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Bev Chen
19 Nov, 2010

Deadly Premonition Review

360 Review | IMPORT: There's only one way to sum this up: so bad, it's good.
This year saw the highly anticipated release of two games, Alan Wake and Heavy Rain, both excellent titles in their own right. Only a short time later, another game was released which, on the surface, bore uncanny similarities to both games. This game is Deadly Premonition. But let it be known that despite what many people seem to say, it is neither the poor man’s version of Alan Wake nor the Xbox 360’s answer to Heavy RainDeadly Premonition is a unique title to not only the horror genre, but to video games as a whole. While the game has been out in America for almost nine months, lucky (or unlucky, depending) PAL Xbox 360 owners can now play the game for themselves, with a little help from importing.

Touted as a survival horror game, Deadly Premonition sees you play as Francis York Morgan (just call him York; that’s what everyone calls him), an FBI Agent with a penchant for coffee and putting cigarettes out with his hands. He is sent to the country town of Greenvale to investigate the murder of a young woman and its supposed link to the folkloric tale of The Raincoat Killer. Accompanying York with the investigation are George, the town sheriff; Emily, the deputy; and Zach, the voice in York’s head. Yes, you read that right. It’s a small insight into the very tongue-in-cheek nature of the game and it is evident that the development team had a lot of fun putting the game together. Deadly Premonition manages to constantly swing from depicting the most depraved subject matter to having some of the silliest cutscenes you may have ever seen in a video game. York himself may very well be one of the most interesting video game protagonists in a long time, with his cool personality, eccentric mannerisms and obsession with B-movies.

The man himself, contemplating the usage of ice picks.

The man himself, contemplating the usage of ice picks.
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Like Alan Wake, the story itself is reminiscent of Twin Peaks, with numerous twists and turns (and a handful of plot holes). But in its ability to poke fun at itself, Deadly Premonition manages to capture not just hilarity, but surrealism in anything it does. Characters spout lines such as: “We’re here to buy something here. We shall meet again that’s clear” and York can stand around talking to Zach, yet no one will bat an eyelid. The voice acting could certainly be much worse, but the parodic quality of the script itself fits it perfectly. Similarly, the music is decent, but just so outrageously inappropriate (jazzy detective TV show music after a murder?! Hip hop music during a chase scene?!) that there really isn’t much you can do but sit back and enjoy yourself. There does seem to be a slight problem in the balance between background music and voice clips, but whether this was done intentionally to further confuse the player is up for debate. The graphics also heap another helping of bizarre charm on the game. While there’s no denying that they are terrible for a game released in 2010, there’s something amusing about the over-the-top animations and York’s downright creepy smile.

Gameplay combines Resident Evil 4’s third-person over-the-shoulder style and a free roaming world much like that of Grand Theft Auto. Though unusual for a horror title, the free roaming aspect of Deadly Premonition works quite well. Our main concern that travelling around the map would be too time-consuming was soon resolved upon receiving a certain item. It’s not as though there’s a shortage of things to do in Greenvale either; there are a great deal of sidequests, mini-games and collectibles to extend the game’s double-digit playtime by a few more hours. The game also constantly rewards you for doing just about anything, from pulling off headshots to shaving on a regular basis (York’s character model even grows a substantial amount of facial hair if you don’t shave for some time.)

Only in this game can you harass the Sheriff with stupid questions.

Only in this game can you harass the Sheriff with stupid questions.
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The real horror aspect of the game though, involves a transition from reality to the Other World, which is inhabited by Shadows. These are zombies that look like they got too carried away with dressing up like The Joker. Although there are very few types of Shadows, strategy is required in planning how to deal with them. Regular Shadows, for example, seem to be fond of making jittery movements towards you, whereas encountering Shadows with shotguns in large groups can often be fatal. But dealing with Shadows is certainly not as hard as it sounds, because of one factor – unlimited ammunition. To many used to the genre, this seems almost counter-intuitive. Why run when you can unload clip after clip into your enemies? Furthermore, there are numerous sidequests you can undertake (in the first playthrough, no less) that reward you with more powerful weapons, also with unlimited ammunition. Fortunately, Deadly Premonition does restore some feeling of helplessness in your experiences with the Raincoat Killer.

The Other World also serves to be important to York’s investigation, with clues pertaining to the numerous mysteries he comes across. During each Other World sequence, York will begin ‘profiling’ the situation at hand, which is presented as stills overlaid with static and noise. As York finds each of the clues, he will gradually ‘remove’ noise from the images. It’s an interesting way of presenting the investigation and probably saves players a lot of time running around, although some may find the Other World stages a little too linear and repetitive after a while. As previously mentioned, you will occasionally (through scripted events) run into the Raincoat Killer, during which you will be chased and forced to hide around the map. The hiding sequences are mercifully short, but the chase sequences can be quite long at times. What makes these particularly irritating is that you are not in direct control of York; the game acts more like lengthy quick-time events which require you to waggle the control stick in an uncomfortable manner. The game is also fond of dividing the screen during these sequences, with one half showing your normal, third-person view and the other showing the Raincoat Killer’s point of view. Everything tends to lag horribly when this occurs though, and the game’s graphics (believe or not) get much worse.

Why are there giant dogs on the street? We never quite figured that out.

Why are there giant dogs on the street? We never quite figured that out.
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There’s no doubt about it – Deadly Premonition is a tricky game to place. For some, it’s going to be a pile of garbage, a waste of twenty hours and $40. For others, it’s going to be one of the best games they’ve ever played due to its sheer hilarity. Here at PALGN, we know it’s our job to guide gamers and give them our opinions as to what is or isn’t worth the purchase. But with a game like Deadly Premonition, we’re not so sure people can judge the game by a single review alone. You see that score down there. You know what we think. If you buy it and hate it, don’t say we didn’t warn you. If you buy it and love it, welcome to the club.
The Score
It’s as simple as this - you will either love or hate Deadly Premonition. If you’re looking for a bizarre game that’s so bad it’s good, you’ve found your match. If you’re not… well, keep looking. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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20 Comments
3 years ago
The endurance run the guys at Giantbomb did was an absolute pisser.

That said, I don't think I could ever put myself through the ordeal of actually playing the game. This looks like one to be enjoyed from a distance...
3 years ago
i think i would love this game, wtf's with the giant dog.
3 years ago
I think I would like this if you could compress it into 2 hours, then make it a movie, them make Bruce Campbell the main character.
3 years ago
Just finished this game and enjoyed every second of it. Yes the car controles could be a touch more tight but beyond that I played it and loved it. 7 is far too low a score IMO. So worth buying.
3 years ago
Fetidchimp wrote
i think i would love this game, wtf's with the giant dog.
Here you go...

Or alternatively, watch this for the whole thing.
3 years ago
reviews have really done nothing to convince me to get this game.

Seeing a 2 minute video of him eating a sandwidch though.

mother fucking sold

I remember there was a hooha a while back about this maybe coming out here. Any word on that yet?
3 years ago
Benza wrote
I remember there was a hooha a while back about this maybe coming out here. Any word on that yet?
It doesn't appear to be rated at all...
3 years ago
grim-one wrote
Benza wrote
I remember there was a hooha a while back about this maybe coming out here. Any word on that yet?
It doesn't appear to be rated at all...
Any chance of the 360 one being un-region locked? It's only 25 bucks on play asia.
3 years ago
Already confirmed they won't be putting it up for classification here so it is technically banned but considering you can import it for less than $30 I don't particularly mind.

http://www.gamecafe.com.au/GamePrices.aspx?p=All&Search=deadly%20premonition

Hopefully it makes up for the disappointment of Alan Wake (which was just regular bad not so bad it's good).
3 years ago
well I know what I'm buying when I'm done with Brotherhood.
3 years ago
Balguren wrote
Just finished this game and enjoyed every second of it. Yes the car controles could be a touch more tight but beyond that I played it and loved it. 7 is far too low a score IMO. So worth buying.
Believe me, I would have given this 100/10 if I could. But hey, reviewer's gotta put aside personal biases and whatever, right? icon_biggrin.gif

But I agree. I love it. More than I probably should.
3 years ago
Yah for sure Bev not many games like this and not many will ever be like it unless there is a part 2 (wishes)
3 years ago
I've read a bit about this game before, and this nifty review just further makes me want to try this game out. But as long as the game doesn't see an English release for the PS3, I won't be able to play it. :[ I know that the game did get a PS3 release in Japan and there are still rumors about a possible English PS3 release, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Honestly, this game looks so wonderfully "bad it's good", that if no English PS3 version is ever released, I even consider importing the Asian PS3 version which has the option to switch to the English voice overs (for all the written Japanese text I can always check an English playthrough of the Xbox version). But that's really the very last thing I'll try. For now, I'll just keep waiting and see what happens with those "English PS3 version" rumors...

Having enjoyed ridiculous dialogue such as "You were almost a Jill sandwich" (and pretty much everything else Barry Burton has to say) and not being bothered by the awkward controls that were used in Alone in the Dark: Inferno, I cannot see myself not enjoying Deadly Premonition.

I really hope I'll be able to play this game someday, I'm intrigued! x]
3 years ago
Xernova wrote
I've read a bit about this game before, and this nifty review just further makes me want to try this game out. But as long as the game doesn't see an English release for the PS3, I won't be able to play it. :[ I know that the game did get a PS3 release in Japan and there are still rumors about a possible English PS3 release, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Honestly, this game looks so wonderfully "bad it's good", that if no English PS3 version is ever released, I even consider importing the Asian PS3 version which has the option to switch to the English voice overs (for all the written Japanese text I can always check an English playthrough of the Xbox version). But that's really the very last thing I'll try. For now, I'll just keep waiting and see what happens with those "English PS3 version" rumors...
I do own the Japanese PS3 version as well (call it desperation - as my luck would have it they would announce the PAL version like, a week later) and I've got to say that it wasn't as easy as I had expected. My main problem was that the map is actually quite hard to navigate if you don't have a firm grasp of Katakana, unless you have a Japanese dictionary at hand. And then it just becomes really time consuming to travel anywhere.

That being said, I did score mine for around $30, so it was pretty much worth it. Just, like... don't make the same mistake I did.



Although hell, I love the game so much that I am proud of having three copies.
3 years ago
Whats with the graphics...
3 years ago
Bev wrote
I do own the Japanese PS3 version as well (call it desperation - as my luck would have it they would announce the PAL version like, a week later) and I've got to say that it wasn't as easy as I had expected. My main problem was that the map is actually quite hard to navigate if you don't have a firm grasp of Katakana, unless you have a Japanese dictionary at hand. And then it just becomes really time consuming to travel anywhere.
Hm, I'll keep that in mind. I don't have any knowledge of the Japanese language at all, so I'm sure it will be tricky to figure those kind of things out. But getting this version will really be my last resort to playing this game. For now, I'll just play the waiting game instead...

Anyways, thanks for the tip.
(16 more posts before I can give + votes, getting there...!)
3 years ago
gamefaqs helps.
3 years ago
Mines on the way in the mail from ozgameshop last week, awesome!
3 years ago
For anyone who dont think the graphics are or will be good they are exactly like they should be it is like a crime/horror tv show music and all dark distorted graphics etc. Very good game.
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| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  29/10/2010 (Deleted)
Publisher:
  Rising Star Games
Year Made:
  2010

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