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Trapt PlayStation 2

Published by Take-Two Interactive Software
Developed by Tecmo
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Trapt, an introduction.

In Trapt you'll play as Princess Allura who, at the beginning of the game, has been framed for the murder of her father, King Olaf, by her evil stepmother Catalina. In truth, Allura was not responsible (the dagger that landed in Olaf's back was thrown by someone else and Allura was standing next to the King when he met his end) but Catalina seized the opportunity to rid herself of Allura who was aware of the harm Catalina was doing to her father and the nation. With the charge of murder hanging over her, Allura and her maid, Rachel, flee the castle and when Rachel manages to distract some of those who are on the lookout for Allura, Allura takes refuge in the royal manor. As she tries to enter the manor something happens to her arm. Allura has been branded with the mark of the Fiend and she has, against her will, become a trap master who uses traps to lure unsuspecting victims to their death. With the assistance of the evil power of the Fiend, who is constantly desirous for people to be killed, Allura is now out for vengeance.

What's the game about?

Trapt is a single-player action strategy game that offers both a Story Mode and a Survival Mode. The Survival mode differs from the Story Mode in that it charges you with having to kill a set number of enemies within a certain time. In actual fact the Survival mode is more difficult than the Story Mode and is best played when you've completed the main story. Both modes are focused on luring enemies into traps, which might not seem like a very exciting game but Trapt definitely has its moments. The way the game works is that you have several rooms available to you in which you can set traps. Initially the game offers 3 rooms but as the game progresses you can buy keys to open other rooms to give you more trap laying options. The basic idea is to lure your enemies into traps that you lay, as well as the traps that are already present in your current surroundings and at times it's very enjoyable.

What's good about the game?

The game play in Trapt is quite unlike anything we've come across before. As we've already said the idea is to set traps and then lure your enemies into those traps. Allura can't actually attack her enemies so luring them into traps is the only way she can defeat them. Each of the rooms you can run around will have a few in-built traps that you can take advantage of but the real key to success is in laying traps successfully. There are three types of traps that you have access to. There are floor traps, wall traps and ceiling traps. Whilst all of these traps are effective against some enemies, there are enemies who won't be affected by certain traps so you'll have to lay your traps in accordance to the types of enemy you're dealing with. In any given mission you'll have to deal with a number of enemies who are trying to kill the Princess. These enemies will come at you in pairs. Should the one enemy fall then another, usually a different type, will take their place. This means that some missions require you to rearrange and replace your traps to successfully deal with your opponents.

So how does this all work then? Well a mission will start and you'll move Allura around so as to avoid the attacks (which can be mêlée, ranged or magic) from her enemies. Pressing the circle button will pause the game, raise the camera angle to allow you to see more of the room, and place a grid over the room that you are in.  From here you can place traps and bind them to the X, square and triangle buttons. When you've placed your traps you'll return back to the game and wait for your enemies to step into the required zone before pressing the relevant button to trigger the trap. The trap zones are colour-coded to match the buttons you need to press (the ceiling traps have green zones to match the green triangle on your controller for instance) which helps avoid any confusion. Once used you'll have to wait a while, usually only around 10 or so seconds, for the trap to reset and become reusable. Some traps that are built in to the rooms will require you to leave the room and then re-enter them for the traps to reset. Whilst traps are effective on their own it's best to use them in combination for the full effect. For instance you can place a wall magnet trap right next to the movement zone for a pendulum (a huge blade that swings from the ceiling). When an enemy walks into range of the wall magnet, you can activate it to contain your enemy and then activate the pendulum to swing down and hit your enemy. Each room has its own traps such as chandeliers that fall from the ceiling which can also be used in combination with your own traps. The games currency is known as Warl and between missions you can purchase more advanced traps with this Warl for use in your next mission. In the Story mode there are also side story missions that you can choose to take although in truth they don't exactly do much, other than give you more enemies to kill, to enhance the story.

What's not so good about the game?

At times it can get frustrating having to lure enemies. Most of the time it's enjoyable but there are some aspects of the game that are disappointing. As we've already mentioned, in most of the game's missions you'll have to take on a number of enemies who come at you in pairs. Kill one enemy and another will join the fray. This continues until you have defeated all of the enemies. Unfortunately there's a slight pause before a death scene of your victim and a slight pause before the cutscene that shows the introduction of the next enemy. This serves to break up the action somewhat and can become irritating when there are many enemies to deal with in a mission. The biggest problem with Trapt though is that the AI is actually quite poor. Enemies run almost in slow motion and seem to take ages to recognise where you are. Sure this gives you more than enough chance to lure them into your traps but it also slows down the pace of the game quite significantly. You'll notice enemies running into the same traps (and trap combinations) time after time and this does spoil the game to some extent. Enemies can even be nudged into traps some of the time, which feels a little cheap.

How does it look?

Tecmo are known for getting great graphics out of a console and Trapt certainly looks very good considering the game is on the PlayStation 2. Character models are impressive and are nicely detailed. The character animations do seem a little wooden but for the most part are fine. The various locations in the game are fairly well detailed and on the whole there's little to complain about. With that said however, I was disappointed with the size of the black borders (along the top and bottom of the screen) in Trapt. In the cutscenes the borders are huge, which is far too large. Whilst playing the game things are a little better and the borders are much more tolerable but it's still a shame they are there. You'll control the camera angles with the right analogue stick. Whilst this can become tedious at times it's never problematic thanks to the slow moving enemies.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

The dialogue in Trapt appears to be in Japanese so English subtitles are present by default and all the cutscenes are subtitled. This makes the game very deaf gamer friendly and you'll be able to follow the story in its entirety. The subtitles are placed in the gargantuan lower black border and are displayed in bold white text, which is very easy on the eyes. The name of the character who is talking is placed above the text which makes it clear who is saying what. Comments that the characters make when they are pursuing you aren't shown in text but the comments made in the death scenes and when another enemy takes the place of a fallen one are shown in text. All other information in the game is shown in text so essentially there are no problems for deaf gamers with Trapt.

Final thoughts.

It's always great to play a game that's very different from the many we've played before and Trapt certainly fits the bill. Those expecting a traditional action game might be a little disappointed as Trapt actually feels more like a puzzle game, with the objective being to lure enemies into your traps rather than having to fight your enemies. On the other hand the game will probably appeal to those who like more in their games than simple hack 'n' slash and there's no denying that once you are accustomed to how the game plays, it's possible to find yourself really enjoying how Trapt plays. The AI could be better though and at times it all seems far too easy in the game's Story Mode. Still the Survival Mode definitely provides a challenge and the Story does have some replay value as it offers alternate paths. If you're looking for a combat where your wits and not your button bashing technique will see you through Trapt is definitely worth a try.

Overall Game Rating: 7.3/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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If you fancy something different then Trapt is well worth a look. Having to take out enemies by luring them into traps is actually a lot more enjoyable than you might think. There are some problems, such as the rather weak AI and a rather easy Story mode as a result, but on the whole Trapt is an enjoyable and original experience.