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Thread: Deadly Premonition

  1. #1
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    Deadly Premonition

    Well, that's it. At just a few minutes short of 20 hours I have beaten this wonderful mess of a videogame and now I'm going to share my thoughts on it. Much of the following text I wrote during the past two weeks while I was playing it, so it might seem a bit schizo and disjointed, but that's only fitting for game that's as all over the place as this one.

    Are you in the market for a Japanese survival horror game modelled on the storyline from Twin Peaks, with the gameplay of a poorly coded Resident Evil 4 clone and the graphics of a 2002 Playstation 2 title? Then Deadly Premonition is the game for you!

    You play as Francis York Morgan. FBI Agent and major cinephile. Solving unsolvable murder-mysteries is his specialty, though he might occasionally get sidetracked and prattle on about "Xanadu" for minutes on end.



    That's the game's main villain: The Raincoat Killer. Looks like an overgrown Jawa, I know.

    This game clearly was made on a budget, yet instead of narrowing down the scope of the game to make everything look and play decently, the designers went the other way and tried to do as much as possible with as little resources as possible. For instance there is only one “door opening”-animation in the game, and it looks like this: York opens the door slightly and peers through to the other side, a bit nervously, before opening the door fully and walking through. An animation like this looks perfectly reasonable if you’re in one of the game’s haunted mansions or catacombs, but when York is, for instance, walking into the local diner with the same apprehensive animation it looks a bit out of place. There's also a shortage of music in the game, so it's not uncommon to hear one tune start over multiple times during the same cutscene.


    There's a clear quantity over quality design philosophy going on in much of the game. For instance the vehicles handle like shit but they do have functional windshield-wipers and turn-signals, plus you’ll need to keep an eye on the fuel-gauge and make a swing by the local gas-station if you’re running low. If there's someone else in the car you can talk to them by pressing the A button. If York is by himself in the car pressing the A button will make him talk loudly about 80's sci-fi B-movies to himself(which reminds me I totally should check out "Deadly Spawn" from 1983, it sounded pretty good the way York described it). To be fair though, York doesn't really talk to himself, he talks to "Zach", his invisible friend who is always with him. In other words, you, the player. York will talk to and ask advice from you all the way through the game, much to the confusion of other characters. Just like the cars in the game, York himself is equally high-maintenance. You’ll need to sleep to lower your sleepiness-bar, eat to lower your hunger-bar, use healthkits to restore health and not run too far lest you depleat your stamina-bar. If you don’t shave regularly you’ll grow a beard and if you wear the same clothes for too long they’ll stink and flies will start swarming around you. Luckily it seems the NPCs are too polite to point out that you smell like shit.


    The story, and the characters, are the game's great redeeming factor. The murder-mystery will have you guessing till the end. I thought I had the real killer figured out before the halfway-point, and my suspicions seemed to be getting more and more validated only the be pulled out from under my feet in the last act. And the ending, OH MY GOD the ending. There are so many questions being posed throughout the game that you think there's no way it'll explain all of it by the end. But it does! The end arrives and there are actually - SHOCK! HORROR! - ANSWERS! Not some vague Lost or Alan Wake cop-out bullshit. It's like the designers actually thought the whole story through before they started building the mystery. I know this sounds like it should be obvious but it really isn't. Deadly Premonition does a better job at making sense of the mystery that preceedes it than anything I've played or seen lately. And a lot of the answers leave you smacking your forehead when they arrive wondering how you didn't see it sooner.


    You might've picked up by now that Deadly Premonition is a quite unique game. Though the story and setting borrows heavily from Twin Peaks this is about a million miles from Alan Wake. The action-portion of the gameplay is quite RE4-ish though there's so much more to this game than just the action. The crime-scene investigation and evidence-gathering parts reminded me of LA Noire, though oviously this game came out before that one. The crazy over-ambitious scope of the game is perhaps most closely mirrored in Shenmue 2. Though I had much more fun with this game than I ever did with that one.

    There is so much stuff going on in this game I can't even mention all of it in this post. Like, there is a day/night cycle of course, but the devs even went beyond that and programmed daily routines for the 30-odd characters that make up the main cast of the story. They wake up in the morning, go about their affairs, go to work, go to a bar, go home. Try it, follow Nick when he goes to work at the diner every day and then to the bar in the evening. Or Kaysen who takes Isaac and Isayah for a walk in the park every day. Does the game really need this? Not really, but holyshit if the developers for this game happened to have an idea, by God they followed it through to the end! I don't know how this game happened. I would LOVE to see a behind the scenes documentary. I can tell you what it feels like though. It feels like someone had an incredibly ambitious vision and a very limited budget, and instead of scaling the project down to something managable they slammed their fist in the table and declared "NO, dammit! I will MAKE MY GAME just the way I've imagined it!" A lot of love went into this game. And it's not perfect. It was always gonna be a cult-game. But it deserves to be played by more people.

    This was a budget-priced game when it came out last year and it's even cheaper now so if you have a 360 go ahead and pick it up. Yeah sure RE4 was just re-released in a HD edition or whatever but you've already played that one. Get this delightful slice of wierdness instead, you won't regret it!

    Holyshit I've written a lot about this. This might be the longest post I've made in my 10 years here. But a subject well worthy writing about. Searching TTLG I notice that only one or two of you have played this game. I guess it's possible that some of you have played it and just not mentioned it but that seems unlikely. A game like this you just can't stay silent about.

    tl;dr? Just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZSxoUsaCc

    Images uploaded with ImageShack.us

  2. #2
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Y'know, anything Twin Peaks is an insta-try for me. I'd dearly love to get my hands on the PS3 version, but of course that was only released in good ol' Nippon. I read the original EG review which made it sound super-interesting, and your write-up confirms there's some really special stuff going on in it.

    It's a shame I don't own a 360, but... I barely use my PS3 any more these days either. But I'm probably going to make an exception for when that really tasty Ico/SotC collection comes out next week, which will distract me a goodly bit.

    But, well. Sigh. One day, I shall play this game.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2005
    Location: Watching the puppets thrash.
    I played this game for a few hours before getting side-tracked. I am going to play it again, but it is so weird. I can almost swear that whoever made this game appears to have, at some point, seen human beings interact. They then proceeded to make a game based on that experience. The scary part is that your explanation about who Zach is makes perfect sense.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    I am so going to look for this. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2002
    Location: Sacramento, CA
    This has been on my radar for a bit, and your description makes it sound as good as I could hope. Admittedly "distinctive and brilliant games with flawed mechanics" have been taking up a lot of my gaming time recently, and after crawling my way through Yakuza I may need a break. But it's on the wishlist.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2006
    Location: Washington DC
    Is this that one where your character gives running verbal commentary as to your combat skills? 'Perfect', 'great shot', etc?

  7. #7
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    That he does. It sounds like it might get grating fast but I didn't really notice it. The game contains a lot of elements which should get grating but somehow doesn't. However, the worst offender might well be the "squealing saxophone" track that kicks in every time something vaguely mysterious happens in a cutscene. Which is to say: you'll be hearing it a lot.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: cesspool
    And PS3 got only Japanese version of this game

    It seems the game is very close to what I thought Alan Wake was going to be. The closest game to Twin Peaks ambience I've ever seen.

  9. #9
    PC Gamering Smartey Man
    I <3 consoles and gamepads

    Registered: Aug 2007
    Location: New Zealand
    It's cool that someone actually put out a PAL release. I remember watching Noah Antwiler's Let's Play of this some time last year and being frustrated that all releases at the time were region-locked.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2001
    I love this game for its strange vibe, where all poorly implemented gameplay and dialogues can be seen as SH/TP parody, and the result is pretty hilarious (if you will get used to the controls, that is). The story on the other hand is pretty dark and will surprise you a few times, although I found the final parts disappointing and too obvious. Anyway, it's a weird kind of a flawed gem that is terrible and awesome at the same time. If you manage to live with the drawbacks, you'll love this game.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane


    For once, us Yanks get the better cover. 1/3 hour in and loving it!

  12. #12
    Saturnine
    Guest
    Played this recently and absolutely loved it, I recommended it to just about eveyone I know!

    I immediately recognised Emily as Naomi Watts, does this mean everyone in game is based on a real person? I didn't recognise York.

    Amazing experience that I honestly couldn't stop playing!
    It's actually very misleading by being so quirky in places because when it gets dark it gets very very dark, the art gallery climax for example left me staring open mouthed at the screen, I couldn't believe what I just saw!

    Highly recommended, right Zach?

    Reminded me a bit of an old PS2 game, Shadow of memories, had the same dreamlike atmosphere.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2007
    Location: Finger paintings of the insane
    Shadow of Destiny/Memories was excellent. There is a PC port of it as well. IIRC, it was made by members of the original Silent Hill team.

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I suggested Deadly Premonition 2 should be as though Deadly Premonition 1 had never existed. I wanted to do everything from scratch, but the producer said I couldn't do that. [...] The producer said the fans love York, and so I have to carry on with him as the protagonist."
    Damn straight! I can't wait to see what that goofball gets up to next.

    As for the Director's Cut I'm glad to hear it'll be mostly about adding new things to the game rather than cutting stuff out. DP had a lot of weird shit in it that didn't neccessarily need to be in the game, like the fishing-minigame and whatnot, but it made the whole experience bigger and odder and more endearing.

  16. #16
    New Member
    Registered: Feb 2004
    Location: a cloud
    Played this game over a year ago now... It's funny, I remember when picking it up at the store, I was bored... didn't see any titles at the time that interested me and saw this "new" game for 20 bucks. Being a "horror" genre fan I decided to pick it up, more for a laugh than anything as the pictures on the back and description were really cheesy. Well, guess what game wound up being my 2010 GOTY? You guessed it. Deadly Premonition.

    I seriously love this game, including all of it's quirks.

  17. #17
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    *resurrects thread, pours himself a cup of coffee and looks with interest into it*

    Zach! Did you see that? Clear as a crisp spring morning. P... C... in the coffee!

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: Poland
    That's awesome

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Nov 2003
    Location: The Plateaux Of Mirror
    My god it's going to be even more of a broken mess than the console version. And I'll snap it up the first time it's on sale anyway.

  20. #20
    New Member
    Registered: Jul 2013
    Holy hell, I never thought I'd see the day. I wonder how well it'll sell?

  21. #21

  22. #22
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Apparently it's locked at 720p and has no controller support. That's sort of terrible. I guess it was done in-house by Jap devs not very familiar with deploying to a PC infrastructure, like From Software with Demon's Souls. Still, a little more effort, guys?

  23. #23
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Will pick it up if it gets modded back to usefulness.

  24. #24
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Well, higher resolutions are being made functional by the fella who did DSFix.

  25. #25
    verbose douchebag
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Lyon, France
    Pretty that guy is due a ticker tape parade at some point.

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