If you are a fan of survival horror games you typically know how weird they can get especially those who have played the Silent Hill series. With the creepy enemies to weird characters that you always believe are going to backstab you, you never really feel safe from harm. Deadly Premonition is no different. Originally released for the Xbox 360 in 2010, it quickly became a cult classic for its unique characters, querky dialogue and really deep plot. I’m sure many of you have never played this game never mind even heard of this game title before. So is you missed it the first time around, it is worth getting the PS3 Director’s Cut Edition, the Xbox 360 version, or just not at all?
You play as Francis York Morgan, an FBI agent who is called to a small town to investigate a bizarre murder. Very quickly you will find that he is a very “Unique” character. First, he talks to his alternate persona, Zach, who is in his head. Zach as you find out soon, is you, the player, but of course you can’t communicate with York so it ends up looking like he is talking to himself. York (As he likes to tell everyone to call him that) talks to Zach very often and about a variety of topics, not just the murder cases he is working on. This includes anything from old movies, cartoons, coffee or even complimenting his own shooting abilities which he does quite often. Second, he has a special profiling ability that he uses after finding clues at crime scenes to better understand how the murder played out. Sometimes he gets his clues from very unlikely places like… his coffee. York is very particular about his coffee… and biscuits. You will also find out that York officially has the creepiest smile in all of gaming. If you’ve played this game before than you know exactly what I mean.
The highlight of this game has to be the very odd cast of characters you will encounter. Each more suspicious and weirder than the next. Some would include a man in a wheel chair that wears a gas mask for no apparent reaosn, an overly flamboyant and cross dressing police officer, and a really fat and almost too happy-like plant salesman just to name a few. Along the way there are some major plot twists that will have you scratching your head in disbelief. At times this game can be unintentionally funny and sometimes just plain corny. (Even the music can seem out of place i.e. happy music while investigating a bloody crime scene). But don’t let that stop you, it really had an amazing plot that will keep you guessing to the very end.
The game plays a lot like L.A. Noire where you will drive around to various places looking for clues in order to find out who the mysterious “Raincoat killer” really is. The more clues you find, the better York understands how the crime played out. But unlike L.A. Noire, there are lots of really weird enemies (Some who walk backwards towards you…weird) along the way. As a survival horror game, this is one of the first of its kind to have an open world where you can actually participate in side quests, apart from the main quest, that will get you better weapons, items,m money etc. You can even participate in races (Even though they aren’t very fun and don’t really pay well).
Unfortunately in the PS3 version, there seemed to be a framerate issue. During some cutscenes and gameplay, it would skip every so often. In some areas it is better than others but it’s not frequent enough that it will prevent you from enjoying the game. Hopefully, a patch will be released shortly in order to fix this issue.
One major reason why this game needed an overhaul was because of its awful controls in the original. The controls in the original Xbox 360 version were really difficult to get used to. When you find yourself thinking of what buttons to press and are constantly pressing the wrong buttons, you know the controls are not for you. This was true for a whole heck of a lot of people the first time around. This time, I am happy to say is significantly better. In the PS3 Director’s Cut version, they have made the controls geared more towards modern third person control mechanics. The default controls closely mimic that of Resident Evil 4 (Where you aim with L1 and shoot with R1). Even if you don’t like the default controls, you can map most of the buttons to whatever you want them to be.
Although controlling York is better, controlling the vehicles is still extremely difficult. Don’t be shocked if you are driving into telephone polls and oncoming traffic. It’s a good thing that there aren’t any pedestrians on the street because in my playthrough, there would’ve been a lot more dead bodies to investigate. No matter how you look at it, the driving in this game tends to feel dated and more like a chore than entertainment. Knowing that you have to drive over 4000 meters to your next destination will most likely have you saying to yourself “Dammit” (Or other 4 letter words that I can think of).
There are some features in this game that I felt didn’t seem to fit in this game. One example is that you have a tired meter that shows how tired your character is. If your tired meter is depleted it takes away from your hunger meter. If that meter empties, your health will deplete so make sure to pick up and carry as much food as you can and whenever you see a rest stop, sleep for a few hours (Much like Fallout or Skyrim). Another unnecessary feature was that vehicles actually have gas in them. Seems harmless right? Well, if you run out of gas you have to walk to your destination. Deadly Premonition’s world is pretty huge so be doubly sure that if you take a car for a long trip that it has a full tank of gas in it or you will be walking quite a ways.
Deadly Premonition was a low budget game made by Rising Star Games (Who!?… exactly my point) so it doesn’t have the best graphics to date (Nor anything close). Much like cell shading, it appeals to some but definitely not all audiences. Enemies sometimes look fake and badly animated and for the most part it looks like something from the age of the Playstation 2 or original Xbox systems. Compared to the Xbox 360 version, this one does look a whole lot better. Character detail looks sharper, environment textures look more realistic especially while inside buildings (The outside environments still look pretty rough though with tree leaves looking as fake a paper and grass that looks very poorly detailed).
I really enjoyed the fact that the field of view camera is now further back which allows you to look around easier. In the original, the camera was too close to the player that it was tough to see what was around you. This made is tough for you to see enemies that were a little too close for comfort. The cut-scenes in the game reminded me a lot of the original Resident Evil where the characters tended to make hand gestures that most human beings never do. Surprisingly enough, the voice actors did a great job of bringing these weird characters to life which definitely helped the creepy factor of the game from fading.
So what exactly did they add to this Director’s Cut PS3 version compared to the Xbox 360 version and is it worth the additional $20.00 to the original’s price? (The Xbox Version sold for $20.00 new when released back in 2010. Currently it’s $17.99 at Gamestop). Well to be honest not too much.
- Better Controls
- Additional Cutscenes to add to the story
- Enhanced Graphics
- Only 1 difficulty setting compared to multiple to choose from in original(Which I thought was pointless to do, why not let me choose?)
- Mini-map appears on screen when driving for easier navigation to destinations
- Field of view has been improved so you can now see more around you
Are these added features really worth paying double for? If you can get used to mediocre graphics and bad control mechanics, I would stick with the Xbox version. But if you are looking for a better looking game with easy to use controls than maybe the Director’s Cut edition is right for you.
Either way, if you’re a big fan of old school survival horror games like the old Resident Evil or Silent Hill games, I really wouldn’t overlook this game. Deadly Premonition was creepy and equally weird which kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the game. The story was amazing and long I might add. I completed the game in over 15 hours (This is without doing any side missions at all mind you). Most games today (Nevermind survival horror games) last about 7-10 hours long. It was nice to pick up a game you that I didn’t beat in one sitting. If you do end up giving it a try, let me know what you thought of it. I’m interested to see if others will enjoy the story as much as I did.