Have You Played… Deadly Premonition?

Oooooh!

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Are you willing to gamble £1.99 on a game you might very well loathe? If so, head on over to Steam and buy Deadly Premonition in the sale. It is wonky, it is ugly, it is weird, it is slow, its port is awful, and it is charming, it is exciting, it is weird, it is funny, and it is one of my favourite games.

I’ve heard folks say Deadly Premonition is “like if David Lynch made a video game”, which is of course nonsense. It’s an open-world survival horror about, and this may sound familiar, an oddball FBI agent come to a small Pacific Northwest town filled with kooky characters to investigate the spooky murder of a young woman. But Deadly Premonition only warms up once it goes off to do its own thing. With awkward animation, an often-inappropriate soap opera soundtrack, a few fine characters, and bags of ideas, it finds its own identity.

Since these posts are meant to be short, here’s a quick list of some things I have done:

  • Been fined a ‘Stinky Agent’ penalty by the FBI for not changing my suit often enough;
  • Chatted with my imaginary friend about Kevin Bacon;
  • Received a bonus from the FBI for shaving;
  • Got a part-time job in a supermarket doing Sokoban puzzles in the storeroom;
  • Heard spooky ghost stories from an old rocker in that shop;
  • Stolen that rocker’s guitar;
  • Clobbered wall-crawling monsters with that guitar;
  • Eaten the Sinner’s Sandwich, a horror with turkey, jam, and breakfast cereal;
  • Feasted on a gravedigger’s green tomatoes;
  • Chatted with my imaginary friend about punk rock (we never did like the Sex Pistols);
  • Stolen cigarettes from a dog’s kennel;
  • Chatted with my imaginary friend about John Williams movie soundtracks;
  • Felt clever spotting a pattern in the murders then crushed realising who was next;
  • Read my fortune in cups of coffee;
  • Felt surprised and delighted and not at all tricked by a big plot twist (disappointingly rare, y’all).

A bewildering amount of things are crammed into Deadly Premonition, good and bad, in a weird but endearing display of ambition. I must say its combat is awful and best rushed through as soon as you find a decent weapon (say, that guitar), and good grief its driving is dire! But it’s all so earnest and warm and funny. Past the awful opening, I was just happy being in Greenvale, which makes its all the more dreadful as things fall apart over the investigation.

The PC port’s a horror, mind: use Durante’s DPfix and cross your fingers. But for £1.99? Do it.

20 Comments

  1. MykulJaxin says:

    Oh, the driving. There’s one particular mission where you’re tailing a character through the rain and it felt like it lasted for nearly 20 minutes. We failed it a couple times, too. It was exhausting. That being said, I love this game.

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      Lexx87 says:

      Hah yes!

      It lasts for so fucking long you end up tuning out and failing it. Adored this game though enough to do all the sidequests and find all the cards…even though it drove me fucking insane half the time. SO MANY crashes, so many googles to try and fix it.

      Hot tip! Run in Windows 98 compatability mode….

    • Soldancer says:

      The first time I played this back on the console, I thought I was doing that scene wrong until it actually ended. The SECOND time I played this game (on PC, like you do) It actually crashed at the end of that sequence. There’s a cutscene, and then back to the “action!” Except…for me just a blank screen. So I had to do it again and hope that it wouldn’t crash during the cutscene. Again.

  2. Eight Rooks says:

    I have. I paid import prices to get the Korean PS3 edition way back before it was a thing, which I point out not for hipster cred (well, maybe a bit) but to explain I had yet another layer of obfuscation over actually playing the thing (voices and menus were in English, all other text in Japanese). Deadly Premonition is simultaneously godawful and one of the greatest games ever made. Not “so bad it’s good”; it is both terrible and legitimately completely amazing. The ending is an absolute masterpiece. A friend of mine demanded I spoil it because come on, he was never going to play the damn thing, and when I explained it he was first dumbstruck then went into a sulk because how dare I take away the chance for him to experience something that brilliant with no realisation of what was going to happen?

  3. Inverselaw says:

    to which i respond link to youtube.com

  4. Dale Winton says:

    I got it for a tenner couple of sales ago. Hated it. Just awful graphics and no controller support. A friend convinced me to try again so did just that with the resolution fix. Loved it and played to completion

  5. twaitsfan says:

    Zack, remember that time we set the happy tune to our phone ringtone and that cute girl spotted it in the train station? No, right, I was just imagining that. But it was a nice ringtone nonetheless. Merry Christmas, Zack!

    • statistx says:

      Are you even allowed to NOT set it as a ringtone if you played and liked the game?
      I mean if you don’t do it, then it won’t leave your head EVER

  6. CobraLad says:

    I just started playing yesterday. Eat this, RPS.

  7. Monggerel says:

    I tried to drive in Deadly P once.

    I do not dream anymore.

  8. piedpiper says:

    Words “so bad that it’s good” are wrong about this game. It’s just got some genius things which are attached to a horrible game. And somehow they make this shit a masterpiece. It’s great despite it’s flaws not because of them. Ending is not really mindblowing it’s just very emotional and warm – you will feel additction to Greenvale and it’s inhabbitants. Just like in that TV-series with that cofee-loving agent.

    • twaitsfan says:

      piedpiper, very well said. That might be the best description of DP that I’ve come across. To the dev’s credit, he didn’t even want to have any of the shooting of the baddies in there but the pubs told him that without it the game wouldn’t fly :/

  9. guygodbois00 says:

    Deadly promotion? Why, yes I have, thank you for asking.

  10. Fireprufe15 says:

    Hmmm, I just picked this up and it looks nice. It’s just all so weird. And I think the QTEs go way too fast. Will try to play past the opening part at some point. That opening part though. Nothing makes sense :P

  11. Bobtree says:

    Yes, to completion, but I wish I had watched a Lets Play of it instead.

  12. Haborym says:

    I had a really strange graphical glitch so hopefully this fixes that.

  13. statistx says:

    The only thing that keeps me from replaying this game again, is the horrid combat sequences that apparantly even Swery didn’t want to make, but got forced to put into the game by his Company and you definitely feel that they are tacked on, since they make the least sense, which says a lot in a weird ass game.

  14. kompani piknik says:

    I will never play this game, but I will watch a particular Let’s Play of it for as long as it exists on YouTube. (won’t name it because I don’t want to be a shill) I’ve seen the game from top to bottom and it seems more like the kind of thing I’d like to watch rather than be a part of.

  15. Soldancer says:

    I’ve put forth the argument among friends that this is one of the best RPGs ever made. People are like “What?! It doesn’t have stats, or crafting, or gunswords! How can it be an RPG?”

    And I’m like, “What does RPG stand for?”

    “Role-playing game.”

    “Exactly”

    When I play Deadly Premonition I actually feel like I’m playing the role of York/Zack. I find myself doing odd things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do in a game, like signal while I’m driving, putting on the wipers during rain because I’m playing in first-person mode while in a car. I stop and take smoke breaks often for no gameplay reason, and grab lunch in the diner just to say hi. It’s weird how much the game really makes the player inhabit the main character. And I always maintain a neat shave and a fresh new suit.

    Anyway, best RPG EVAR.