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Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut Review

Deadly Premonition is a game that sent shudders down my spine, not because of the haunting storyline but because of what I had heard before. Not having played the original this second chance offering wrapped up in a Director's Cut edition gives PlayStation3 players that chance to see what all of the fuss was about, is this a rubbish game or a massive middle finger to the gaming world. Even as I write this review I can't quite put my finger on it, but I err on the side of it being a low budget masterpiece.

In the end it is all down to personal taste and your perception of the world this reminds me of a long time ago at a house party, so please stick with me here. Surrounded by lots of very cool people, one such younger cool person asked about films I had been watching, having just sat through a huge Friday 13th marathon I chatted about how much I enjoyed the films, though said cool person was like "yeah, it's all so ironic". As I watched his confused little face try and comprehend that I actually enjoyed them I moved to another part of the house, soon becoming the odd one out of the party, relegated to the dark confines of the small patio garden, but happy knowing that with all the haircuts, tight trousers and pointy shoes, I was surrounded by idiots. Deadly Premonition makes me feel that same way, many attacked it, many played because it was supposed to be bad, not at one point have I had these thoughts, loving every moment of it like it was made specifically for me. Maybe the developers could not create a huge open world like Grand Theft Auto, but that didn't stop them trying. As from start to finish this is an enthralling game that constantly surprises.

You play as FBI Special Agent York, sent to the forest town of Greenvale to investigate a horrific murder of a local girl, found by young twins Isaac and Isaiah, her mutilated body hanging from a tree. Initially sent to watch from the side-lines and help the local sheriff in his investigations you soon take control of the case following evidence that leads to a possible serial killer that leaves red seeds at the scene. The first few hours are quite tight and linear, setting up the whole town and getting you familiar with the game mechanics, starting with teaming up with the local sheriff and his deputy as they give you the tour of the town, visiting local landmarks like the autopsy unit, where the body was found and then by his brilliant deductions, York leads them to the actual murder scene, culminating in a thrilling chase from the axe wielding maniac known in local legend as the Raincoat Killer. Its then down to York to find out who the killer is, though this is no easy task as the town is just full of a wide variety of weird and strange characters, the strangest of the lot is our lead character, Agent York, with him not only often inexplicably visiting an alternate reality, he also gets premonitions from cups of coffee, talks openly to his imaginary friend Zach, oh yeah and he chain smokes.

Once the scene has been set the game opens up into an interesting mixture of an open world game interspersed with elements of survival horror, with York able to drive around Greenvale and meet up with suspects for questioning at pre-arranged times. The alternate reality is a little strange, just popping up with no announcement, quite often when York walks into a room, but weirder still; he never really mentions this to anyone and seems to accept the strangeness of it all. These dark and claustrophobic worlds are full of shadows, ghostly figures that peel from the walls or climb up from pools of dark on the floor. These moments are more akin to the old survival horror games like Resident Evil and Silent hill, resulting in you shooing it out against these ghastly creations whilst you solve puzzles to progress.

With a very slow 'real-time' in game clock, there can often be large gaps in between pivotal story moments and this is where the game holds some of its charm, with York having naps in his the local hotel ran by a deaf old lady who also sells you ammunition; killing time trying to find the perfect fishing spot to reel in some additional items like food or even more ammo, participate in some pub games, a spot of racing through the streets of Greenvale or just drive around the huge map trying to locate collectors cards based on the characters you meet. The game world also is something refreshingly original, if a little short-sighted when it comes to the visuals, with a huge world to wander around, numerous time zones, each offering different shops and people to bump into reminding me of another great, Shenmue.

With such a huge map to navigate, cars are vital, with you being in charge of repairs and filling up the petrol tank. When travelling to a new area the game really does not help with an appalling in game map making it impossible to really successfully navigate the town, often driving up the wrong road. To fill in these long drives there are plenty of moments where York will talk to Zach, giving us a little insight into the character and his apparent love of old 80's films.

Where many felt it a negative I see the soundtrack as a great addition to the game, being full of wonderful moments like haunting music interspersed with rather jovial whistling track, dog barks, babies crying, plinky pianos, the shadow monsters begging not to be killed and a music track that feels like something is very wrong with the game disc, add a terrible voice cast and it feels like the perfect B-movie.

I have avoided until now the obvious which is the graphics, many people get stuck on the negatives of the game, the visuals and are unable to see past them which is a shame as the game has so much on offer. Yes the game is not great looking, almost ugly in some places with textures fuzzing and some very basic looking environments but at times it's the complete opposite, with some decent looking character models and some of the town landmarks having more detail than the rest of the game.

Through the game you feel as you are being yanked by the designers, with even the back of the box feeling like it is taking the mick with bullet points like 'most critically polarizing game of recent times', not really something to shout about. The enhanced graphics statement is also laughable, unless they are talking about the 3D update, which looking at the game feels like it's always on, your eyes straining with the fuzzy backgrounds. Finally, you have the updated controls, which we can thank is not the Kinect but more suitable move wand, acting now as the right stick, moving the camera and crosshairs. It works well enough but is really no substitute for a control pad.

Too many used the term it's so bad it's good, wrong, it's not bad, low budget graphics don't make a bad game, Deadly Premonition The Directors Cut is a great game, a cult classic that will be remembered for a long time to come.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3)


- Gripping story


- Visuals will put many off

Edited On 25 Apr, 2013

( 13 )
troublemaker's avatar
troublemaker 4 years ago
Bah ha ha ha! The instant I pictured that party, I knew exactly where you were going! I love it. Seems a decent enough budget title, and I've never played it so I reckon it'll be worth grabbing. Cheers Ash.
Kaje's avatar
Kaje 4 years ago
I pre-ordered it on Tuesday and received it today, played for just over an hour and it seems like a game I'll definitely get sucked into after my exams. However...I couldn't help but chuckle, guffaw and generally 'lol' my way through the early combat section of the game. The ghoul/zombie style monsters that sound half-bored when they're moaning and then whine "I don't want to die..." when you kill them. Worst. Monsters. Ever. Still, will delve deeper once my exams are done!
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
I can't believe you never mentioned the Monkey Squirrels or the conversation about Tom being a masochist and Jerry being a sadist
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
I kept meaning to add it to my rental list, finally got round to it, was thinking of buying a copy, but after looking can't believe the price of it still for its age.
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 4 years ago
Good review, but that last sentence is painful. You, have, used, too, many, commas!
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
I keep getting the feeling that this is gonna be like Nier. Where it looks so bad but just happens to kick the ass of just about everything released over the last few years.
Gummy's avatar
Gummy 4 years ago
Really enjoying this game so far. The poor graphics kind of add something.
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 4 years ago
played about 40 mins of this game so far and its the most crazy game i have played in ages the graphics are dated but it does not put you off , kind of makes you want to keep playing , so bad its good as people say
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
How far are you? I'm just driving around Greenvale doing Side Quests, Collecting Cards and Fishing
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 4 years ago
still on the tutorial part so funny when you kill enemy's and they say i don't wanna die
Beazi's avatar
Beazi 4 years ago
Got to be honest this game interests me... It don't look great but the premise sounds interesting!
Gummy's avatar
Gummy 4 years ago
This game is a lot longer than expected. Rare for a game to be a decent length these days, especially a horror game.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 4 years ago
How far are you Gummy? Speak in code so there is no spoilers

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