Ever play that game The Incredible Machine back when you were a kid? The one where the goal was to build a somewhat complex machine out of individual parts that, when linked up, would make a chain-reaction that would complete a simple task? Well, I did, and I loved that game, partially because of the strategy that had to go into it, and partially because of the creativity that had to go into it. So, its not surprising that I found myself liking Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess, a game where, like The Incredible Machine, players must put together individual objects to create a chain-reaction. Unlike The Incredible Machine, however, the chain-reaction didn’t result in a ball being moved or a candle going out, but instead, it ends with someone dying in some horrible, horrible way.
I should explain that The Nightmare Princess is essentially just the 2014 PlayStation 3 and PS Vita game Deception: Blood Ties with added content and, if playing on the PS4, improved and smoother graphics. The core gameplay of laying down traps, luring enemies into them, and then activating said traps to set off a chain-reaction is exactly the same. Laegrinna’s story line is there, unchanged, and all the familiar traps and stages are there, too. That being said, I want to focus more on the new content, rather than the the entire game. If you have never played Blood Ties, our review of the game does a great job of summing up its basic plot and gameplay mechanics.
The most notable bits of new content is probably the new title’s new game mode and character. In The Nightmare Princess, you discover that the devil had a second daughter, named Velgyrie, who has just awoken from a long slumber only to find herself lacking some of her previous powers. With the help of her companion, Ephemera, she goes on a mission to restore her powers, kill people, and collect souls. Like Laegrinna, her sister, Velgyrie is also able to use traps to create chain-reactions that brutally kill and humiliate her enemies. Unlike Laegrinna, however, she is also able to physically attack her enemies with an all-new “Kick” ability, which lets Velgyrie do some damage to her enemies and push them backwards, making it a useful skill when trying to get some stubborn human to step on a strategically placed trap.
To be able to use Velgyrie, players need to head over to the new Quest Mode, which stars the devil’s second daughter as the main character. Here, players are tasked with clearing a total of 100 new quests, all of which have a main goal, such as “kill all enemies,” that must be completed to finish the quest, as well as three secondary goals which can be completed to unlock new items, such as new traps.
These are fun at first, but just like the missions in Laegrinna’s story line, the quests soon become repetitive and boring. There are only so many times you can lure bumbling enemies into carefully placed traps before the novelty of the whole thing runs out, and at that point, you realize that every quest is strikingly similar to one another. In order to try to keep things interesting, The Nightmare Princess added a number of new traps to the original game, bringing the total number of usable traps to over 180.
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On top of that, several new stages have been added to the game. Most of these new stages take place in modern day areas, such as an outdoor park, a gymnasium, and even an amusement park. Like every other map in the game, these new areas are fairly empty and bland, without too many interactive, stage-based traps to take advantage of. But, the new areas do allow players to have a break from all the dreary castles and knights, especially since the enemies in these stages are decked out with modern clothing and weapons, rather than the typical swords and metal armor.
New Face, New Environment
If the newly styled enemies are still a bit boring for you, however, The Nightmare Princess now allows for players to actually create their own enemies. Using costumes and weapons unlocked in Quest Mode, players are able to customize their enemies’ genders, clothing, weapons, hairstyles, faces, and more. There aren’t a whole lot of options to chose from at first, but it does add another layer of creativity to the game, as well as gives players one more thing to strive to unlock.
Stages can also be created, although this feature feels rather limited. Essentially, players chose from a list of pre-made maps, and then can put in which enemies they would like to face off against and what the main and secondary completion conditions are. Maps cannot be altered, meaning you have to play on the same maps you already went through numerous times in the story modes. Still, the fan-made stages can be shared online and downloaded, and even though the maps are the same, different enemies and different win conditions force players to change up their strategies on how to get through the maps.
However, despite the new content, it would be tough to tell players of Blood Ties that The Nightmare Princess is worth its $50 price tag, seeing as its repetitive, core gameplay is exactly the same, and the environments are still a bit bland. If, on the other hand, you are a newcomer to the series, its unique and strategic style of gameplay makes The Nightmare Princess somewhat of a novelty, and quite possibly worth your time.
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