First things first Deadly Premonition is a complete marmite game & you will either love it or hate it. It divides opinion across the board & has been reviewed with scores of as high as 10/10 & scores as low as 2/10. If your interest has been peaked enough to come & read this review of the game then that is definitely a start. Happily I fall into the category that rates the game very highly… I love it. I didn’t always, when I first started playing the game I couldn’t believe what I was playing. “This is an Xbox 360 game? It looks like it belongs on the PS2”. “This story makes no sense”. “Are those trees?” These are just a few of the thoughts that went through my head when first playing the game. I won’t lie, I thought it was awful & someone had made it for a laugh. Thankfully I decided to continue playing & all those bad thoughts were quickly erased. They didn’t go anywhere…. they just didn’t matter.
The story takes place in the little woodland town of Greenvale where FBI agent Francis York Morgan (please, call me York everyone does) has been sent to investigate the murder of one of the townspeople by a killer that is steeped in legend – the raincoat killer. With the help of York’s ‘friend’ Zach he will have to delve deep into the history of Greenvale to uncover this mystery. Everyone is a suspect & no-one can be trusted.
Onto the review then: I’ll split it into the sort of questions I would normally ask about a game & hopefully it will answer all of your questions.
What kind of game is it?
An open world 3rd person action/adventure. You’re given free reign of the town & are only bound by the towns’ opening hours & during some missions a timer. You have to give York food & let him sleep. Additionally for no other reason than it looks good York will grow a beard of a period of days if you don’t shave & will begin to smell if you don’t change his suit & wash them (clue is flies buzzing around him). The games enemy areas are effectively dungeons – you go in & have to complete the objective to leave. Normally this means collecting a number of evidence items.
How does it look?
There is no getting away from it, the game looks average. The backgrounds are made up predominantly of trees with it being sent in a woodland town & they look awful with one area looking like another. However the characters look great & are very detailed showing scars & marks on faces. The enemies that exist in the game also look good, decidedly creepy enough even if they get rehashed on a regular basis. Without giving away anything in the game you will come to a chapter late on that will make or break your opinion on how you think the game looks, for me I was convinced the look was perfect for the game.
How does it sound?
At first you will laugh at the strangeness of the music in Deadly Premonition. It’s random & rarely matches up the scene that’s playing out, often a deep & meaning-full scene will be playing out while some hyper jazz-esqe music plays. It’s very strange but has a charm about it that you can’t help but love. What surprised me was how memorable the music was in the end, I could hum some it right now. Don’t let the description fool you though, there are times when the music is haunting & matches the scene perfectly. Those moments will take your breath away – not since a Final Fantasy game have I seen a game get the music so spot on.
How does it control?
Ha ha ha can you see a theme here? Yes it doesn’t control well, the over shoulder cam when moving ala resident evil 4/5 doesn’t work as well here. To turn it’s the old running on the spot job although using weapons is fairly straight forward. It’s not so bad however driving is not so much fun, go at speed & the car has a tendency to drift to the right, hitting something as innocent as a leaf is enough to stop you in your tracks here. What makes driving bearable? The banter between York & Zach & other characters that join York in the car. It’s enough to make a 5 minute driving journey fly by.
How does it play?
Like a dream. You never feel under pressure to do anything & any timed missions are very generous. You can play through the game without touching a single side-mission which there are a large number of. Each side mission will reward you in some way (improved weaponry etc) so are well worth going after. The freedom of the town is something you can’t help but take advantage of & you will find yourself letting days pass by without doing anything related to the main mission just because there is so much else to see. One complaint: the map is difficult to navigate & takes getting used to.
What’s the story like?
Ah onto the whole reason to play this game, the reason why it’s got 10/10 scores & will get one here as well. I would argue that there isn’t a game anywhere that can rival Deadly Premonition’s story. The amount of time & investment the creators put into it shows why other areas are lacking. So many games rely on style over substance nowadays (looking at you call of duty) it’s refreshing to play something that plays out like a movie. It has twists & turns all over the place, I would be very surprised if you saw many of them coming. It’s heart-breaking & awe-inspiring at times. They take a murder story & turn it into something spectacular that will leave you open-mouthed. An absolute joy to experience.
Is it worth playing?
In every way, yes. A game like Deadly Premonition will not come around often & it is now gaining a massive following. As you can see from the above the game is littered with faults but as I have already said none of them matter. You will barely notice them in the end; they just make the game what it is & it’s all part of the charm. If you judge a game on how it looks then this isn’t the game for you but if you want a gripping & compelling gaming experience that isn’t ashamed of how it plays out then buy/play this game.