Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut

I know some people, some pleasant nice people.  But they are young and they like to remind me that I’m older than them by viscously not remembering what a Megadrive is, or by maliciously being unaware of Ren and Stimpy.  Another trait in these normally pleasant but opinionated characters is an absolute distaste and inability to appreciate films where the cool stuff was SFX and not CGI.  I couldn’t get Evil Dead, Nightmare and Elm Street or Star Wars on but hand them a copy of Hostel 3 and it’s the best film ever.  The game Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut is not for this perfectly reasonable but sometimes inconvenient kind of person.


 Despite being an upscaling and a ‘better version’ of the original ‘Deadly Premonition’, it still looks and sometimes feels like a PS2 game that was thrown out because it looked too much like a PS1 game.  The gunshots sound like someone in the next room bursting a balloon and sometimes they don’t even happen at all.  There are frame rate issues, slow down, jumpy textures, weird on screen glitches. The driving is about as easy as go-karting when your drunk and your feet have been replaced with two half melted Cornettos.  Prepare to be shocked however because this game is incredible. Just like the horror masterpieces from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s this game looks awful but my goodness does it pull you into a mesmerising trance beautifully.  Like Derren Brown if he was going to scare your fingernails off your hands by whispering into your eyes.


 

The thing that absolutely excites me the most about Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut is the intricate details of all the NPCs lives in the small town of Greenvale.  They really seem to have lives going on, as your character, York, everyone calls him that, is interviewing suspects for example, you could find yourself driving to their workplace or their house to find that they aren’t there.  You check the in game clock and realise it’s lunchtime and as expected your inconsiderate suspect has gone to the diner, where you can join them for lunch.  These people are living actual lives which you can ruthlessly interrupt to a very realistic sense of ‘leave me a lone I just want to enjoy my Scotch egg and cheese-strings’.  It’s almost as if they didn’t want to be viciously and frequently accused of murdering people at all.
 
Your purpose of being there is you are an agent of some American acronym, CIA, FBI, ABC, HBO or something like that, who has been brought in to investigate the murder of an attractive but very much dead young lady.  Filled with sights of creepy ghostly twins, a creepy glowy-eyed Darth Maul in a bathrobe character, a hypersensitive old woman that constantly thinks your trying to seduce her as if you’re David Duchovny in an all girls dorm room, a man in a wheelchair played by Bane from The Dark Knight Rises and his ridiculous carer who speaks to you constantly in rhyme as if he has a song stuck in his head that wont leave him alone.  Like the DuckTales theme does to me.



 
Unfortunately the cartographers that live in Greenvale are the worst that they could find. The map you have to use to get around looks like a three year old child’s drawing of spaghetti and worms with string and dental floss on top. Anyone who played the previous version of the game will be happy to hear that the enemies aren’t made out of bullet-absorbing-blu-tack anymore and can actually be put down, and navigating York through tight halls no longer feels as cumbersome as trying to negotiate a sofa cushion into a tiny lift while on the phone and trying to eat a sandwich.  The shooting aspect still is only there to allow to move past hallways with creep things in it and isn’t particularly memorable. It’s very fairground potato gun-esque.
 
One of the creepiest parts of the game however is when you are being chased ruthlessly by a killer you will often find a dual screen effect with the smaller screen emphasising the events from the 3rd person perspective of the killer while the large illustrates your own frantic efforts, leaving you feeling like you are in the shining and Jack is losing his marble faster than…I dunno, someone with loads of marbles and a hole in their pocket.
 
The game looks awful, sometimes feels awful and has all kinds of problems but despite all that is probably one of my favourite games of the year so far.  Buy it and thank me later.

Deadly Premonition: Directors Cut at CeX


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