Deadly Premonition might be one of the strangest games I’ve ever played, but let’s start from the beginning. You take control of Francis York Morgan (but everyone calls him York) a detective that has been investigating mysterious murders across the country, he is brought to Greenvale where a recent murder has occurred and must join forces with the local sheriff’s department to solve the mystery.
On face value you might think, “this could be an interesting detective game”, except it isn’t. Not that it isn’t interesting but rather it was sold as a survival horror game. This is because there are points in the game when York enters the otherworld which is inhabited by awkwardly positioned humanlike figures. These enemies can be really scary and when there are multiple on screen at once in a small space can cause fear in anyone. However, there are only a few character models so most of the enemies are the same.
The story for the most part is good, with continuous intrigue about who might be the killer in this small country town. However, it is severely let down by the extremely poor voice acting, and this is on the level of original Resident Evil bad to the point of it almost being a bit more enjoyable because of how terrible it is. This is combined with a weird sound echo when most characters speak which seems very amateurish. Speaking of sound, the score is also strange. It relies on a cool jazz theme almost entirely throughout which would be fine apart from it often appears when a very serious or sombre scene is going on so it doesn’t fit and seems really out of place.
As far as gameplay is concerned, the otherworld sections of the game provide a good level of horror and movement in these cramped areas feels tense but movement throughout the rest of the world can be clunky as it is so huge, this coupled with cars that handle extremely poorly means that the need to unlock car upgrades and fast travel via side missions is almost a must. The problem is you could miss these side missions if you aren’t careful. The side missions themselves can be fun and really flesh out the supporting cast so even though there aren’t many inhabitants in the town it still feels lived in.
The weapons provided make the game extremely easy to play, for starters you begin the game with a standard issue handgun which has unlimited ammo. This is coupled with the fact that a lot of the side missions can provide you with other guns that also have unlimited ammo. (Including a magnum which makes the game almost a cake walk.)
The graphics for the character models are generally quite good with only occasional poor quality, the scenery and the rest of the game however leaves a lot to be desired with much of the graphics looking like they are from a PS2 game from 2004 rather than a PS3 game from 2013. This is combined with constant framerate drops and draw distance issues that don’t make the game unplayable but sometimes a bit of a chore.
I started off Deadly Premonition absolutely hating it; feeling like it took hours to complete the smallest of tasks. However, once I was able to fast travel I started to embrace the crazy and actually enjoyed my time in Greenvale. The tone frequently doesn’t match and the game struggles with its sense of identity into what genre it is trying to be. Simply put Deadly Premonition is the best bad game I’ve played and has no business being as fun as it is.
– Dodgy graphics and framerate
– Terrible voice acting
– Long winded cutscenes
+ Fun and wacky story