Part of what made Kagero: Deception 2 so much fun was that you were the bad guy (or girl, to be more accurate). There was just something about killing a bunch of innocent village simpletons that felt so right. Deception 3 is every bit as full of mindless slaying as its predecessor, but this time you’re… *gag*… not an evil character. That’s relatively speaking, of course; it could be argued that you slay a few innocents here and there depending on your definition of “innocent.” When it comes down to it, however, you’re usually protecting yourself and others when you kill in this game. It’s no less fun to string together trap combos to elaborately murder your enemies, but it’s also obvious throughout that Deception’s unique evil element is largely missing.
That’s not to say that the game isn’t dark, of course. There’s corruption, deception (it’s in the title, after all), and so much wanton killing that it’s amazing that the in-game universe has any living characters left by the ending, of which there are 4. Even the visual aesthetics seem darker than in previous games, more shadowy and toned-down than the more colorful—but nonetheless dark—Kagero. The problem is that the protagonist (Reina) is constantly portrayed as a sympathetic character rather than a merciless killing machine, and not only is this less fun to play as, but the attempt to humanize her is so forced that she frequently comes across as a weak damsel in distress despite being a walking bastion of pain and death for her enemies. It’s not that big of a deal, all things considered, but it does contribute to this game being less fun than previous games in the series.
While the dialogue in Kagero was poor enough to be entertaining, Dark Delusion’s is simply a mess. It’s difficult to tell many important characters apart because it’s astoundingly rare for anyone to have a unique tone, and much of the writing is so vague and poorly-constructed from a grammatical standpoint that it’s much like reading a story over Google Translate. Clumsy, clumsy. Not only that, but the story is incredibly weak. That shouldn’t come as any surprise given that previous games came up with equally weak excuses to send small groups of people to their doom, but it’s a shame because this game is completely standalone (you don’t need to have played the previous games) and they had the chance to tell a deeper story. Fortunately for Deception 3, the story means very little in the grand scheme of things. After all, no one plays these games for the story—they play them to set up overly-complex traps and cackle in delight like the maddest of scientists as their foes take the bait. In that sense, this game totally delivers.
Traps are more customizable in Deception 3 than in any previous game in the series. Now you’re given a number of different starting points for traps, from arrows that shoot out of walls to boulders that fall from the ceiling, and the ability to customize those traps in a number of ways using emblems, rings, and orbs. Emblems tend to affect traps in the most striking ways, such as electrifying a boulder (helpful for electrifying areas of water when you’re not sure where exactly an enemy will step), turning a floor trap into a claw that picks up and hangs enemies, and turning a push-wall into a “vampire” wall of spikes that heals you while damaging your foes. Rings add ancillary elements to your traps, such as luring enemies to them, reducing charge time, and even adding damage. Orbs’ use are as simple as determining the power of your trap, with more orbs meaning more power.
Making new traps costs Dreak, the in-game currency that’s earned at the end of each chapter. Ark, the currency from the previous game, also returns, though I have no idea what it does. I’ve heard it plays a role in how much Dreak is earned, but its purpose is never explained, and needing to know never proved necessary.
As in the previous game, everything happens in a third-person perspective. You’re given three traps per room that are mapped to triangle (ceiling trap), X (floor trap), and square (wall trap), all of which have recharge times. Naturally, these traps can be combined in clever ways to do diabolical amounts of damage. Many rooms have in-built traps that you can work with, as well; in one room toward the end of the game, there’s a furnace with a small water-filled canal reaching to the wall, and the ceiling is covered in spikes. What I did was to create a floor trap in the canal that launches the enemy straight up into the spikes, with an electrified push wall trap set up to electrocute the enemy once they fell back down (since they’d land in the water) before pushing them into the furnace. In other rooms, it’s possible to create even more elaborate and customized mechanisms of doom.
The graphics seem to be a tiny bit improved over Kagero’s, though the color being toned-down means that Dark Delusion can tend to suffer from “same-ness,” with areas and characters all being indistinct enough to blend together after awhile. This is especially problematic in the case of Cecilia and Christina, two women with C-names who both wear red. Combined with the sheer volume of random names you get thrown at you (being that every victim comes with a name), it’s easy to confuse the two, which can contribute even more confusion to the already incoherent plot.
The music is similarly indistinct, all of it being dark and suiting the game without ever standing out or being memorable. Whether some less appropriate and more memorable music would have helped or hurt the game is impossible to know, though I suspect that it’d have hurt this particular game; Dark Delusion really relies on its barrage of moody audio nothings to make your merciless trap combos (of doom!) seem all the more malign.
Here’s what you should do: