Reviews: Deadly Premonition

The Story Is What Sells It

Up-front, Deadly Premonition's story is what is the most interesting aspect of it. A small town murder, but proving to be more than just that. Simple and a very basic plot, of course, but that's just how it begins and becomes more interesting, as you proceed.

The rest of the game sways between being okay to mediocre to pretty bad. The graphics are nothing to write home about, but they work well and look good enough to not be unpleasant to look at. The light-shadow textures and facial animations can look a bit weird at times, but can also give a certain charm to the characters.

The voice acting is pretty good. The voices fit, they don't sound too stilted. Unfortunately, the sound quality is not that good. I didn't notice it that much in the beginning, but more at the end of the game, there were more and more instances where the lines were so loud that I could hear an echo from the recording chamber or were so low, I had to turn my volume up to hear the dialogue over the music.

Speaking of music, it's fitting, though there aren't a whole lot of tracks. A lot get repeated, but the most repeated ones are the ones I didn't mind listening to again. I am sad that Pillow Stains is not really in the game, though the song replacing it is okay.

As for the bad parts, well, some of the mechanics make no sense to me. Your car has limited gas and functionality, which makes sense, but you get unlimited gas during certain plot events. And a lot towards the end of the game, so why have this feature?

The game's mystery is okay, it begins very subtle, but I realized it became less and less subtle about things from the second murder onward...

The game's action sequences and gun mechanics, frankly, suck. If you're aiming for something on the left, you can't see it easily because York is in the way. The movement of the crosshair is slow. Focusing your shot doesn't automatically mean it'll hit or focus on the appropriate weakspot. The sections of running away from the Raincoat Killer are horribly painful on the thumbs and controller, because of needing to flick the left analogue button left and right repeatedly. (Mario Party already proved how bad that can be for thumbs and controllers over a decade ago)

The camera could use some work and the map of the town needs a lot. Despite spending hours playing the game, I still had to double-check the map to see where I was going.

Finally, for a game that revolves around gruesome murders and mystery, it lacks horror. The only thing that really horrified me in the game was the Hellhound dropping from the sky... and that was more a WTF moment.

All in all, the story is good! It's the gameplay that kinda sucks... I would definitely suggest to watch someone play the game, but preferably focus on plot events. The in-between action sequences of the Other World can be skipped.

Deadly Premonition review

funniest game of all time

Greater than the sum of its parts

Deadly Premonition leaves a terrible first impression. But give the game some time, and the charm begins to grow on you.

The town is very large and explorable, with many citizens that go about their daily lives, traveling from place to place at different times of day. You can even spy on them through their windows and observe what they do at home. Or you can try to reach them at whatever location they drive to next, and try to talk to or question people at different times of day. It gives the feeling of a real place where people live real lives, however condensed they may be for the sake of a video game. The game even has changing weather, and different events that occur only when it rains, or only when it's more sunny. There's a ton to do here, lots of hidden items to collect, and 50 side missions to go on, some of which contain rewards such as unlimited ammo versions of guns. This is what you'll be doing most of the time.

The other aspect of the gameplay is the "red world" segments. These feel like a cross between Silent Hill and Resident Evil, as the world transforms into a run-down version of its former self, infested with creepy red vines, a motif that begins to make more sense later in the story. Zombies played by people who can't act whose voices are slowed down and made low-pitch, assault you from every corner, and they gradually get nastier, even going so far as to carry guns, which do a ton of damage should they shoot you. At first, there's no depth to the fighting, but later on, prioritizing and managing threats and avoiding attacks becomes a bigger part of the gameplay. And I enjoyed the boss fights.

The story is a mixture of horror, with parts that genuinely disturbed me near the end, drama, with some genuinely upsetting moments, comedy, and Narm. Some hammy voice acting and some understated voice acting sadly makes it hard to take many of the serious moments seriously. But I still liked it.

Deadly Premonition is, overall, a very unique game. It's very ambitious. Open-world exploration mixed with Survival Horror with a lot of quirky comedy makes for an original blend, but sadly the execution is a bit iffy. If you can look past the outdated graphics, occasional glitches, and average-to-mediocre quality voice acting, you might find a true gem.
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