Hidetaka Suehiro’s detective mystery thriller, which garnered cult-like status in 2010, finally comes to the PlayStation 3 with bonus features, optional PlayStation Move support and a refined control scheme. Receiving only minor visual improvements, Deadly Premonition appears even more dated than it did three years ago, but makes up for it with offbeat yet charming characters and a town very reminiscent of Twin Peaks (a TV series from the early ‘90s).
As FBI special agent Francis York Morgan – you can call him York – you are sent to the quaint town of Greenvale to investigate the gruesome murder of a young woman in ritualistic fashion. From the start of the game players are introduced to the game’s surreal version of the real world, resembling something you would expect to find in Silent Hill. Walls are covered with impenetrable red vines, apparitions come out of the ground and walls wailing and groaning as they awkwardly inch their way towards Agent York. The entire experience gives off an uneasy vibe, as blood curding cries of “I don’t want to die” or “don’t kill me,” can be heard echoing through your speakers. Being the only one to experience these sequences, York doesn’t have anyone to discuss his experiences with – except for Zach.
Much like FBI agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks who recorded his thoughts on a tape recorder, York will frequently divulge his thoughts about the investigation, the townsfolk and even his coffee (which he is very passionate about) to an unknown entity that he refers to as Zach. York is either suffering from a split-personality – a possibility given how eccentric he can be – or Zach represents the player, drawing you into the experience. Searching for clues during the survival horror moments, York can “profile” the current crime scene, as images flash before York’s eyes.
Hinting prior to the release of the Director’s Cut at the possibility of new additions to the game, none have seemingly made the cut; there aren’t any additional quests or places to explore in Greenvale. The controls, which were awful in the original release, have been updated to fall more in line with current third-person shooter titles. While not quite as smooth as Dead Space orResident Evil, it is a step into the right direction. Some of the game’s textures appear to be sharper and better looking, but the improvements are minimal at best. It’s a shame that a large number of possible buyers will quickly dismiss the title solely on the outdated visuals becauseDeadly Premonition is unlike any game that I’ve played before. The inclusion of the mini-map does help you find your bearings, especially when driving, but the full map still doesn’t feature waypoints or the ability to zoom out.
Time passes much like it would in the real world with townsfolk moving to and fro and shops opening in the morning and closing during the evening hours. Even York has to use his time wisely as certain quests can only be completed during certain times of the day. The window is usually long enough for you to explore various parts of the town beforehand, so don’t feel compelled to race through each quest. After a long day of chasing down a murderer, why not take in a game of darts at the local bar or head down to the water try and catch some fish.
If you haven’t played Deadly Premonition already, do yourself a favor and pick up the game. If you can look past the outdated visuals, average controls and cheesy jazz music that always plays at the inopportune moments, you will find a remarkable narrative with some of the most varied and charismatic characters in any game to date. If you’ve already played the game and want to double dip, the Director’s Cut is the definitive version of the game to play.
Note: The Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut Review review was written based on the PS3 version of the game provided to us for review.