Deadly Premonition Game Review
Written by: Psyko113
Deadly Premonition is one of those games that, for the most part, would slip under the radar. This is mostly due to it being in development far longer than it should have, and with some necessary alterations NOT being made to the final product. I've gotta say, though, it's the best piece of shit I've played in years! It's like looking at a soiled diaper to discover the baby ate glitter; it reeks, but there's little glimmers of light speckled throughout. Okay, that’s a very weird metaphor, but just roll with it.
If one were to read any reviews of the game by most parties of the gaming industry, you’d hear nothing but bad news. Complains about the quality are well documented. However, there seems to be a cult following of the game with fans. Curious, yes?
The game has drawn many comparisons to Twin Peaks, to the point where the game scenario was re-written and dialogue (among other game elements) re-done to accommodate enough changes that it wasn’t seen as “Twin Peaks: The Game.” Much like the TV series from the 90s, the game opens with the discovery of a beautiful young woman’s corpse found. The girl was popular and loved by those in her small Washington state town. The mystery behind her death is enough for the FBI to send in Special Agent Francis York Morgan (whom the player assumes control of), a young man with a habit of talking to an imaginary person named “Zach.” Think of all the times Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks would dictate to Dianne on his tape recorder, only without the tape recorder.
After getting a small taste of the strangeness the town has to offer, York meets some of the locals. Most notably, Deputy Sheriff Emily Wyatt (marvelously voiced by Rebecca Wink, and perhaps the best character model in the game) and Sheriff George Woodman. Various colorful townspeople inhabit the area of Greenvale that York encounters as well. Some of these persons are really only interacted with during various side-quests, though a handful do come into play at points throughout the main story.
I’m not going to go into more detail about the story because, really, that’s what makes the game shine a bit. All awkwardness of the game aside, the story is really quite well-done in the end; especially in the last act (though I could have done without most of the epilogue, but that’s just me). It's nothing profound or thought provoking or anything of that sort, but in that it does a good job of keeping you entertained and scratching your head trying to figure out what's going on. Following with the connections/inspiration the game obviously has from Twin Peaks, the game is full of unexpected moments with characters and twists to the story.
The controls are something of a throwback. The scheme is similar to the infamous “tank controls” of the early Resident Evil games, as well as having some of the speed issues from the early Fatal Frame series. Nothing is more frustrating than reloading your weapon to shoot an enemy while they aim theirs at you in slow-motion; it’s a frustrating race to see who pulls the trigger first.
The enemy designs get very repetitive, and you can read their behavior patters after a while. The most interesting of enemies to me has to be the Crawler (those of you who are gonna play the game, you'll know it when you see it). There really aren’t any boss encounters, save for a chase sequence or two featuring the Raincoat Killer near the end of different chapters. And for those of you about to cry “spoiler!” on me for mentioning him, the dude is on the cover of the game, so he’s no secret.
The voice acting fits the weirdness of the game, being a combination of off-beat and decent quality, depending on the character and what's going on in the story. Again, Rebecca Wink steals the show here, but considering the importance of her character that’s very fitting.
Graphics are last-gen. If this game were released on the original Xbox, it would have gotten some awards. Not so much these days. Sound isn't the greatest either (and it's frustrating when it sounds like a character's dialogue has been almost muted, even during their close-up!), and many of the same effects/dialogue gets recycled, especially with enemies, who only seem capable of saying six different sentences. However, in the end I suspect all these flaws were done on purpose to get people talking about the game, because underneath it all it's a golden nugget.
To put it into perspective: If Alan Wake is the video-game version of a Stephen King story, then Deadly Premonition is the video-game version of a story by David Lynch. And with the game brand-new costing $20, you’re not out much.