By Graham Osborne.
Deadly Premonition is my game of this generation, hands down. There are so many other games which probably deserve this title (Last of Us, Skyrim, GTA V - depending on how it turns out!) but for me, they pale in comparison to this bit of uniqueness. The only question that can decide whether or not you would enjoy this game is: what do you think of Twin Peaks?
If your answer to that question is even the slightest bit of an affirmative, then you need to play this game. But I’ll discuss the similarities more in a bit...
The story follows FBI agent Francis York Morgan (though everyone calls him York) and his imaginary friend Zach who is you. Confused? Well that’s just scratching the surface of this surreal cult horror game. You control York, but are cast as Zach, acting as the Watson to his Holmes. The game has you coming to the scenic town of Greenvale to investigate a gruesome murder, and the possible resurgence of the "Raincoat Killer"; a serial killer who has all but passed into legend. The [one-sided] conversations between York and Zach allow for a glorious muddling of the fourth wall, leaving you uncertain whether or not it’s been broken.
Investigating the murder in town allows you to meet the fascinatingly eccentric community of locals, from the film obsessed deputy sheriff to the Pot Lady (no, she doesn’t sell marijuana, she’s just a crazy woman with a cooking pot). All these as well as the grief stricken mother, puzzle obsessed doctor and a care worker who speaks only in rhyme. They each have their own unique personality, and their own little side quests which grant little bonuses to the gameplay, and can even help solve ghost stories that have plagued the area.
The voice acting in the game is rather dire, as is the script, but that is the point of the whole thing. You honestly can’t hate a game that has the main character talking about his previous cases over dinner, and not quite realising how disgusting it all is, nor can you hate the constant upbeat music that plays during cutscenes, especially after you’ve just investigated a brutal murder. There’s just something that makes you want to smile about the whole thing, especially when you combine it with graphics and animations that look like the game is from a previous console generation.
The gameplay itself is a fairly standard third person shooter, with a forensic treasure hunt and profiling game added into it. It’s not exactly groundbreaking, but I guarantee that you’ll be shouting “I LOVE THIS GAME!” by the time you beat the first boss.
I alluded to the fact that the game is similar to the TV series Twin Peaks, and its how much you like the series that will decide whether or not you’ll like this game. The comparisons are many; York and Dale Cooper as the eccentric FBI Agents sent to investigate a murder, both of whom are absolutely obsessed with coffee, the Log and Pot Ladies, both crazy people who seem to think that an inanimate object is talking to them, and Thomas and Andy, the Sheriff’s deputy who keeps falling to pieces over the victims’ deaths. Combine this with the setting and you wonder why no one called the lawyers.
But I’m glad they didn’t.
I admit this game won’t be for everyone, but it is absolutely worth a try. Please play it, if only so I can get a sequel to one of the best games I've ever played.