Switch version tested
Review code provided
Have you ever binge-watched a serial killer or FBI series on Netflix second-guessing the forensics, profiling techniques or smugly picking out the red herrings, knowing who Keyser Söze was all along? If that applies to you as it did to me, then Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived is definitely a game worth looking at on the Nintendo Switch.
You could say that it’s a visual novel of sorts. I haven’t had the best experience with them, but this is something else – notably the dialogue choices available, an enjoyable story, plus it has some micro-management sections that pad out an otherwise simple game.
Hired as the team leader for a division in the police force that investigates and interrogates terrorist cells, Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived features a one-on-one interaction with suspects of a crime, weeding out their lies and getting a confession. It begins with one suspect in your training session, the tutorial; then, several players are introduced that you can switch back and forth to using the L and R buttons. This is a great way to play one against another as suspect A reveals something about B, you hop to them and quiz them about it.
Everything is text-based with some photo-realistic static images, occasionally animated in the visual novel format. I don’t want to break the illusion of this game being real so haven’t conducted my own investigation, but I’d wager that the actors in the game are the developers as they have that vibe about them. Some of the scenarios are a little dubious as the Chief in the game often sits in plain clothes with a uniform cap and sunglasses, in the dark. His office resembles more of a boudoir than a police precinct. Regardless, the visuals are fantastic, and it’s easy to navigate around the screen to select your dialogue options, assign tasks to agents and solve the odd jigsaw puzzle. Work-related, of course.
Before an interrogation takes place, you get a dossier of the suspect, providing any hints about their background or character that you may wish to ask about. Depending on your skillset (more on that in a minute), you can access these files at any time to review. When the interrogation begins, you’ll be face-to-face with the suspect(s), a dialogue tree to the left, files and rough-housing to the bottom. On the right, you can monitor whether their pupils dilate and their heartbeat – indicating whether they are more open to questions or whether you’re on the right track.
The rough-housing reference is quite amusing as you can press pause on the tape recorder and intimidate them by smashing their head into the mirrored glass, the filing cabinet or desk. It can be a useful trick, but questions are asked at the end of each report as to why the tape stopped and why the suspect is complaining of a broken rib. Your performance is monitored by three factors: the public, your employers and the press. Keep the public safe, stay under budget and give the press what they want without too many revelations and life is somewhat easier. But that’s unrealistic as you can’t tick every box. At the end of a report, you’ll either get a success or failure and a gauge on what these three parties think of you.
The dialogue feels pretty natural. Understandably, it’s a restricted system as you can only select what the developers have configured, but there’s plenty of scope, and you can’t always choose all the answers. As you progress, you’ll get the odd hint, and the text is revealed in yellow. Sometimes there’s more than one option, but you can only pick one, so this is one of those rare games where you diligently read through all text as it’s easy to miss something. Equally important when you’re being timed as well. That’s right, in some of the interviews you have a time limit to get a confession – if the clock gets to zero, you’ve failed.
There are perks in the game that can turn this around. After every few set pieces, you can unlock memories that serve as skills. Options on the table include passive intimidation to get answers, following the book and having people warm to you, but restricting you from the intimidation techniques. One early option is the ‘speed demon’ perk that gives you a bit more time to quick the suspects if you have, say, a bomb to diffuse. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also manage your team by allocating a budget to learning more about the activities about a terrorist organisation. Send them out to analyse files, locate an informer or give them the night off. It’s an excellent addition for variety and reminds me a little of Save Koch.
On occasion, my interpretation of the question asked was delivered in a different tone. While you can’t predict the answers, if you end up asking the wrong questions, it can cost lives in the game and ruin your flow. Other times, the perpetrator was glaringly obvious, but you have to find the evidence to pin on them. Actually, one of the perks in the game allows you to frame people to get a conviction. Why do people have such a distrust of the police!? Regardless, it’s a fascinating experience – trying to outwit someone who’s clearly lying to you, but you have to extract it out of them. Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived could have just focussed on the same mechanic throughout and isolated cases. Instead, there’s a particular theme that runs the course of the game, and I have to say I was invested that I had to put everything else down to finish it. With the varying tactics on display, there are repeat plays on offer as you could opt for the good cop/bad cop route too.
Having an interest in dialogue trees from the days of point and click, I have to say that I instantly warmed to this style of play. It’s not overly complicated to play, but reading the visible signs on suspects and extracting the right response, and in time, was both enlightening and enjoyable for all armchair profilers out there.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: PC, Switch, Mobile
Release Date: 28/07/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: RPG, Sim, Strategy
Developer: Critique Gaming
Download link: eShop