Of all the games coming out in 2023, Deceive Inc. has to be one of the most exciting multiplayer options on my radar. Its spy game formula where you and other spies must blend into the environment long enough to collect a briefcase and escape combines a lot of great elements into one awesome package. The open beta for the game is coming up on March 10 and I got to try a taste of what’s in store for all the would-be agents out there this weekend. Between new maps, new weapon and gadget variations, and Field Upgrade Loadouts, this game just keeps getting better and better leading up to its launch.
For your eyes only
If you missed out on our previous preview, then the TLDR of this game is that you play as one of several agents each with their own unique weapons, gadgets, and niche. For instance, Squire has a silenced pistol that won’t draw much attention when he fires it and a room scanner that will let him know if key items are hiding in desk drawers nearby. Meanwhile, Larcin, the Gentleman Thief is armed with a small pistol. He can also melee enemies silently and swipe key items right out of their inventory if they have something of value. All of these spies take part in solo and trio squad matches where they must infiltrate lavish compounds, disguise themselves as staff amid an increasing security presence, steal an objective, and escape with it before the other spies do the same.
For this preview we were treated to a number of new features including the Diamond Spire map, weapon and gadget variants, and Field Upgrades. The last two in particular are a pretty big deal as the choices you make there can make even two players playing the same agent feel drastically different. For instance, Larcin’s tiny pistol can be a single shot semi-auto that has decent accuracy, or he can go for a burst shot pistol that does big damage up close. He also has the ability to turn invisible to escape danger. You can make it so you just outright ghost and will appear if you attack or fire a pistol, or go for a variant where he can attack and stay invisible, but a ghosting trail follows him that can tip enemies off to where he is. All of these are reasonable options that can be mixed and matched to your heart’s content.
That’s not even including Field Upgrades. Field Upgrades are Level 1, 2, 3, 4, and master upgrades that you’ll discover as you explore safes and desks in a match. Higher level upgrades will usually be in higher security places, and what each level of upgrade does is determined by you. Before the match, you’ll decide what each level of upgrade you find will do. Will you take a boost in hacking intel, more health, extended ammo, faster time re-applying disguises after being caught, or one of the numerous others? Moreover, will you slot increased health into the high-powered Level 4 upgrade or perhaps the ammo increase?
The higher the level of upgrade, the better the upgrade's effect, but you can only set one upgrade per level and that’s the upgrade you’ll see in a match. That means you can’t have a health boost upgrade at Level 1 that gives you 5 percent extra health and a health upgrade at level 3 that gives you 15 percent. You’ll have to choose one or the other and slot different upgrades into the other slots. Considering how potent the high-level Field Upgrades can be, that means making your full upgrade deck work for you is extremely important. Fortunately, you can experiment and try different things. I saw customizable presets for four Field Upgrade decks in the Agent menus. It looks like assembling your gear, Agent, weapon and gadget variants, and Field Upgrade decks is going to make learning characters and what works best for them a blast.
We’re going to have some swanky places in which to put them to use, too. This time around, I was introduced to the Diamond Spire map. It had a very blue and white motif, a catwalk fashion show running through the middle of it, high balconies, and the most verticality I’ve seen in a Deceive Inc. map so far. Snipers should be delighted to have this one because there’s a lot of posts where you could hole up and watch to see if the so-called “regular attendees” are acting weird before you light them up with a headshot. I really liked the fashion show part of it too. Sweet Bandits has really shown a knack for assembling busy maps with interesting things to see around, even as you’re trying to complete your mission and get out.
Diamonds are forever
Every time I get to play Deceive Inc., it leaves me wanting to go back and play more. I have a feeling I’ll be doing that a lot once it’s out. Fortunately, you won’t be waiting long to join me. The upcoming open beta for Deceive Inc. on Steam runs from March 10 at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET to March 13 at 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET. You’ll be able to have your own taste of everything I’ve described above and more. Sweet Bandits and Tripwire Interactive have assembled quite the multiplayer PvPvE spy game. Should you choose to accept this mission, we look forward to seeing you in game this weekend.
This preview is based on an early build supplied by the publisher. Deceive Inc. is set to launch in full on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam and Epic Games Store on March 21, 2023.