Deadly Premonition (Video Game)

Deadly Premonition game reviewReviewed by Mr. Dark

Available for the Xbox 360

Published by Ignition Entertainment

I’d like to say, up front, that I am man enough to recognize and admit my mistakes. That, dear reader, was a terrible, terrible mistake.

Deadly Premonition is a Japanese title that desperately wants to be a video game version of “Twin Peaks”. Much of it is a direct rip-off of that beloved TV classic. However, this is a “Twin Peaks” created by profoundly mentally disturbed people stoned out of their gourds on absinthe. It’s a bizarro world “Twin Peaks” where you have stupidity instead of cleverness. It’s a glaringly ugly, painful world, and I spent around 20 hours of my life in it.

I’m going to try to explain the story. I’m going to fail miserably, but I’ll give it a shot.

You play FBI agent Francis York Morgan. Okay, that’s wrong. You play his imaginary friend, Zach. God, how I wish I was making that up. You’re off to Greenvale in the Pacific Northwest to investigate the murder of a girl that matches the MO of other cases you’ve investigated. They all feature mysterious red seeds and inverted peace symbols. Upon arriving, you discover a town full of extremely stupid people, have extremely pointless interactions with them, and engage in behavior that makes no sense whatsoever.

THEN, things get weird.

The game most closely resembles Resident Evil 1 on the original Playstation. Yes, graphically. I can only imagine how long these devs had to work to make graphics on the Xbox this ugly without coming to each gamer’s house and taking pliers to the motherboard. It’s hideous. Simple fields of grass shift and roil like one of Hunter Thompson’s acid hallucinations. It’s awful.

Deadly Premonition game review

The mechanics are almost identical to Resident Evil 4, if it came out for the PS1 and sucked. Between nonsensical adventure-like cutscene segments, you wind up in combat sections where you’re in a building, purple bleeding zombie ghosts show up, and you shoot them. There are TWO enemy types in the entire game. A standard zombie/ghost who may or may not be armed and a Samara-like wall-crawler that shows up maybe five times the entire game. None of them are a threat, ever. And when they die, despite having different skins, they ALL say the SAME DAMN THING – ‘I don’t want to dieeeeeeee……..‘ – in this pitch-shifted, wheezy voice. I must have heard that 900 frigging times before this thing ended. I still hear it, when things are quiet, when I’m about to sleep. It haunts me.

Combat is tedious and comical at the same time. Tedious because it’s the same routine over and over. Comical because the target locking mechanism focuses your reticule squarely on the crotch of your target. You spend the entire game shooting zombie ghost things in the ass.

Tedious is probably the best word for this game. Everything seems to have been designed to be as monotonous and repetitive as possible. I said it was about 20 hours long. Ten of that is driving. You don’t just drive in this game, you COMMUTE. I don’t know what else you would call driving for five to ten minutes straight, watching the same five textures repeated over and over, listening to a very short, crappy musical bit that loops endlessly that you can’t turn off. You drive a LOT. And you have to get gas. Because, you know, I always find getting gas to be an entertaining part of my day.

Deadly Premonition game review

You also walk a lot. There are sections where you walk or run in a relatively straight line for a very, very long time. One in particular stands out, where you’re in some dream sequence or something and you’re a small child. You’re trying to find your dad on this path…and it takes around five minutes to completely run this path. Think five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time? Spend it pressing left stick forward while holding down X and listening to a little kid shouting DADDY! DADDY! every five fricking seconds. You will be praying for death before five minutes are up. Did I mention this doesn’t just happen once? Near the finale you spend quite a while running behind a fat man and his dog trying to save the hero. You run all over the damn town, in circles, with pauses every few minutes for the fat guy to stop and tell you about his love life or how much he misses his dead mother. By the time we stopped running, I wanted to shove the potted sapling he always carries (don’t ask) straight up his bulbous ass, pot end first. God I hate that overall-wearing butterball.

The main story is essentially a buttload of cut scenes with those combat segments I mentioned. Thrown in are the worst kind of quick-time events where random button sequences are thrown at you. Some of the cutscenes are so bad they’re hilarious (and many are on YouTube for that reason Creepy posted one last week), but don’t let that tempt you into playing. There are also a bunch of side quests and things to collect. None of them makes any sense, has any place in the story, or is worth any time spent whatsoever except the ones that allow you to make your car go faster so you are spared maybe 10% of the overall drive time during your commutes.

Deadly Premonition game review

Some of you may be tempted. I can hear you now. This is a quirky weird Japanese game, and I like those! It’s only $20! It’s so bad it’s good!

Let me be clear. This is not good quirky; this is ancient Lovecraftian evil quirky, so powerful is its hatred of mankind and all living things. It’s not ‘only’ $20; it’s $20 of PAIN. It’s not so bad it’s good. It passes that and swings all the way around to ‘It’s so bad it will drive you to abuse liquor and/or have suicidal thoughts.’ Deadly Premonition has a special kind of insanity that does bad things to the human mind. It drove my wife to drink while I was playing it, just to handle the suffering. She really doesn’t drink much, if ever. This is the level of pain involved with this game. I have barely scratched the surface here. This review could easily become a 50-page manifesto of angst, recounting every moment of stupidity and tedium.

What’s terrifying is that this is not a buggy game. It isn’t broken. THEY MEANT IT TO BE THIS WAY. Someone, somewhere spent a lot of time carefully crafting this abomination. Intentionally. We should all be very, very afraid.

Seriously. Let me be Marley to your Scrooge. Don’t make my mistake. You still have a chance. You haven’t played this yet. Save yourself, or suffer for your errors as I have. To paraphrase a particular wine critic, this is not a game for playing; this is a game for laying down and avoiding.

Is this the worst game ever? I … I don’t know. I can’t really think about it that clearly. It hurts too much, and I get all dizzy.

Game Features

  • Single player
  • Achievement support


    0 out of 5

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    Mr. Dark

    A man of mystery. An enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a low-carb whole grain tortilla. A guy who writes about spooky stuff.

    • Cash Bailey

      Yipes! This game is like if they threw TWIN PEAKS and SILENT HILL into a blender of suck.

    • Floydian Trip

      I’ve played for a few hours and the game is bad, there’s no denying it. I’m a serious graphics whore and this game is offensive to graphics today. But there is something fun about playing a game this ridiculous. It is absolutely absurd. What were they thinking? I’d want to interview these guys stat. I don’t know if there is a point to the game or if there is such a thing as trying to understand where they were coming from in a serious manner. Two things though, I’m enjoying it more than GTA and I’ve played alot of $20 budget titles and haven’t been able to get much out of most of them. Civil War was enjoyably stupid in that you could only fire one round at a time but it was only about 3 hours long.

    • frank_dracman

      Zero Knives? Well, it’s not for everyone, that’s for sure. Of the numerous people I’ve talked to, it’s been a love or hate thing. I’d say you either “get it” or don’t, but I think the majority of people will get it and hate it. There are some of us that liked the crazy thing and honestly had a fun time playing. It’s a niche title for a very select few people (preferably with some sort of mental disorder).

      Comparing the graphics to a PS1 title is the very definition of hyperbole, but I still love ya, man.

      • Mr. Dark

        I agree, it’s not for everyone. It’s not for sane people, people who are not suicidal, and people who are not masochists.

        • plagiarize

          I completely agree with you, and I love it.

    • Floydian Trip

      I expected more from this review Mr. Dark. You’re just stating the obvious which isn’t very much fun. IGN already covered all of that. I started it yesterday and can say that I have never played a game quite like it.

      • Mr. Dark

        Yeah, because, as a journalist, I read every other review of a game before writing mine. ::shakes head::

        • Floydian Trip

          I hope your not shaking your head too aggressively because I’m only poking fun. I personally don’t see the point in taking this game seriously. If it had come from a big developer and was being touted as the next big thing in survival-horror/open world gaming it’d be different. But up until my buddies started calling me about it a few days ago I had never even heard of it or the developer.

          • The Woman In Black

            Hadn’t heard of it? Not sure how you missed our coverage, FT. We did a ton of stories leading up to the game’s release: http://www.dreadcentral.com/deadly-premonition

            • Floydian Trip

              I miss alot of stuff here. I visit gaming sites too and had never heard of it but budget games usually just appear. Come to think of it the only budget games to have real quality to them and could be considered with the big boys were the Colin McRea Rally games but as soon as people discovered how awesome they were they went and jacked the price up to $60 and diluted the franchise for mainstream consumption.