The unfortunately-named Trapt (which was niche enough before deciding to also share its name with a band) is known in Japan as Kagero II: Dark Illusion according to Wikipedia. As in, a sequel to Kagero: Deception II, which is hands-down the best game in the Deception franchise and my personal favorite. I love this series of killing groups of hapless villagers and soldiers with elaborate Rube Goldberg trap chains, but my Playstation 2 was broken for the longest time and capturing video for it was always a hassle, so Trapt remained just out of my reach. After a cleaning binge, however, the system magically fixed itself, and the PS3 component adapter I have even fits into it to make recording nice and simple. This is fate: I’m destined to massacre a bunch of virtual people with traps. The universe wills it.
The game starts with main character Allura at her mother’s grave with her father, King Olaf. Her father has remarried to a generic evil stepmother archetype named Catalina, and Allura throws some shade her way, not understanding that this is the beginning of a Deception game and burning bridges isn’t the wisest course of action before everything goes sideways. Don’t start none, won’t be none.
Then the king is murdered by a dagger that hits him from out of nowhere, and Catalina immediately seizes the opportunity to blame it on Allura, which forces her and her handmaiden to flee from the guards who take Catalina at her word. In the great rock-paper-scissors game of life, throwing shade loses out to being accused of regicide, and Allura kind of had it coming. Also, if you’re not familiar with the earlier games in the series, this entire scene is a callback to the original Deception’s setup where the prince main character visits the king, only for said king to die suspiciously in time for his brother to burst in and blame it on him. It’s a nice touch.
We run a few yards and find someone sympathetic to us. Mostly because he hates Catalina. He tells Allura’s handmaiden, Rachel, to take care of the princess and lay low for awhile while he deals with things at the castle. Nice people rarely live long in Deception games, so don’t get attached. I have to say, though, that the animation is in that awkward place between when developers figured out realistic expressions and when they were content to paste frowny eyes on blocky characters to indicate emotion, and the occasional weird expressions make playing this game pure joy.
Rachel decides to act as a diversion so that Allura can make it to some nearby mansion, because who would ever think to check the mansions when hunting down royalty? All of the solid gold palaces with neon “check here if you’re looking for princesses” signs must have been full. Rachel sucks at laying low.
Allura makes it to the mansion and touches the door, at which point a light envelops her arm and the pact is made. Apparently. I have to say, that’s pretty weak contract-wise. Apparently the bar has been lowered from the days where you had to sign a parchment with blood and is now firmly in “iTunes user agreement” territory.
The devil is referred to in this game as “Fiend.” Honestly, I don’t know why Trapt even bothers. The first game just called him the devil, and it’s not like the euphemism makes it any less obvious what’s happening.
Suddenly, someone bursts in. Someone who doesn’t attack. Someone who the Fiend demands the murder of. Despite never explicitly agreeing to this pact beyond touching a door—an everyday and decidedly un-demonic act—I oblige.
After he dies, his best friend shows up and is feeling slightly less generous about letting me murder him. This is the first chance to jump into the trap screen, which is the circle button (you can also get into it by digging through the menu, but that’s slower and there’s really no point). From there, I set up a few things near the staircase, which is my personal favorite place to kill people. I expect to crush a lot of people with rolling boulders on staircases in this game.
Normally this kind of line comes across as overly dramatic, but seriously—all she did was touch a door. I can’t overstate how unfair it is for door-touching to automatically opt into a demonic pact. Imagine that you walked into a Burger King and the second your hand touched the handle, a spirit gave you immeasurable power and stole your soul. It’d be kind of neat on the one hand, but on the other, that’s definitely not something you agreed to or went to that location in order to find.
Some magical-looking guy shows up and rambles about how the events that are playing out will unleash the Fiend on the world or something. He suggests that this has happened once before (so obviously it’s not that bad), but does so in a mysterious way that’s light on actual details. Wizards are always such teases.
The ever-present Ark returns as a form of currency (I think?), but Deception 3’s Dreak currency seems to have been replaced with Warl. Dual currencies always strike me as a needless overcomplication, but I guess we’ll see. I can’t see any way this game stops being entertaining, though. It feels like the previous two Deception games, and that means the love and joy of murdering a bunch of hapless idiots.