Friday, June 10, 2011

Buck Reviews "Deadly Premonition," One of the Best Worst Games Ever

Last year, I bought "Alan Wake," which is a fantastic survival/horror game. After beating it, I read up on it a little, and read that it was based off of an early 90's TV series, Twin Peaks. I then looked into Twin Peaks, and discovered that another game was made last year that was also based off of it, named Deadly Premonition. So I looked that game up, and was surprised at the reviews it got. They basically ranged from a 2 out of 10 to a 10 out of 10, depending on who was reviewing it. Naturally, I was intrigued. Lucky for me, a friend of mine bought the game, mostly because he found it for only $15, and it has easy achievements. After managing to ruin his copy in a freak stepping-on-a-cord-making-my-X-Box-fall-while-loading-causing-a-huge-scratch accident, I rented it so I could finally play this beast. Finally, after around 20 hours of playing it, I beat it, and now I shall tell you all about it.

GRAPHICS: If you have ever played the first, maybe even the second Resident Evil game, then you have a grasp of the graphics. For a game that came out in 2010, you would really think that it could have something at least on the level of an original X-Box game. It looks like a last gen PS1/early PS2 game. Granted, it was originally supposed to come out in 2007, but still. There are plenty of graphical hiccups, such as people just kinda moving through sections of walls,and the background just kind of popping up out of nowhere. The animations of characters are also painful to watch. Everyone moves as though they were in a box. Just about every character only has two, maybe three facial expressions at most. Repetitive animations. If you were to just watch the game, it would be a chore to sit through. Bottom line: The graphics are crap.

SOUND: The sound of this game is amazingly awful. I loved it. The game has three or four main songs it plays throughout, sometimes seemingly at random. Sometimes it can turn a serious moment into a hilarious one, simply because the music does not at all reflect what is happening. Anytime I heard what I call "The Whistle Song," I just could not help but whistle along. I'm sure I missed a few important plot points simply because I was getting into that damn song. The voice acting is also pretty good...for the most part. Sometimes they seem to phone in a line, but who cares? There is also hours and hours of extra dialogue they included, from your character talking to himself as he drives to pass the time, to the exchanges between you and the town folk. I also love how they just re-use every sound effect. Every door in the game, including prison cell doors and giant metal gates, sound like an old, rickety closet door. There's also only two walking sounds. It was always sound like you're either walking on a tile floor in high heels, or walking through some high grass. When it comes to the sound, it is basically awesome, as long as you don't mind repetition.

GAMEPLAY: Probably the worst aspect of the game. Walking around is a pain in the ass. It is best to pay attention to your surroundings, because if you don't, you will walk into some chair, and spend about 30 seconds trying to maneuver away from it. The driving is awful. Any vehicle you get into feels either like you're driving a soaped-up stick of butter, or a giant stone block. Also, when the camera changes while you're moving, the controls get all screwy, because pressing "Up" is always the move forward button, which screws you up when you're moving toward the screen, or across it horizontally. You also have to be lined up perfectly to interact with most objects. Combat...dear god. The combat will make you want to break your controller. Since they did not include an option to adjust the sensitivity while aiming a gun, you have to deal with their fucked up aiming scheme. It's usually not that big of a deal once you get used to it, but later when you have to be precise, it will make you cry. Melee weapons have a very limited durability, so I wouldn't even bother with them except when breaking boxes and wooden fences. Also, either the map sucks, or that town was laid out by an asshole. Everything is set way too far apart. However, with all that said, I will say that DP is very innovative in one aspect. It is a sandbox type game, where you can run around and do stuff other than the story mode. The cool part about that is the other characters are not always where they should be. They drive around town, go to the store, get gas, all sorts of stuff. So if you're looking for a character to do their side quest, you are most likely going to have to track them down. If they're driving, you can't just ram them off the road. You have to follow them until they stop and then talk to them. You also have to make sure you get sleep and eat, otherwise you start bitching and moaning. At least I think you do. I never really had an issue with food or sleep, since food is laying around everywhere, and there's plenty of places to sleep. Over all, the controls are shit, combat is shit, driving is shit, but it does bring a little something new to the whole sand box aspect.

CHARACTERS: The characters are either the second best part of this game, or tied for first. You play as FBI Agent Francis York Morgan, a man who gets tips from his coffee, speaks to his invisible friend Zack, and is kind of an asshole, but not really on purpose. What I love is how every single character you meet has their own personal back story. All of them. Each character is unique. I really wish I could go into detail on them, but I can't, because almost all of them are important to the main plot, and I don't want to spoil anything about this game. You will either love, hate, or be amused by everyone you meet in that little town. There is some incredible character development that happens as the game goes on. Just trust me, the characters in this game almost make the game worth buying in and of themselves.

PLOT/STORY: I would like to go on record and say that the main story to Deadly Premonition is fucking incredible. Remember earlier when I said that this game is inspired by Twin Peaks? Well, if you've seen that show, then you already have a basic idea of what this game is like. It's a murder mystery, who-done-it, with so damn many plot twists, you never really know what is going on. Most of the fun is just trying to figure out what might happen next. Basically, Agent Morgan arrives at a small town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, and as you go about solving the case, everything gets bat-shit crazy. Just when you think you have it figured out, it turns out that you were completely wrong. Or maybe I'm just not a good detective. Either way, when the climax came, I was all "Holy shit, why didn't I notice that?!" Trying to figure out the mystery, along with learning how the rest of the town folk tie into it, is just incredible. I don't think I've played a game with anything close to it before, and unless they release a Deadly Premonition 2, I probably won't for a very long time. If I were to rate the story, I've give it a big !! out of 10.

So, in conclusion, if you don't care too much about how pretty a game is, and how horrible the controls are, and the repetition of the sound score, and how tragic the combat system is, then I suggest you go and buy the crap out of this game. Most places sell it for less than $20. For that small price, you get a game that has some of the best character development, some of the funniest moments, and one of the best stories I've experienced in any game so far, and in most movies. Granted, it's basically Twin Peaks: The Game, but that show is incredible, so don't bitch about it. The fact that people who love Halo and Gears of War and all that simply hate this game just lets you know that some people have no idea what to do with a truly original game. Deadly Premonition is an incredible train wreck, and I loved every single minute of it.

If you're still not sure about this game, just watch these clips. They'll give you a small glimpse of the characters, and also The Whistle Song. You're welcome.

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