Which brings us to the townsfolk’s reactions to the dead broad in the tree. Facial expressions and emotions are clearly not a thing in this game, with the most diabolical “crying” scenes I think I have ever seen or heard from a game. Ever. All topped off with cheap, porno-esque sax music in the background.
After you’ve finished laughing – or possibly crying – you can begin the actual game… Or not.
This “room” is actually a small, very red, forest opening with the two twins from the first cutscene sat gossiping in the centre, portrayed as angels. I think not. The “room” teaches you the basics of movement (left stick) and interaction (A and B buttons) before allowing you out into the wider world.
Here you begin finding more problems, namely EVERY control in the game, but worst of all is the camera. Controlled using the right stick it doesn’t stay at whatever angle you aim it, flicking back to its default when you let go of the stick. This can be pretty vomit-inducing if you suffer from motion sickness when gaming.
Then, finally, the game starts. This time, you find yourself (Francis York Morgan) in a car driving towards the little town in the boondocks with the dead lady. After a very in-depth conversation with someone about Tom and Jerry, which is ended abruptly due to signal problems, York then begins to chat away to someone called “Zach” which turns out to be the player – this allows for quick time events, probably to make sure the player is still conscious at this point. York then manages to crash the car and the player is left to navigate their way through the forest to find the town.
A good point with this game so far is that there is no shortage of tutorial for new players. Everything is explained. Every control is highlighted… Multiple times. You shouldn’t forget them easily.
The forest is where you’re first introduced to the enemies of the game. These are horrific; with their bizarre faces, painful looking backwards contortion, random phasewalking and by far the creepiest demonic voices I’ve ever heard. This is topped with fast-paced music that can only really be described as panic-inducing, especially when you know that this means the thing is getting closer and you can’t aim for your life. This game does give you lock-on, which is great because self-aiming in this game can be near-on impossible…
However, it auto-aims at the crotch.
As you find clues within the game, York will prompt you to carry out “profiling”, this allows him to see a series of images that relate to the case more clearly, very few of these you will understand at the start of the game, but later they will become more recognisable and obvious to you as the player.
After a lot of forest navigation you finally meet the raincoat killer (or ‘raincort killer’ if you have the old EU box) for a very short, quick time event battle. After a bit of running and a final cut-scene you’ll find yourself settled into a nice hotel. This ends one of the most horrible game openings ever. If you’ve made it this far then you’ve made it further than most ever will, but don’t worry, with this game perseverance reaps massive rewards.
From here on in, the game really starts to shine. Whilst all the problems are still there, they become less of a focus. The game has a huge cast of unique characters and masses of weird and unforgettable moments, such as the F.K coffee scene shown very early on.
Deadly Premonition runs on in-game time with certain parts of the storyline only viewable between specific times on specific days, this leaves the player with a lot of spare time in which they can choose to carry out some of the many townsfolk requests, drive around listening to the mass of movie trivia York enjoys telling Zach all about, or just sleeping/smoking the time away. The town itself is pretty huge, so there’s plenty to explore and do most of the time.
One of the final things that needs a mention here is the soundtrack. Following the theme of the whole damn game, it shouldn’t fit, but my god, it does. The biggest problem with the music is the whistling theme, not because it’s bad, because it’s great. You will get it stuck in your head, and it will drive you absolutely mad. Enjoy!
So, whilst it is easy to understand why a lot of people dislike this game from the outset, perseverance really is key here. When picked apart and looked at, the game should’ve never worked and yet when put together it works great. Even with its comedic nature it still manages to dish out a mass of jumps and scares when needed and keeps the player hooked with multiple plot twists and unexpected moments. This game is one of the biggest hidden gems around and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what they’ve improved on and added in the ps3 version.