Deceit 2 from World Makers advertises itself as a horror game, and yes, the elements are there; but what the early access title really fails to mention is that it is almost a carbon copy of Among Us. There are a lot of differences, but at the heart of the title if you have played Among Us, you can play Deceit 2.
When I first booted up early access, I was met with a long-winded-old-crone who very quickly gave a premise of the game’s roles. The first thing I realized once the cutscene finished was that, that was the tutorial. This disappointingly left me feeling helpless and made hitting that find match button difficult. The only other function that exists to teach you the games mechanics is a menu option with short descriptions of roles, events, and items. The biggest issue with this function was it would only reveal what an item did once I had encountered it in a match. The game would face significant improvement if it implemented an in-game trial with bots that could introduce the player to everything that makes Deceit 2’s experience unique.
There are three roles in Deceit 2 and they are labeled as innocent, infected, and guardian. Where this new title sets itself apart from Among Us is its graphics setting, and the mention that it is a first-person shooter. Typically, I wouldn’t complain about this, but I found the game’s performance to be one of the worst I have experienced in an indie-game like this. Even on low settings I would get consistent frame drops and struggle at times to find my bearings or see other players. When the game worked as intended, I could see the enjoyment at the heart of it all. I think I experienced around five different crashes that resulted in me being sent to my desktop. I imagine once some optimization is implemented this won’t be as big of a problem that it currently is.
Instead of trying to explain how the title works, I figure it might be easier to express what is different. When you load in as an innocent, you must start performing tasks just like in Among Us. This can be anything from giving a hospital patient pills, to winning a game of chess, to the very-similar electric box, and an almost impossible picture puzzle. The reason I say this is impossible is the mini-game was bugged, or there were instructions missing. I could select one piece of the ripped up mini-game but could not place or select another piece. Some tasks are simpler than others, but the picture mini-game was the only one I found I couldn’t properly complete.
If all of the innocent players could finish the tasks, then you could win the game by purchasing a key from the in-game vendor. Opening the door to freedom would bring an ending screen like finishing all the tasks in Among Us. Also, this paints a target on your back because if an infected player kills the key holder, everyone loses.
The in-game vendor offers you up to five items, and most of these items are invaluable. There is a handgun of course, camera, invisibility medal, sanity serum, adrenaline shot, shape-shifter mask, and much more. What I found strange about Deceit 2 is that you must purchase most of these items from the main menu, for them to be available in a match. Like I described before, with only an encyclopedia type of in-game explanation, purchasing an item and not knowing what it does can be problematic. I remember in one instance I purchased the shape-shifter mask as an innocent and got murdered shortly after to find out it is an item only impactful for the infected players.
Unlike Among Us if someone is “sus” as my five-year-old says, then a majority must vote, and the twist is you must kill them when you come back to the game. This means you either must gun them down or punch them to death. This introduced an interesting mechanic if your group didn’t have a gun as the perpetrator could disguise themselves or use invisibility as well. The group would be wasting valuable time, or they could try and kill most of you if they have good aim. One of the few fun memories I have of my experience involve a crazy shoot out with the last infected.
One of my biggest disappointments with Deceit 2 is the types of matches I would find myself in. The entire gameplay loop could be circumvented if a grouped-team communicated and outright murdered anyone that wasn’t in the friend group. Not just that, but the number of times I found players drawing slurs on the chalk board, or using bigoted language was astronomical and the only way to report players was through steam that I knew of. If you could get lucky and find a good-natured group that wanted to play the game for “fun” and not to win or be toxic there was plenty of enjoyment to be had, although this was exceedingly rare.
When it came to being infected it was hard to be blessed by the RNG gods to fill the role, but I often felt myself struggling to be a diabolical menace when I was blessed. My purpose being to activate rift items in the world to trigger a “paranormal” event that disables pistols and allows you to take on the form of monster. Experienced players would always be king, and since there was no tutorial, I would often find myself checking the main menu after a match to see what it was that disabled me from murdering another player. With the same infected abilities locked behind the games currency just like the items sold from the vendor, the only skills I could utilize was transforming and teleporting all the players randomly once per match.
Another system I found to be troubling was the game’s matchmaking. If I was alone, I would face matchmaking searches anywhere from three to ten minutes. I also experienced search issues that would force me to alt-F4 and restart my game. Yet if I had just one other player with me, I felt the matchmaking was significantly improved. I don’t know if this had anything to do with location or just a low player population, but with improvements I can see myself enjoying the experience more without the significant disconnect between matches.
At the end of the day there was fun to be had in Deceit 2 but it will always be dependent on who you play with, and how well you understand the game. As long as the game has the technical issues it is currently plagued by, no in-game tutorial, insanely long matchmaking times, and no way to circumvent interacting with toxic people who ruin the experience, I can’t recommend giving Deceit 2 a go. Currently, its systems are obtuse and generally just a complicated copy of Among Us. Once the game is prepared for its final release, I hope I can re-visit it with a better experience to report on. There is fun to be had here, it just needs some time.