22 thoughts on “Deadly Premonition is an Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma

  1. Hah, my initial impression was that DP’s what it’d be like if Salvador Dali met David Lynch in today’s Japan and the two teamed up to create the SH/RE clone of the century, with a budget of $200. It’s also the only freeroaming survival horror title on the market today.

  2. Alone in the Dark 5?

    Well, strictly speaking there’s only a limited portion of the game that actually involves freeroam, you’ve got a point though.

  3. http://twitter.com/matty_125
    I agree with Adam!

    Many copies were sold based on “so bad it’s good”. It’s an eccentric game, for sure, but I think there is a more depth to this game than I’ve seen people give it credit for.

    I’m not too far into the game (at least, the “prologue” achievement tells me so), but there is quite a bit to explore and it’s been a while since I’ve played a game that actually rewarded you for that. It’s not just filler, either.
    If your check out the “Rock n’ Roll Market” and pay the “spiritual map” the clerk tells you a pretty awesome/tragic story. There are a few bits like that I discovered just by driving around almost aimlessly – you blame as a design flaw but it’s not without it’s merits.

    Not to mention the story isn’t half bad, either. Heck, it’s way more interesting than these other paint-by-number plots in most recent games I’ve come across. Terrific game.

  4. I watched a friend of mine play this for a while. He thinks it’s bad by accident, that nothing so terribly awful that it becomes good could be done by design, but I disagree. “Police” brand cigarrettes? “No-Smoking” lighter? the awful smiles by the main character? the crazy Zelda-like NPCs? the pointless rambling about old movies while driving? it has to be intentional….

  5. OF COURSE that was intentional. Nothing could have been be made so quirky by accident. My guess is that it’s all part of the giant Twin Peaks homage (Lynch satirized soaps there pretty much the same way).

  6. Yeah, there’s so much ironic and wacky humor that you can tell this is exactly how the designer intended the game to turn out. With the deep, interesting, and serious plot, though, I think what may have happened was that they were intending the game to be more serious overall with more competitive graphics and gameplay etc., until after they were given a much more limited budget than they thought they’d get, at which point they decided that since they were going to have to decrease the quality on so many things they would make the game seem to be ‘aware’ of its budget and make it as ironic and crazy as possible. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m sure it just wouldn’t have been quite as charming and memorable if their budget had been larger.

  7. OF COURSE that was intentional. Nothing could have been be made so quirky by accident. My guess is that it’s all part of the giant Twin Peaks homage (Lynch satirized soaps there pretty much the same way).

    Yes, Twin Peaks had its quirky moments, but a lot of care was put into it as well. It had beautiful photography, great costume design, fantastic music, a GREAT cast… It was stylish and refined, and there hadn’t been anything like it before on any format (nor will there be). There were many reasons to watch it, not only its quirkiness and surreal humor.

    Does Deadly Premonition have all that (or its video game equivalent)? Graphically, it looks terrible, and the whole “strange detective talking to an imaginary ally” thing seems more like a rip off than a homage to Twin Peaks. And the part where you shoot Siren-inspired zombies through a RE4 perspective… lame.

    For what I’ve seen, if I had to guess, I’d say the wackiest stuff was put in later in development, when they realized the game was going to be terrible and non-marketable. Just a cheap attempt to save the game. But I haven’t played it yet, maybe it was accidental.

    The best homage a video game designer could pay to Twin Peaks or to David Lynch’s films in general would be attempting to make something completely original, with its own personality, humor and atmosphere. Something that was dark and scary, but also sweet and funny. Something that no one has seen before. Deadly Premonition reminds me too much of too many things (Twin Peaks itself, mainly). Taking the setting, the characters, the motifs (coffee, etc), the hallucinations… EVERYTHING from Twin Peaks, and making a cheap survival horror in which you end up shooting zombies/ghosts… where’s the homage?

    That being said, I’d like to play it and see if there really is something beyond what I’ve read in reviews and seen on YouTube clips.

  8. Having played this for some 40 hours on the hardest difficulty in an attempt to get all the achievements (before realizing that you had to play each difficulty individually to get each respective achievement for those difficulties), I can safely say that this game is about as far out there as out there can get.

    I don’t want to post anything that could fall in the realm of spoilers, so instead I’ll mention a couple neat points about the game.

    1. Read the signs on the walls in the hospital. Is this a result of bad localization or some of the most hilarious Engrish ever? You decide.

    2. Walk behind desks that have little placard signs…you’ll notice that the text that reads outward also reads inward and transparently. I don’t know any other way to describe it. It’s just weird.

    3. You can hit someone with a car all day and they won’t even flinch. I will say that I had one great experience where I was trying to hit Kaysen while going about 60, plowed into the kids that were with him, bounced off them, flipped my car into the air over them, landed upside-down on the other side of them, and managed to continue driving upside down for a brief bit before the game finally decided to reset my car.

    4. I love how when it’s raining, sometimes the road and the background and everything that isn’t a car just randomly disappears. You can’t make this much awesome up.

    5. One actually really neat and positive point. I think they were attempting to make this a deep game at some point and you can experience this at the point in the game where you’re required to goto the Community Center at 3 PM on a particular day. Everyone’s supposed to meet you there and I went there without any cigarettes to pass time. If you show up right before 2 PM, you can watch as every individual from town pulls up in their respective cars at varying points in time. They won’t let you have an actual interaction with them because they insist on waiting until the meeting starts before talking to you. It’s very neat watching them all get out and chat with each other as time passes though. To think there’s something this thought-out sitting in such an awkward game.

  9. http://twitter.com/matty_125
    I thought that was a neat touch, too. I’m at that point in the game right now, but I noticed before that part that you’d see “suspect” above certain character’s heads and if you really look around time you’d see them going about around the town.

  10. @Matty: Yeah, a lot of them conform to some very neat behavior. Sure, there’s some obvious glitching now and then, but it’s kinda cool seeing certain characters frequenting various places depending on the time of the day.

    I feel like there was a lot of effort put in to the concept of the design, just…not into the final design of the game itself. 😛 If the whole game could be like the cooler details of the game, it would be phenomenal, and not in the bad way. 😛

  11. A $20 game, nothing more. A good story, rough edges here and there, and there are far worse games at a higher price.

  12. I don’t know about a good story. When they started trying to get twisty with the plot, everything kinda started losing touch with any semblance of logic and reason.

    Yeah, I realize this is a game where you’ve got a guy talking to a mysterious “Zach” that isn’t visible in front of a bunch of people and they don’t mind at all. It’s also a game where you occasionally just start killing backwards-walking limbo zombies who stick their hand in your mouth if they get too close to you.

    Still, I feel like as soon as a certain person is revealed as the killer, it’s as though they took a dartboard of ideas and just started tossing randomly to see what they could do with the plot from there.

    Imagine if in Silent Hill 2, James’s wife turns out to be a talkative zombie, the final boss is the dog (but he’s riding two rockets), James and his wife talk things out, James commits necrophelia, they take a scenic boat ride around Silent Hill, which mysteriously becomes sunny and clear with rainbows and then they spend time fishing with Pyramid Head before he scuttles their ship and walks off brooding, leaving a note that says that he’s not coming back to Silent Hill until they get a better cult and remove all references of anyone named Sunderland or Mason from their records.

    All of that still doesn’t come close to how off-the-wall Deadly Premonition is storywise after that first twist hits.

  13. I’m only a few hours in, but it seems like Zach is the player himself.

    PS: Driving around for two hours picking up cards and then accidentally running into some exploding barrels and dying sucked.

  14. @Chris — The one good thing is that when you accidentally kill yourself during a regular-world scenario, you generally just pop out at the hospital with another random police car to take nearby.

    And of course, you keep everything you got. 😛 One could say that if you’re on the opposite side of town and not really intent on trying to be somewhere at a certain time and just want to cross town quickly, that dying might be the fastest way. 😛

    Got any awesome glitches to share with us yet?

    Without spoiling anything for you, I have a request of sorts. There is a chapter near the end of the game where you goto the hospital and begin just outside while it’s raining. You’ll know when you get there. Please tell me if you see anything that seems more out-of-the-ordinary than usual during that chapter. As in, don’t get in a car immediately. Walk around for a moment and see if something seems strange.

    I just want someone to confirm that what I saw was actually not a glitch in the game.

  15. It’s the best worst game I’ve ever played. By all accounts it should have been a tortuous experience, but it has so many undeniably awesome elements (even at the expense of poor execution) it is just a joy to play and got better and better the further I progressed.

    The only thing I can think of is that the developers resorted to good old fashioned voodoo magic. It definitely put a spell on me.

  16. I believe that the game is quirky on purpose. It all just feels too intentional and consistent. Nothing in particular is out of place, just everything as whole. That’s why it’s great.

    Worth importing for PS3 for $80?
    Or just buying an Xbox 360…

    If you have a 360, I would just buy it for 360. Even if you prefer the PS3 to 360 just because of personal preference, I wouldn’t imagine it would be worth buying it for $60 more. And the graphics in the game basically look like a PS2 or X-Box game, so the thought that the PS3 version could possibly have better graphics seems a bit laughable to me.

  17. Sorry about the double post but I forgot to include this with my previous post.

    The other reason I think that Deadly Premonition is supposed to be quirky on purpose is because I’ve played Spy Fiction which is another game made by the same development team. The game played like Splinter Cell, if you were to make it all quirky and arcade-y with a low budget. The feel is so similar to DP that I had guessed it was the same dev team before I even looked it up.

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