Most role-playing games cast you as a hero who enters dungeons and castles in search of treasure and who fights with monsters while avoiding traps. Tecmo's Deception trilogy, on the other hand, can be seen as something of a reverse RPG. Here, you wait for warriors and wizards to come to you and then try to catch them in your traps. As in Square's Final Fantasy series, the story in each new Deception has nothing to do with that of the last. In the first, you played as a man; the second, a woman; and the third, a woman again. Evil kings and nobles always come into play, and you kill them by setting your traps, acting as their bait, and springing your snares at the right moment. That's all the background that really needs to be covered, save for noting that the developers' fast and loose take on both translation and spelling make for many unintentional comedic moments.
While the Deception III recipe is largely the same as before, there have been several changes and improvements. This iteration introduces the option to create your own traps out of several elements: basics, emblems, rings, and orbs. The basics you can choose from include bear traps to snag an enemy's feet, spikes that shoot from the wall, and swinging bladed pendulums. Emblems give the traps additional strength in a handful of different ways, such as making them explosive or serving as electrical conduits. Rings are an extra layer that you can use to, say, reduce the time it takes for a trap to charge or to set a trap to go off automatically when someone trips it, while orbs are an expensive way to increase a device's overall power. Once a trap is made, you can even go back and add or subtract parts, although this costs money that you unfortunately don't recoup by breaking the device down.
There are also two new game modes: trap license and expert mode. The former is essentially a second training stage, while the latter requires you to accomplish a series of assignments such as performing a four-hit combo or earning 500 points in less than forty seconds. This may sound good and challenging on paper, but in practice it turns out clumsy and unrealized. If the traps you've earned don't suit a specific task in expert mode, you're simply out of luck, as you're not allowed a lot of room for experimentation. Need three devices to toss someone out of a room? If you didn't need to do this in the main game it's unlikely you'll have enough points to pay for the traps to do it now.
Visually, Deception III looks almost exactly like Kagero: Deception II. It's obvious that the game uses the same engine as before, and not much has been done to alter or enhance it. The graphics are a little sharper, but the frame rate is still very slow, and the environments look eerily familiar. Sound is also close to nonexistent in the game, save for a few explosions. Since you don't need any audio clues to play Deception III, you're better served turning down the sound entirely, putting on your own music in the background, and imagining a really big boom every now and again.
Sadly, only marginal improvements have been made to this latest Deception, making it feel more like a new iteration of a sports game than a full-fledged sequel. The second game in the series felt a little behind the times in terms of graphics and frame rate when it arrived last year, but its charm allowed you to look past that. It was, in every sense, a guilty pleasure. Deception III's use of the same engine, however, makes the game look and feel very dated now, and since the gameplay is basically just more of the same, the title gains no such allowances. There is still some fun to be had with Deception III, and it's probably too severe to call it a bad game, per se, but without a doubt it lacks the spark and originality found in the two previous titles.