on Jul 17 by kitsumeda
Released in 2010 exclusively for the Xbox 360, it finally made its debut on the PS3 this year with Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut. This game’s review scores were so split that it earned a place in the book of the Guinness World Records as most critically polarizing survival horror game. This game is also the reason I watch the entire Twin Peaks series.
Deadly Premonition follows an FBI agent, Francis York Morgan and his trusty imaginary friend Zach, who is in fact you, the player. York is sent on a murder investigation of a young women in the town of Greenvale, but on his way there his car flips over and you find yourself traversing a forest filled with zombie-like creatures, in order to reach the town.
The entire game gives off a B-Rated movie vibe and bears a lot in common with the cult series “Twin Peaks”. The game was even reworked to have less in similarity with the television series, which makes me wonder how much more did it have in common with “Twin Peaks”.
The whole town of Greenvale is insane. The characters you meet up with are all weird in their own freakish way, with York being the weirdest among them considering he constantly talks to himself/Zach. This bizarreness makes it a delight to learn more about the town. For example one police officer doesn’t stop talking about different types of squirrels. Another character talks in rimes and adds “So says Mr. Stewart” at the end of every sentence, while at the same time pushing a man in a wheel chair who wears a gas mask.
The game is essentially divided into two sections, sections where you explore and interact with different characters, and horror or combat sections. Horror sections are absolutely a nightmare and not in a positive way. The controls are very stiff, aiming is extremely imprecise, the character and enemy animations are really bad, and most of the enemies cannot be avoided. Add the fact that there is a ton of backtracking and you have a recipe for disaster. But it’s this cheap and weird nature that keeps you constantly on the edge. You never know what to expect, sometimes a room may seem like a perfect place for a jump scare, but it never happens. These horror sections can be huge and can take up more time than you spend exploring the town, which is a real shame since they seem to impede the progress of what’s most entertaining with this game. All this makes more sense once you find out that the game wasn’t originally supposed to have combat. This was added later in order to be more like Resident Evil and fit better into the western market. With this said the original Xbox 360 version was criticized for its brutal difficulty which was fortunately addressed in this version.
During the game you will uncover key items in crime scenes. This is when York enters the so called profiling with which he pieces clues together in order to recreate the events as they occurred. Every time you collect a new clue, you will be shown a bigger picture of what happened in that location.
Deadly premonition allows for a lot of exploration. You can go to any location and enter a lot of buildings. The game has its own in-game clock. Some locales are open only during specific hours making the town of Greenvale all the more believable. Many of the quests you get force you to get to specific locations at specific times. The Director’s Cut offers 50 brand new side quests.
The town of Greenvale is huge and to help you get around you can use patrol cars provided by the local police. Getting from point A to point B feels more like you are really driving through an area you have no clue about, rather than the more streamlined driving sections featured in many games today. The reason for this is because the minimap is pretty useless since you only see your immediate vicinity. Most of the time you will be driving in the wrong way because of the awful mini map. To alleviating the boredom of driving sections, York frequently talks about his favorite topic: old B-rated movies and actors from the 80s.
The minimaps found in Deadly Premonition are probably one of the worst mini maps found in a game to date. It is constantly zoomed in way too much, frequently showing less just a couple of steps in front of you in an otherwise huge area. The mini map also gets quite buggy at times showing static in specific sections and no, this isn’t a part of the gameplay.
From the visual point the Director’s Cut “should” be better. I say “should” because it’s far from impressive. The slight, hardly noticeable bump in the resolution might sound like a nice upgrade if not for the terrible framerate issues that this version has gained. The game seems to have a hard time while rendering a single flower or jar of pickles with a black background, dropping to a single digit of frames per second. Some of the sound effects are actually quite creepy, but most of them are plain just annoying. Enemies tend to keep repeating the same “I don’t want to die” sentence when killed over and over again.
All the new content doesn’t influence the original storyline. The game received a new opening and ending scene. Another addition is DLC. Now you can buy a house, car or costume as DLC, still I don’t know why you would want to do that. PS Move and 3D support are additions to PS3 version of the game, both of which just hinder the experience instead of enhancing it. 3D support is absolutely horrendous up to the point where I questioned whether or not the 3D was working half of the time.
Being quite fresh in a sea of generic games might be the reason why this game is so loved. The question is if this game came out for the PS2 would it have been as popular? Almost every part of the game is slightly annoying at best. The way this game does what it wants when it wants makes the whole experience worthwhile. Unfortunately it’s hard to call the PS3 version the definite version of the game, since it doesn’t improve too many things. The higher resolution, PS Move and 3D support don’t really make the experience any better and the framerate issues really take you out of the experience. Deadly Premonition is a very weird game and definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you like something “different” or better yet weird it’s worth checking out.
For those interested in our review of the original Xbox 360 version you can read it here.