Publisher: Ignition Entertainment
Developer: Access Games
Category: Suspense, Horror
Release Date: February 23, 2010
Deadly Premonition follows Francis York Morgan, an FBI agent who works alone, as he arrives to the city of Greendale to investigate a body found in the woods. York has been investigating a series of murders and he fears this one might be another in a similar string. York has an imaginary friend named Zach that helps him solve these murders. Zach is a clever way of getting the player involved in the game, since you play the role.
The gameplay is broken down into two different phases, the realism phase and an alternate reality phase that only York sees. The realism phase is used for talking with other people and investigating crime scenes. During the alternate reality, York still does things he is actually doing but he also has to dispose of some zombies at the same time.
The production values represented by Deadly Premonition are really good. A lot of little things appear in game that may go unnoticed by the average gamer, but help it have more of a movie feel. Whenever characters are introduced, the screen will freeze and their name and profession appears. There’s also a whole sequence you go through when investigating, it begins with strips of reel film around the border of very faint images covered in television static. The clues you uncover remove the static and reveals what really happened.
Whenever you interact with an object the game will slow down. Doing things like opening doors and picking up more ammo and bandages, become a personal dilemma while you decide whether you really need to replenish your health at a later time or try to get through the game a little quicker. Maybe this won’t be a problem for someone who isn’t playing the game to review it. Anyone else will probably stop playing it before they get to a point where these slow downs start to get bothersome.
The graphics in Deadly Premonition are a mixed bag or good and bad. The characters show a lot of detail, with every strand of hair and fiber on the clothing being defined precisely. On the other hand environments are about a console generation behind. When driving around town, the responsiveness of the controls is delayed just enough to make it painful. Aiming your gun also takes a lot of touch and precise targeting to take a zombie down with the pistol. The music is pretty entertaining, but for the length of the game there isn’t enough of a variety of tracks to make it all the way through without them getting repeated way too much.
There are also some pretty annoying camera issues you’ll have to deal with. During the third person gameplay, it only affects you when you’re trying to look around corners. Driving is the biggest headache, namely when turning corners. The camera stays firmly locked in spot until your turn in nearly completed, forcing the player to take blind corners.
This is a real hard game to judge, it does some things pretty well; story, production, but it also falls flat on equally important aspects; controls, environments. That being said, it’s not horrible for a budget game, but the bad aspects do overshadow the good ones, making it a struggle to complete.
Overall Rating: **1/2
The Gaming Savant, Ryan Smith
March 11, 2010