DEADLY PREMONITION – Day 2
Some games are so infamous that making a proper review is tricky. You can start loving or hating it and end in a completely different mood altogether. How to properly convey this? Just mentioning the change in a review is an answer so simplistic it is almost insincere. Luckily, for these cases there is always the emo thing to do: write a diary .
I’m currently in Episode 2.
The plot of Deadly Premonition finally gave me more freedom, so I’m exploring the town. Exploring is frustrating because your car is very slow (there is no fast-traveling and the town is fucking huge. Hyrule is a playground compared to it) and navigating with the map is like searching for hair growing on egg: ridiculously hard. The map always changes perspectives depending on which direction you are looking at (so, every time you open it, it will be shown at a different angle), there is no option to pinpoint a place and trace a route between you and it and, and that’s the worst, the zoom out option is incredibly limited, while the zoom in option is borderline useless because if I ever use it, I will see only the arrow that indicates where I am in huge detail.
The car problem was solved as soon as I found side-quests that boost its performance. So the motivation for completing side quests is apparently making the game’s problems suck less.
Anyways, with more freedom from the plot – which is thickening – this is starting to look like a lite version of Majora’s Mask (which is always good!) sans Bomber’s Notebook or silly dungeons. Basically, you have about 20 suspects doing their daily routines and by interacting with the at the right time you trigger different responses. They might give you a side-quest or they might throw more light on the mystery of the Raincoat Killer. Time pass almost in real-time (so there is no pressure like in Majora) and you only significantly advance it by sleeping or smoking (considering this time-traveling aspect, you are probably smoking pot).
I’m more and more in love with the now bearded Agent Francis York Morgan, FBI, but I call him York. It’s what everybody calls him. He’s a total nutty. When driving he talks to Zach (me?) about random stuff. Mostly 80’s movies. He once complained that he absolutely loved John Williams, but he couldn’t remember the Superman theme song because every time he started whistling it, it ended up becoming the Star Wars theme. I was pretty amazed, because the same fucking thing happened a lot to me (but for me the end result was always the Indiana Jones song). Needless to say this is a great motivator to explore the town by car – despite all shortcomings mentioned above.
By the way, today York received a tree sapling. I immediately thought “A-HA! That’s my Shenmucat!” No dice, though. After that cutscene I haven’t seen the tree sapling again – which, in retrospect, is a bit of a relief.
I really like all the side characters too. Sure animation is wonky and funny, but these guys nailed how to make people (but not all of them) that look like ACTUAL people (when they are not moving, of course). This is something NO game done with the Unreal Engine managed to do – they all look like plastic figures to me. Case in point is Emily Wyatt, who looks like Naomi Watts and has a personality I care about way more than I ever did with Aeris. In fact, when someone mentioned she might be a potential victim too, I felt anguish subtly poking my heart. I can count with one hand the other times that happened to me while play a game.
More and more I’m convincing myself this is a truly great game. If it were launched during the previous generation, it certainly would be hailed as one. If it were launched for the PSP, a system whose wonky console design would mask the game’s wonky controls, Deadly Premonition would be on of its top ranked games . Technically, the game is a mess – but still, there is something in there…