"As one of those rare cases where the failures emphasize the strengths, Deadly Premonition achieves its individuality by being the Ed Wood of gaming."
Deadly Premonition is ugly, broken, confusing, demented…and also one of the most extraordinary experiences of the decade. It disregards all conventional quality standards and plays by its own rules. It’s juvenile and careless, yet provoking and immersive. It fails as a traditional video game, but succeeds as a work of fiction. How much of its absurdity is intentional remains unclear, but this exceptionally orchestrated disaster has to be judged on its own merits. As one of those rare cases where the failures emphasize the strengths, Deadly Premonition achieves its individuality by being the Ed Wood of gaming – it’s so bad (well, more like odd) that it’s brilliant. Originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive, Deadly Premonition has garnered a cult following and the reviews have been amusingly split amongst critics. While many despised the near broken gameplay and nauseating visuals, others praised its unique ruggedness as the holy grail of this generation. The Director’s Cut hopes to iron out some of the rough edges and reach the PS3 audience, but are the improvements enough to stretch beyond the game’s fan base or do they compromise the integrity of the original?
In a nutshell, Deadly Premonition is Twin Peaks, the game. Its narrative, characters, setting, and tone, are directly inspired by David Lynch’s spectacular TV series. But even the Lynchian eccentricity doesn’t compare to the absurdness of Deadly Premonition. Playing through the game is equivalent to a tennis match with ping-pong balls. The unpredictability and WTF moments can either be enraging or delightful, depending on how you perceive the bizarre venture.
"Deadly Premonition is an open world horror mystery that plays much like Capcom’s Resident Evil 4."
You play as FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan. York tends to talk to himself…Zach specifically, who represents you the player. He also likes to solve cases with the help of coffee and enjoys discussing B-movie classics while cruising around town. He’s a nut job…and he may be the most unique and interesting character you’ll ever experience in a video game. York is sent to the town of Greenvale to investigate the mysterious murder of a young woman. The seemingly ritualistic nature of the killing is reminiscent of York’s past cases and as he uncovers clues around town, he finds further evidence linking to the killings around the country. Deadly Premonition is an open world horror mystery that plays much like Capcom’s Resident Evil 4. Aside from the raw RE4 DNA, the gameplay is sluggish, slow, and imprecise. It’s far more playable than its Xbox 360 predecessor, but still feels like the basic third person shooter mechanics were shoved down a meat grinder. At the same time, it “compliments” the broken world that it’s in. It manages to reach that perfect balance of being unplayable and a complete joy. It’s indescribable.
Every character in Greenvale is unusual and memorable. Conversations often steer towards absurdity and you’ll often wonder how the script was even put together. Let’s just say that the first inner dialogue with “Zach” is an in depth conversation about Tom and Jerry…yes, the cartoon. Deadly Premonition is filled with varied quests and even sim-like elements. Keeping track of York’s hunger, tiredness, and even cleanliness is a big part of the experience. Shaving, doing laundry, and changing your clothes intertwines beautifully with the rest of the game, especially as York grows on you over time. Missions consist of investigating crime scenes by collecting evidence while putting together clues with York’s “profiling” ability and fighting zombies (or ghosts?) in what seems like a Silent Hill inspired netherworld. Deadly Premonition can be legitimately scary at times…but its creepiness is oftentimes accidental. It’s the combination of repugnant aesthetics and broken sound effects that accentuate the feeling of angst. It’s an uncanny feat, but it works.
"Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut is nearly impossible to score. It fails in almost every aspect, but is also one of the most memorable and immersive games I’ve ever played."
The visuals have been supposedly enhanced for the Director’s Cut, but you couldn’t tell the difference unless you had both versions side by side. The increased resolution appears slightly sharper, but the already sluggish framerate is now even choppier. At times Deadly Premonition moves like a slide show but it’s luckily never unplayable. The character models look decent enough (and I’m using “decent” very loosely here), but the environments are an abomination. Textures look like month old vomit and exteriors can be so blurry (especially when driving), it’s hard to tell things apart. Deadly Premonition looks god awful even for a first-generation PS2 title and there are no words to describe it. Ironically, the ugly graphics are a big part of the game’s personality and anything better than this would simply make it into a bad game…instead of a “unique” one. Fans who were concerned that the Director’s Cut would compromise the weirdness of the original need not worry. If anything, this enhanced edition allows players to focus more on the game’s narrative by providing slightly improved controls, but believe me…it’s just as odd as it was back in 2010.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut is nearly impossible to score. It fails in almost every aspect, but is also one of the most memorable and immersive games I’ve ever played. All the broken elements somehow merge into an experience that can’t be summed up by a few paragraphs. I could easily give Deadly Premonition a “1” for the sluggish controls, nonsensical plot, and headache inducing visuals…but why is it then that I enjoyed myself so much? Ultimately, I play games to be entertained; to be sucked into a fictional world inhabited by interesting characters…and Deadly Premonition has them in abundance. Deadly Premonition is an exception…an anomaly that deserves praise for achieving the impossible: It’s the best worst game ever made…and for that, it is flawless.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Playstation 3