my own fault for trying to be too efficient, but one third of the traps just never get used.

It was a good idea but one that was not needed. More effort should have been put into the room traps which are not as good as they were in previous games. Almost every room has them and either I can't figure out how to use them or...

Yeah, I can't figure out how to use them.

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