Deceit Game Review - An Amazing Game To Destroy Friendships.
Recently I was perusing YouTube and I came across a game that I immediately had to give to all my friends, the concept is simple but leads to hours upon hours of game play and soul destroying paranoia and hatred for your best friends, strangely enough It's better to play this with random people than it is friends as we soon found out, but in the interest of reviewing i'll skip those details for now and bring them up later, before do start though it's important to point out that for a free game, this is simply amazing, game play aside this is a game that doesn't need to be free to play i'd happily pay 10 or 20 dollars and have already bought some of the DLC to support the developers, but with that out of the way lets jump right into the friendship destroying hell hole that is Deceit.
Welcome to the Asylum.
Story and Premise
The story of Deceit is rather simplistic in it's approach which isn't really a detriment since the it's a basically perfect to the game at large, six people are kidnapped by the Game Master, a mysterious doctor who has locked these people in an asylum with different ways to escape however there's a catch, two of them have been injected with a radical new virus that causes them to transform into horrible monsters before attacking and ultimately killing the other survivors, however before that happens the infected most figure out the best way to hide their affliction from the others, stationed around the Asylum are blood bags which the infected need to grow stronger before ultimately transforming.
The game as you may of guessed is based heavily on deceit, lying and detective work, while there are 4 innocent survivors there is no way to tell them a part from the infected other than to deduce who is lying or catching someone in the act, however since this is a team game it's also easy to throw shade on innocent people as an infected, drinking a blood bag in front of an innocent, shooting them then telling everyone you just saw them drink blood is only the start of the nightmare as it can quickly devolve into the innocents turning on each other making it easier for the infected to sneak around the asylum quietly gaining power before the lights go out.
Starting off you'll wake up with a pistol, players have to gather resources to defend themselves and discover who the infected are before the black out occurs which plunges the asylum into darkness for a minute and a half and gives the infected the chance to either transform or build up even more strength, the innocents have to find the fuses to open the way to the next part of the level, but have to do so fast unless the infected enrage and turn into unstoppable killing machines, it's an endless fight for survival based on deception and perception as the infected attempt to turn the innocents on each other while gaining strength and the innocents try to deduce who the infected are while cornering them before they change into the horrific beasts, but be aware, even the most innocent player can get you killed.
As stated above the objective for both sides is simple, for the innocents you have to fend off the infected and escape while moving throughout the level and as the infected you have to use deception and cunning to sneak around the asylum before transforming and killing the innocents, however the real game play here isn't actually the game play as funny as that sounds, it's really a human based experience with teamwork and voice acting as the real tincture of game play, numerous times iv'e had games where the innocent have turned on each other because of paranoia or misinformation and Iv'e had games where the infected have been discovered almost immediately, it gets even harder though when you play with your friends.
Throughout the level there are blood bags, these are used by the infected to gain strength for their coming transformation, but it also gives the innocents a way to find the infected, hidden around the level also are numerous items used to survive from the shotgun, to a camera to torches to an antidote that can save downed innocents, there are numerous ways to save yourself in the game but the objective always remains the same regardless of what items you have, survive or kill, but this game has a very very unique way of game play, from what iv'e explained above you would think that once the shooting starts it's game over, but you would be wrong, Deceit does a fantastic job of allowing both sides to play a meta game.
For the most part the game is played in two phases, preparation where the maps are lit and players can see each others names and the blackout phase, where the lights go dark and the infected can transform, however there is an interesting change in between the phases, during the light phase players can vote each other out if they believe they're infected which essentially removes them from the game for the duration meaning that the infected can win without ever transforming and the innocents can win without ever reaching the black out phase, however if a player is killed and isn't voted out they will respawn in a few seconds leading to even more increased hostility, however as soon as the lights go dark all bets are off, no one can be voted out and the infected can permanently kill the innocent leading to them winning the game, this phase is anxiety inducing for the innocent as they can't kill the infected, merely send them back to the human forms and since there are no names and it's incredibly dark you have to take very specific note of the characters they're playing to relay back to your team who is infected.
The game play is interesting since it has so many unique factors that can change on a game by game basis, regardless of your choices as an innocent or infected you never know when someone is going to figure something out or when someone is going to throw the blame on you so in a sense the biggest game play aspect of Deceit is actually the meta game, the human interaction that can be used to either make the game more streamlined for the innocents or can see numerous innocents turn on themselves and start a shooting gallery the funny thing is is that you never know what game you're going to get until you're in it, personally i absolutely love this aspect of the game as it allows you to bring your own brand of shady game play to the forefront but also allows your detective skills to shine through the lies and deceit.
Learn to hate your friends.
Now as I said above, this game can ruin friendships, my team have been playing with 6 of us in the lobby meaning two of us are always infected and we have all developed individual strategies on how to go about playing as innocent/infected and now we've got to the point where we just automatically don't trust each other, since the meta game can go so deep even the most tried and tested strategies can actually be ruses played by the infected such as grabbing the blood testing kit, if another infected grabs the kit they can use it to throw the blame on anyone with "certainty" since the blood test tells people if they're infected or not so it can be used by the infected to clear themselves or by the infected to blame an innocent as the infected, after several hours of this we were basically at a mexican standoff in some points with us all in a room slowly moving towards the exit with guns pointed at each other.
Ultimately though this is what makes the game so amazing, you switch from helping your friends to hindering your friends on such a constant basis you eventually come to the realization you can't trust anyone and when that sought of anxiety and paranoia kicks in it makes for a wild ride in your discord with people accusing each other because of previous games or finding out tells about the other player, the best times are when everyone turns on each other when you're playing an infected cause even if you do attack and kill someone, no one truly believes the person who has figured it out, just imagine a drunk homeless guy on the street shouting about aliens invading, while it may be true, no one is gonna believe him and ultimately that's what gives this game such unique depth.
Though there are times when you will just want to rage quit after you've been killed and voted out as an innocent and your friends don't believe you, ideally i think the strongest gaming communities benefit the most from Deceit as it turns your years of hard work and dedication to each other on it's head when you can't trust the person you've been playing games with for many years and you trust implicitly to have your back, this is the core essence of Deceit, turning people against each other with paranoia and fear and the developers over at Automaton have done a fantastic job at fine turning their game to deliver a unique experience, every game regardless of how well people work together so in that regard, thanks for making me hate my friends so much Automaton!
However there is one thing that needs to be said on this game as a whole.
Free to Play done right.
This game doesn't deserve to be free to play, there are a lot of games out there that have price tags that betray the fan base who buy them, in this case Deceit is the perfect model for the $20 game tag, after playing it for several hours I still couldn't believe it was free to play, I was waiting for the "Gotcha" moment when they locked things behind pay walls but it never came, instead the only real game play changer from the F2P model is the Werewolf DLC which i bought anyway because it only enhanced the awesomness of the game (side note though it completely fucked me since I was the only werewolf player in our group which meant they always knew it was me), likewise the cosmetics are done in such a way that sure you can buy them out right, but the loot system is a lot more enjoyable.
Leveling in some games can be tedious and pointless, Deceit hits the mark with their loot system and leveling system, you gain a token for the loot mini game that actually emphasizes skill rather than random chance, while yes there is a random chance to get legendary gear if you do get one you have to play a round of cups and follow it all over the screen while the NPC tries to confuse you about where it's gone, i'd love to see more developers do this as opposed to completely randomized unlock simulators, i messed up during a game and missed the epic that was waiting under the cup I thought I was following and raged out when i received a white item, but in a good way the only person I could blame was myself and it just meant I had to play more of the game to unlock another chance, as it should be!
Personally I think Automaton are selling themselves short, even at $10 I'd still buy this game regardless, it's kind of sad to be honest that such a unique and awesome game is on the free to play market but it may be a strategy by them to generate interest in their company, who knows, what I do know is that the game is one of the best free to play games iv'e ever come across and is much more deserving of a few dollars here and there for some dlc's or items you want to buy.
Critical Review and Reception.
So now we come to the critical review portion, this is where i'd normally point out faults with the game that objectively people might not enjoy but I can't think of any here, it's really hard to find fault in the game a part from some very small game decisions the developers made such as needing 3 innocents to vote out an affected(sometimes you might be the last one alive) or not having any real way to fight back against the infected at night time a part from hiding and running, but these are pretty small in the grand scheme of a game that is more focused on team play than it is being the last man standing, like I said above this is a team based game where your strength and weakness is the team you're playing with and only gets harder with the friends you've had for years playing at the same time.
In the future i'll be releasing a game play video of us devolving into rabid animals but for now it's easier just to say it's a game that's worth your time even if you're a solo player, the community has developed strategies and after a few games you will too, whether they work or not is up to you and how convincing you can be whether you're infected or not, while there isn't too much in terms of actual game play skill it's not really that important as the most important aspect is something everyone can do, some better than others mind you, but it's all down to how you can control and manipulate the other 5 people in the server and the most enjoyable thing is you either do it for good or evil as playing either innocent or infected your strategies can work in different ways and have different effects, numerous times iv'e been infected and made it to the last two after convincing the last innocent it was someone else only to eat them at the escape hatch and other times iv'e convinced the infected that I believe we've already killed the infected and escaped before they can transform.
It's an amazing game to play that's for sure and hopefully Automaton gives it a bit more love in the future as the core concept of the game can be co-opted for numerous different games, personally i'd love to see a bigger player base per server say 24 people where 6 are infected or even in an open world type game with higher stakes, but for now we have Deceit and i'm thoroughly enjoying every minute of the game and I think a lot more people will if they pick it up, surprisingly this has gone under the radar of a lot of people so hopefully this review can clue you in on a fantastic, free and ultimately enjoyable game that you and your friends can hate each other over with as well!