Deceit Review – Expect the Unexpected & Then Some

Deceit
Automoton

In a reductive sense, indie game developer Automoton’s Deceit, is game which is all about deception and trust. It has a pretty simple concept as well, one that I’m surprised nobody else has developed until now. Six pre-designed characters (think: Left 4 Dead) wake up trapped in one of three gloomy environments, and a sadistic psychopath has infected two of the six with a horrific virus.

At the beginning of each game, players become aware of their status. Either they are one of the four Innocents, or they’ll be revealed to be one of the Infected. Depending on which status they’ve randomly been ascribed determines their motives from there on out.

If you are lucky (or unfortunate?) enough to be a Survivor, your mission is simple. Traverse each map while looking out for objectives that can help you in your efforts to escape the map, and therefore win the game. These objectives are randomly scattered across each map, but become lit up by an outline the closer you get to them.

Each player begins with a pistol, a knife, and very limited ammo. You can find more ammo scattered across each map. You can also gain access to a camera as well as a shotgun if you’re lucky. While shotguns are obvious in their utility, cameras are very important items because you can utilize them against the Infected among you (more on that later).

If you awake as one of the Infected, your playstyle has to be a little more subtle. People tend to play an Infected in one of two ways. One method is to lay low and sort of break off on your own. These types either pretend they don’t have mics or just remain silent. Their tactic is usually to lurk in the shadows and slurp up any blood bags that they happen to come across. Since blood bags fill up your Terror Form meter, these types tend to be more efficient at being prepared for their transformation once the lights shut off.

The other sort I’ve noticed is the deception type. These types will stick around with the other players and gab with them. Their aim is to seem innocent and scared in order to fool everyone into believing that they aren’t one of the Infected. While this is more of a gamble, it can pay off big time, because once the lights shut off you’ll be closer (hopefully to a lone player) to Innocents and can more easily attack them.

At a certain point in time, the main lights will shut off during each match, and enshroud everything in darkness. That’s when the Infected can transform into their Terror Form, which gives them enhanced…well…everything (including night vision). But Infected players have a major weakness: They’re allergic to bright light. Therefore, any non-Infected player who is in possession of a camera can flash them. Flashing Infected players disorients them and makes them much easier to take down via bullets or knife stabs.

With all of these factors at play, you can see how things can quickly devolve into chaos. For instance, my first game consisted of waking up with the other five players, and immediately seeking them out for safety. But then I realized “Wait a minute, two of these people are Infected!” I remember tailing one guy who was communicating well with everyone else and seemed to be helpful. But at a certain point, he began accusing another player of exhibiting suspicious behavior.

Although the other player swore up and down that he hadn’t slurped up a couple of nearby blood bags, the guy I had been trailing insisted that he was one of the Infected. Things quickly escalated from there, and the accused player ended up getting rat-packed on by everyone else. After being downed, the unfortunate soul ended up being voted out of the game.

I then learned just how treacherous Deceit is designed to be. After achieving a couple more objectives, the player I had been following suddenly went missing. One by one, the other players were taken out by something in the darkness. Turns out that I ended up being the last survivor. And guess who came looking for me as the last Infected? That’s right, the guy I had originally thought was helpful and communicative. Deceit can really be a mind trip to say the least.

Deceit has been out since May of 2017. Originally, it was a paid title, but eventually the developers decided to make it free-to-play. Although it has a brilliant concept and can take you on many twists and turns, there is a marked lack of content so far. There are only four weapons—pistol, knife, camera, shotgun—and a handful of maps. These include a decrepit asylum, a gloomy forest, and an isolated and snowy outpost. While the maps are rendered in some pretty glorious detail, they are rather on the smallish side. The movement speed is also a little too fast-paced.

Overall though, Deceit is one of the best free-to-play titles I’ve played in a long time. The combination of ambiguous co-operation, devious backstabbing, great graphics, and detailed environments makes it a blast to play. Now, I’ll just be on the lookout for further content from the game’s developers.

SCORE: 78%

Deceit features outstanding graphics that make its survival horror gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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