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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Deadly Premonition

03.12.2010by: Andre Manseau

Published by: Ignition Entertainment
Developed by: Access Games 
Release Date: February 23, 2010
Available on:  Xbox 360


INTRO: Assume the role of FBI agent Francis Morgan (That's York to you) as you investigate a murder. It's up to you to interact with characters and try to piece the puzzle together to solve the crime.  Yep, the murderer shoves red seeds down the victim's throat and you've got to connect the dots to other things that have happened to you in the past. Hey, don't forget that you have an imaginary friend who you talk to all the time and you fight zombies in your head and you see premonitions in your food, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.


This game doesn't get many points for being a technical masterpiece, because it isn't. The whole thing is a bit of a mess but I've got to admit I had a lot of fun playing it. This is the first game with the distinction of being "so bad it's good" that I've ever reviewed. There are a lot of problems, but if you can get past those you're in for a bit of fun. It looks, feels and plays like a terrible horror movie that takes itself too seriously and that can be a good time. There's no way this tongue-in-cheek style wasn't achieved on purpose. There's all kinds of hilarious one liners and ridiculously out of place music, not to mention your lead character is insane and you meet characters like "Raging Bull". Yeah, for real. The game is nuts, and I can't describe to you just how nuts it is but believe me when I tell you, it works and it is the game's main selling point.

Coming off almost like a weird homage to twin peaks, this game plays sort of like a crippled GTA clone. You are going to be sitting through a lot of long, long conversations and you're going to be driving for-EVER. Sometimes when you drive from A to B, you could find yourself driving for 5 or 6 minutes without a break. This game is sloooooooow. When you finally do get the chance to shoot and kill, you'll do so in a sort of RE-style way. You get a pretty standard selection of weapons and you can upgrade along the way, and you'll be using them to shoot the zombies that may or may not actually exist. This all starts off really easy but gets pretty tense as the game goes on. It has a really cool feature where Zombies can detect breath and you have to hold it during the right times to avoid them.

There is more tedium to get through too. You have to make sure York is always clean shaven, that he eats and has gotten enough sleep. This is annoying, but York can sleep almost anywhere, and eat at diners and carry snacks. There's all kinds of side missions and the like to keep you busy for well over 20 hours, which is impressive enough.

Boss fights aren't very difficult but they can be frustrating because although you can shoot everything else, you cannot shoot the boss. You are relegated instead to constant quicktime events where you press buttons and watch things unfold on the screen.  I will admit though, although not everything is perfect but the story is well done and there are some legitimately scary moments. I wouldn't call it one of the scariest games I've played, but Anna's death is intriguing, tough to figure out and well written. I will also admit that the Raincoat Killer is pretty scary, even though he seems to be torn right from the pixels of Clock Tower.

I really don't know what else I can say about Deadly Premonition. You're either going to love it or hate it. You really need to be able to 'get' what it sets out to do or you'll be left baffled. Everything about this game is pretty bad, to be honest. The whole thing feels silly and ridiculous and if you're in on the joke you can kick back, drop twenty bucks and have fun.

Gameplay: 5/10


This is an ugly, ugly game. It looks like a last-gen game and could have been on the Wii. Character models are awful and environments are bland. 

Graphics: 4/10


The sound is well-placed awfulness, but it has a tendency to loop over and over again. The voice acting is a riot but again, it's awful.

Audio: 4/10


This is such a strange game to review. Within the first 10 minutes of playing it I was sure I was in for an agonizing time but I enjoyed the hell out of it. I still feel as though I can't encapsulate exactly what it's like to play this budget title. By all means, this game is terrible. It looks bad, it sounds bad, it's paced poorly and the combat can be frustrating. But as I mentioned before, this may be the first game to purposely achieve the status of being so awful that it's worth your time. It is impossible to give this game high marks due to its poor execution, but it really was a unique experience. At only 20 bucks, I recommend it for those with a sharp sense of humor and an appreciation for the absurd.

Final Score: 6/10




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