While playing Deceive Inc., it’s hard to believe that something like this hasn’t been done before. Sure, plenty of games have prop hunt modes, heists, and masquerading as an NPC, but all that is put into a single package, it flows together seamlessly.
At Gamescom last week, I got the chance to play a few games of Deceive Inc. with developer Sweet Bandits Studios. The cartoony FPS immediately invites comparisons to Apex Legends and Overwatch when you first look at it, with its cast of heroes and a wide variety of weapons. But after playing a few rounds, it becomes very clear that this is a stellar multiplayer experience in its own right. And while the game doesn’t even have a release date yet, it’s showing a ridiculous amount of promise. In fact, it's already shaping up to be the next big PvP game that could easily take off with streamers in a way we haven’t seen since Among Us’ rise to fame in 2020.
Deceive Inc. has a lot of moving parts, so much so that it’s pretty intimidating at first. There’s so much to keep track of – other players, NPCs, factions, what areas of the map you’re able to explore without a disguise, and of course, the heist itself. The aim of the game is to be the player who nabs the loot that everyone’s after, and make it to the getaway vehicle without anyone nicking it from you. But it’s a lot more complicated than that, as getting to the loot in the first place is a multistage process. Vaults have to be unlocked, security has to be bypassed, and there are even a bunch of other collectables to nab if you want an advantage.
This is where the strategy comes in. With a bunch of opponents after the same prize (five others, in the case of my game), you have to decide how you’re going to approach it. You can go in guns blazing, taking on any security guards in your way, or you can subtly make your way towards objectives, masquerading as various NPCs, and nabbing key cards to get into restricted areas. Hell, you can even let other players do all the work for you, and try your best to follow them undetected. With a ridiculously interactive map, full of different twists and turns, there were too many routes to try out during the demo.
And that’s without getting into the variety that comes with all the different characters and items you can equip. Every archetype you’d expect from an online game is here – an all-rounder, a sniper, a dual pistol wielder, etc – and all change how you interact with the map. In terms of visuals, only a couple really stood out, but this hardly matters when you spend half the game masquerading as a security guard, or even a chair.
I was only able to explore one map during the demo, but it was vast enough not to grow stale. The devs tell me they’ll be going for quality rather than quantity with the maps, so don’t expect a ton at launch. But as we’ve seen with Among Us, all it takes is one with a lot of versatility to keep players hooked. And given its similarities with the social deduction hit, we could very well see the same thing happen here.
The team doesn’t have a firm release window for Deceive Inc. just yet, but based on what I saw from its latest build, it might not be far away at all. Whenever it ends up launching, I hope it gets the chance to stand with the greats of the FPS genre. Judging by the demo, Deceive Inc., combines the best of all the games that came before it, and ties it all up in a solid, absurdly fun package. I can’t wait to see how daft this can get with some friends.
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