Deceit is a game developed and published by Automaton, and is one that really has a unique spin on it that I found extremely captivating. It was a game I never knew I always wanted. Funnily enough I came across this game from some random Youtube lets play video and it looked like an amazing and unique concept, but stopped myself from playing as I didn’t really know anyone else that played and/or was keen on it. After some time, I decided to bite the bullet and try it out on my own since after all, it was free on Steam. I was not quite prepared for this, but very glad I took a chance on this game.
In its essence, it’s a multiplayer FPS horror game. It has a range of maps, and all of them are dark and spooky, and it really feels right out of a dark, horror movie. Once you start a match, you find yourself waking up in unknown surroundings to the sound of a Game Master’s unfamiliar voice (think Billy or Jigsaw in Saw), surrounded by five others. 2 players out of your group of 6 have been infected with a virus, although no-one has any idea who is actually infected. The innocents’ primary goal is to make their way through the facility and escape with their lives. Of course, the infected players don’t want to let you do that. Their task is to ensure as few of the innocents escape as possible, ultimately no-one should come out alive. Who will survive?
Here is the scenario. The innocents need to make their way through the facility and pick up fuses that are scattered randomly around the map. On top of this there are guns, bullets, armour, and tools such as cameras, lethal injectors, antidotes and virus scanning tools. Any human can pick these up, whether innocent or infected. There is a time limit on finding the fuses, so it’s a hustle from the get go. During this period, the infected players will also need to go around and pick up blood bags, which are used to mutate temporarily into monsters. Once mutated they can run after the innocent humans and kill them. The catch is that no-one actually knows who the infected are, so all the innocents need to keep a vigilant eye on every other human to see if they can catch them in the act of drinking blood, or using their pure instincts, try to work out who is acting suspiciously, who is lying, or who is ignoring important tools in a desperate pursuit of finding more blood bags.
Deceit offers an intense communication-based scenario in which you must learn to trust and detect when people are lying. If you suspect someone is lying, you can shoot them with your gun, which begins a voting process. Shots from other players count as votes, so when enough shots have been, shot, the downed victim is eliminated from the game. This game definitely relies on voice comms, so make sure you plug your mic or headset in for this one.
As you can already imagine, there will be a lot of psychological mind games at play, as the innocents try their best to survive and the infected try their best to avoid being detected and pretend to be innocent. Each match plays out different due to the random matchmaking, but of course you can always play in a squad of friends, and this is where things become even more interesting. Be warned though, this does have the potential to put a strain on friendships and relationships! But it can also be a great way to make new ones too, as after each match you can send friend and party requests to players you worked well with or just liked in general.
The game play is interesting but as you never know when someone is going to figure something out, or when someone is going to throw the blame on you, so in a way the biggest gameplay aspect of Deceit is actually the human interaction where innocents can team up and work well, or you can see the innocents turn on themselves and start a shooting gallery. You never know what game you're going to get until you're in it, and I absolutely love this aspect of the game as it allows you to bring your own brand of deceit into play, and it allows your detective skills to be put to the test.
The game engine is Crytek and the graphics are actually surprisingly good. The theme, atmosphere and sounds are all right on point. The different stages of the maps all bring a well refined sense of timing and pacing that is quite rare in many video games these days. Even though the game was released in March 2017, the player population is still quite healthy, with an average of about 1000 simultaneous players. Development stopped at one stage to focus on a new battle royale game but after some time that was cancelled, and the devs are back at it on Deceit and still releasing fresh new content (which was incredibly good news to hear, that is a rarity in the gaming industry).
Overall I think Automaton have done an amazing job and I would like to see more popularity and recognition of these kinds of games. There are others like it such as Town of Salem, and some classics such as Werewolf which I guess are where this concept originated from, but playing out in a dark FPS horror environment is just the perfect recipe. For a free game, I would highly recommend any Steam user to give this a try solo at the very least, then with a few mates and hopefully you too will get a chance to play out this masterpiece.
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