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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 If you can look past the outdated graphics, occasional glitches, and average-to-mediocre quality voice acting, you might find a true gem.
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