KAGERO: DECEPTION II / Tecmo / PlayStation
 
 
Along with the partial name change, Deception II drops the Satanism angle for a corny Ancient Aliens sort of story. It takes place in an alternate history where a blue-skinned race called the Timenoids is responsible for human technological advancement, but they also demand periodic human sacrifice. In spite of the corniness of the premise, the game is actually just as gory and morbid as the first entry was, if not more so. Also no clue why they're still stuck at medieval technology. Humans seem like they're getting a raw deal here.
 


Unfortunately, there are other changes that take it down a peg. The biggest one is a change from the fairly smooth FPS style of the first game to a third-person view with tank controls. While third-person isn't a bad choice for these games, slow and clunky tank controls are terrible for a game where you're basically being pursued constantly.
 


The trap system is also different. The first game simply gave you a limited amount of "trap points" and let you distribute them freely as long as you stayed within budget. In this one, there's no more trap points, but you can only place three traps per room -- one on the wall, one on the floor and one on the ceiling. There's pre-set traps in some rooms that can also be used, like a swinging pendulum or an electric chair, and the focus is on using your three traps to set up elaborate combos into the environmental traps. There's also no more monster summoning or spells, you have to rely 100% on traps to do damage.
 


While this might seem like it lends the game a more strategic bent, what you'll find is that you just keep using the same trap combos over and over and over. There's no point to doing anything else. The enemies are also dopey as shit all the way to near the end of the game, so you can just keep running around leading them into the same trap sequences over and over and over.
 
 


The ongoing plot is also muddled as hell, thanks partially to a pretty bad Engrish dialogue translation. We're playing as Milennia, a goth chick/bondage fan who gets recruited by the Timenoids for some reason to lure humans to an evil mansion. You'll switch to two other locales as the game unfolds, and as a plot develops where humans are rebelling against the Timenoid king, and there's also this religious faction trying to become Timenoids ... it gets confusing very quickly.
 
 


The surprisingly lush soundtrack is the high point here, done in a similar symphonic/choral and African percussion style like the memorable soundtrack of the first game. Once the novelty of the new traps wears off, however, maps are just too simple and samey and the story is just too garbled to promote much interest in continuing. It isn't terrible, but it seems like a step back from the first game.
 
 
 
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