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Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC
Genre: Adventure
Publisher: Mixtvision
Developer: Critique Gaming
Release Date: Dec. 5, 2019

About Lauren "Feffy" Hall

I am a freelance writer based in Canada, where it's too cold to go outside; therefore, we play a lot of video games. I'm an expert zombie slayer (the virtual kind), amateur archer (for actual zombie slaying and general apocalypse purposes - it could happen), and a work-in-progress wife and mother (IRL). My claim to fame: I completed the original MYST without looking up cheats. It took several years. What other accomplishments does one need in life?


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PC Review - 'Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived'

by Lauren "Feffy" Hall on Jan. 17, 2020 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

In Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived, you lead a special task force trying to stop a terrorist group known as the Liberation Front - and the clock is ticking.

Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived, the pioneer game by Critique Gaming, is an indie puzzle and adventure title that will bring out your inner detective — and make you question so much more than just your suspects. You play the game as the lead police detective of a team tasked with bringing down a local extremist group, the Liberation Front, who likes to hide out in pet enthusiast chat rooms to disguise their dirty work. They start small, but they have big, dangerous plans. It's up to you to stop them.

Your role as a master interrogator is to grill the suspects and persons of interest to glean relevant information regarding the Liberation Front; in particular, you want to find out where they intend to plant their next bombs and who their leaders are.

You jump right in with a simple tutorial in your very own interrogation room. The environment feels as legit as the crime TV shows, with the tape recorder placed intimidatingly in the center of the table and the drab manila folder, full of potentially incriminating details about your suspect, set haphazardly beside it in plain view. The entire scene is complete with a cold, bland white light overhead, which adds to the overall institutional ambiance.

To conduct your interrogations, you will ask a lot of questions. You'll get nowhere in your investigations if you don't learn to read your suspect and find out what makes him or her open up. To that end, the game provides your police station with a handy device called the AT-29, which detects your suspect's level of empathy toward you. This device essentially measures how open a suspect is and therefore how much information they will willingly give up for your investigation.

Empathy isn't the only way to get information from your "perp." Fear is a powerful motivator; that's why your police station is also rigged with the MS-17 device, which uses the rhythm of their pulse to measure their fear. Sometimes, their fear is increased by grilling them heavily and making them think you might have something on them, which can lead to your desired confession.

Other times, they may need some "convincing." This is where you get to decide if you're a Johnny Good Cop or a Dirty Dudley. In addition to your more subtle interrogation tactics, you can choose to intimidate your suspect by using brute force. You can do this by deliberately turning off the tape recorder — your suspect's first clue that something potentially painful is about to happen — and you can choose to grab them roughly by their collar, throw them against the wall, or brutally zap them with a taser.

While these tactics can often — but not always — provide you with the necessary results, your team doesn't generally respect you for it.

Your team of skilled cops consists of a few seemingly basic stereotypes: the by-the-book, educated overachiever; the slightly "rough around the edges" cop; and the extremely intelligent and socially awkward specialist. Your chief seems to trust you to carry out your team's assignments and run the task force, so for the most part, it's up to you to bring down the bad guys.

That isn't as easy as it sounds.

At first, Interrogation appears at be a typical story-driven detective game, complete with a rotoscoped, film noir-esque palette of mostly black-and-white hues and an overall gritty feel. It goes so much beyond just interrogating your average scumbag criminal, as you end up uncovering a political, ethically conflicted side plot that causes all sorts of people — activists, business owners, devoted mothers, and fellow cops alike — to question their beliefs, morals and sympathy to the LF's cause.

At its heart, the game involves an awful lot of questioning on your part. You need to get a confession, a name, or a location, and in most cases, many lives depend on your success. The questioning takes place in a similar manner to a story-driven RPG, as your questions and responses affect how much your suspect will cooperate with your investigation. In short, if they like or fear you enough, you'll get more information than if they're indifferent to you and your cause.

New information may simply not be available to you if you prod at a person who has not been given an opportunity to feel mildly comfortable in your interrogation room. Likewise, if you're frustrated after trying to eke out some information from someone and finally give in to the temptation to use force, but you haven't yet reached the appropriate level of fear in your suspect to succeed, you will run out of time and fail your investigation.

And you will fail. A lot.

Interrogation gives you the option to rewind your story to any interrogation, where you can replay them and change up your character skills, potentially aiding you in future interrogations that seem to require different traits and personalities. I avoided this for as long as I could, since I've never been one to reload from previous saves if I could help it (how tedious!). As the game progressed, it seemed to be the only way to be successful and beat the ever-looming timer of each interrogation.

I couldn't figure out why a timer was used in some cases and not in others, but there is definitely an element of urgency in your questioning. Ask the wrong questions, and you'll see five seconds disappear from the clock. Ask the right one, and you might get 10 seconds or a few minutes added to your time, depending on the scenario. In theory, this prevents the player from blindly clicking through all of the questions simply because they're there, so they can ask the right ones. In practice for me, it led me to go through as many scenarios as possible within my timeframe, only to restart the interrogation again and again until I found out how to do it "correctly." The pressure you feel while you're under that ticking timer's thumb is real. Unfortunately, I don't think that frequently restarting the interrogation was how the developers wanted their game to be played out.

There were also moments when a line of questioning would leave me with a half-answer, such as a name or location, but I wasn't given further opportunities to continue along that path. I'm not sure if that was my error, missing an important conversational cue in another direction, or if I was being corralled toward the "right" conversations. In either case, I had become quite invested in the game, so the red light at those junctions was frustrating.

There were some other details that felt tedious, and they weren't very clearly explained, such as the budget, your team's individual tasks, and the "wall," which is usually pivotal in any big investigation. The wall contained all of the pictures, news clippings, and potential connections to the Liberation Front. It looked great, and I could not praise the artwork in this game enough, but I really couldn't figure out its purpose. Again, perhaps I wasn't using this tool properly.

The budget function was straightforward; you have to assign funds to the appropriate places in an investigation. I thought I understood it and allotted some funds for PR assistance, since I was wildly unpopular with the general public due to some off-the-cuff remarks I had made to a reporter. From what I could see, this did absolutely nothing to help me in this area, so I spent very little time worrying about that aspect of the game.

One budgetary piece that was useful — and I spent my budget each time I was offered a chance to — was ordering extensive HR reports on your team … or so I thought. The report provided you with more information on their potentially problematic history, and that seemed pretty important, given the sensitive nature of the investigation. However, they usually came to me with this information, or I was given an opportunity to ask about their shady histories without actually having the information in the first place, which was confusing. It was certainly not a deal-breaker, but it was off-putting, especially when I didn't actually know the nature of the crime that my character apparently knew all about.

As for the assignments you send your task force on, if I played my cards right, our work was deemed successful in my reports to the police chief. What did that actually accomplish? I couldn't tell you. While it's apparent that the tools are important to how the game plays out (some outcomes seem out of reach if you don't implement them properly), it wasn't as if I could experiment. Once a decision was made, it was made — unless I used the previously mentioned "rewind" option.

Obviously, you can't have a story-driven game where you only ask people a bunch of questions, so I understand the inclusion of those aspects. I think a file or notebook on your desk, where you can find a profile with your "character skills" and a basic handbook to guide you in your interrogations, would be useful in outlining how to maximize your budget or your team's skills to succeed and essentially win the game.

I also feel as though I should restart Interrogation from scratch and reconsider my actions, which for a game that provides little in terms of replayability beyond potentially playing the same outcome "better," says a lot about the numerous ways you can role-play as your detective. You may end up with the same ending, but your journey will be wildly different, depending on your actions. You may end up with an entirely different result! I would be interested in playing out each scenario because the dialogue and plot line are really entertaining.

Interrogation: You Will Be Deceived is a politically driven and intelligently pieced-together game, and that kept the story moving in a positive direction despite my misgivings. I was genuinely engaged in where the tale would take me, who was involved, and what the outcome would be. Rather than flat-out telling you the story, the game invites you to participate, question your own beliefs and biases, consider the possibility that the usual suspects may be innocent, and that not all criminal or political activity is as clear-cut as it initially seems. Do the ends justify the means?

Hey, you're the one asking the questions here. You decide.

Score: 7.9/10

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