[The PS4 version of the game was used for this review]
Tecmo Koei’s sadistic strategy game is back with a vengeance!
Does anybody remember the board game ‘Mouse Trap’ from when they were kids? That escalating tension as you awaited your opponent’s every move in the hope that you’d finally get to unleash the chain reaction you’d oh-so-carefully put together and trap them in your net? Well Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess is pretty much that game, but over and over.
In this updated release, following the original Deception IV: Blood Ties on PS3 and Vita last year, Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess brings the game to the Playstation 4, with newly polished graphics and a new Quest mode added, along with another Vita release containing the new content.
The aim of the game is to collect all of the 12 Holy Verses that have locked Laegrinna’s daddy in his unholy prison and free him to take over the world once more. These are held by descendants of the 12 saints that originally sealed him away over 1000 years ago, and they’re not likely to give them up lightly. These descendants and their armies are called to Laegrinna however, as they try and defeat her for glory and success.
Laegrinna is unable to attack enemies directly, which is understandable really when you consider her outfit. For a daughter of Satan hellbent on vengeance, she sure lacks practical clothing. Luckily, she has an arsenal of traps, along with three subordinates to guide her to victory. Caelea, Veruza, and Lilia are all on hand to help you through the introduction and hand out friendly advice on how to mess people up. Each of these embody a specific trait (namely Elegance, Sadism and Humiliation) and after helping you through the first few stages, will hand out mini missions and requests throughout the game in order to earn extra points. Each of these requests will play to their relevant trait, and can be anything from entering a certain room in a dungeon, to taking out multiple enemies using a specific trap and event. Once trapped in your castle, or factory, or one of the several other game maps available, the aim is to defeat these enemies in the most extravagant and humiliating way possible.
Each of the traps available are aligned with the three traits mentioned above, and will either or and inflict damage, trap and fling enemies across the map. These are then chained together to create impressive combos and maximise the damage possible. This was lots of fun, as I tried to work out which traps worked best together, and quickly learnt which ones were although flashy, not much use in getting Soldier X from trap A to misery B. After each mission, souls and points are earnt, which allow you to unlock more skills and traps, which grow more ludicrous and fun throughout the game (giant yo-yo anyone?). Only a few of these traps can be taken through to each mission at any one time, so planning and strategy is crucial to ensure you’re not caught short. A slight frustration during missions is the enemy AI, which can make placing and implementing certain plans slightly awkward as enemies turn slowly and might be flung in the completely wrong direction to which I intended.
Along with the original story mode featuring Laegrinna, an additional Quest Mode is now available to play featuring Valguirie, the previously unknown second daughter of Satan, who has recently awoken from a deep slumber. Valguirie’s missions mix up the formula a little as she has a couple of new moves to make building up combos a little easier. Valguirie is able to quick dash and kick enemies, which makes life easier when trying to gently coax (with force) enemies into a loaded trap. Along with new locations, Quest Mode is a nice addition to the game and makes everything feel a little more fresh and mixed up.
For those really into their customisation, Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess offers you the opportunity to make your own customised enemies to lure into your dungeons. For hardcore fans, I can see the appeal but for a person lacking true sadistic traits, I felt slightly uncomfortable at the notion of spending time creating a fictional character only to inflict pain and humiliation on them.
To be honest, I felt that the PS Vita version of Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess may be more appealing than on the PS4 , as its bite size missions would be perfect to pick up and play on a commute or out and about (that is, if you don’t mind the strange looks from the odd person or three). However, as much as the improved graphics look nice on the PS4 version, it feels like something has been lost somehow and it feels unnatural to sit and play through several missions in one sitting.