Deadly Premonition, where do I begin? This little doozy I picked up a few weeks ago because of the cult classic vibe it had been receiving on several internet forums as well as from many game critics. The title is a budget bargain bin game from the get go, with a new release price of only $19.99! I figured for that price I, well, anyone honestly, couldn't go wrong. So far, after tackling the prologue and starting on Day 2 of the game, I think it is safe to say I share the feelings of the above.
Deadly Premonition certainly is not going to win any Game of the Year awards. It won't be the prettiest game you play this year, hell, it may be the ugliest! It may in fact be the ugliest game on the 360 to be fair. You won't be singing the title song in your car while on your way to work. You also may develop a nasty habit of asking yourself over and over, "What the fuck?" Regardless of these things, this sucker is downright fun, and funny at the same time!
It reminds me thus far of Resident Evil 4 for the PS2, only I do believe that the PS2 game had better visuals. Hell, if you are going to compare the two, you may as well give the nod to RE4 for every usual critical scoring point that critic's will use when reviewing a game. But that is not why this game stands out to so many. It's not the voice acting either, which is sometimes harder on the ears than that accidental tuning into the classic orchestra station in your car. But, it nails the core gameplay really well. This is where I see the comparisons with RE4 shine.
Though RE4 is sometimes picked apart for its shortcomings in the control department, I think you notice that mainly because of the tightness of the rest of the game. Deadly Premonition on the other hand, keeps all of its eggs close together in the same basket. The controls, almost a direct copy of RE4 down to the standard Resident Evil bullshit of not being able to move once your weapon is drawn, are on par with the rest of the games mechanics. It all fits, like a trip back in time, this title feels like it was made for the PS2 or Xbox or Gamecube!
Like I have said, I only have invested a short amount of time with this hidden gem. I played long enough to discover that it also offers an open world type of gameplay aspect that helps boost its credentials. When I hopped behind the wheel of the cop car outside the hotel that the protagonist is staying at while working this case of small town murder, I realized why this game is so different than others that try so hard.
I could drive to my next objective, and I was even told what times I should arrive there if I wanted to successfully continue the story. Or, I could joyride around and check the small town out. This was not something I had been prepared for. The driving and open world like gameplay caught me like a left hook outta nowhere, and put a huge smile on my face. This is why the game is shining in the eyes of the few that sit down to give it a fair shake.
I haven't read any popular review site's opinions on the game such as IGN or Gamespot or the like, but Destructoid sarcastically (better shaving: Deadly Premonition FTW!) awarded the title a 10/10 saying that it was more enjoyable than Heavy Rain which released at roughly that same time frame! I agree, while Heavy Rain certainly presses game development further into new genres, it's monotonous button mashing quick time event gameplay was tiresome very early for me, and it found a home back at Gamestop once I finished one playthrough. Deadly Premonition most likely will remain in my collection of games forever. At $19.99 brand new, how much could you expect to get in trade anyway? Not that it matters, because Deadly Premonition already has won me over more so than Heavy Rain, and I haven't even started to really get to know this game yet.
Go grab a copy, what have you got to lose? That is, if you can find a copy anywhere! Already gamers are reporting trouble finding it at retailers across America. This isn't saying it is selling like hotcakes and Modern Warfare 2 may have to look out when it comes to units moved records. With the low cost at launch, it seems there just aren't that many of them floating around out there. It's a good thing that it is falling mainly into the hands of those that appreciate a good time though, which in itself is an accomplishment. It also means there likely won't be too many used pieces available in the near future!