The idea of using props to deceive others as a gameplay mechanic is certainly not new in social deduction games. From “Trouble in Terrorist Town” to “Among Us”, games have implemented this in various ways. Deceive Inc.’s strength lies in its 70’s colorful atmosphere, which combined with such a gameplay mechanic, really makes you feel like James Bond in an undercover mission.
The objective is to extract a package locked in a vault behind several rooms and terminals. To reach the package and to disable the terminals, you’ll first need to accumulate points by gathering intel from hacking the electronic devices you find scattered around the game environment, and then spend those points to unlock various rooms. These rooms have different security level restrictions and in order to not get caught you’ll have to disguise yourself as a person who has enough security clearance to traverse that room. The whole gimmick of the game is to try to identify the opponent players disguised as NPCs by observing their movements or their behavior and eliminate your competition by shooting them. Truly like in a James Bond movie, you can deploy a wide range of high-tech gadgets that you can either bring along with you at the start of a round, or find in-game by cracking safes using the acquired points.
Most of the time, one gameplay round lasts around 20-30 minutes. You can either play as solo against nine other rival players, or you can team up with your friends for an increased fun experience. The gameplay loop is entertaining and dynamic, but having at least an average degree of dexterity in playing shooters is mandatory for a successful run. The rounds are very fast-paced and you’ll need quick reactions to identify the AI that hides undercover players and to shoot them on-sight. The game also has a pretty steep learning curve, but that’s somewhat expected because of the wide arsenal of gadgets and agent perks. If you have the patience to learn how to use all these mechanics, the resulting experience will be rewarding.
The maps themselves are huge and fun to traverse, with a lot of secrets and shortcuts. You can also find keycards that open those locked doors, saving you the points needed to unlock them. There are also lots of environment elements to interact with, in order to keep your appearance as an AI in front of other players.
Deceive Inc. is a fun multiplayer game but I can’t help thinking that it’s mostly played with the wrong approach. The majority of players I’ve encountered seem to take it as yet another shooter, trying to kill everyone they meet. At least to me, this game looks like it should be played with the goal of keeping your disguise at all costs by acting as inconspicuous as possible, which requires you to fire towards other NPCs only if you’re certain that they are actual players. Regardless, it’s an intense experience, and from here on the game will only become better with the addition of new content (season pass, more maps etc.)