Microsoft’s XBOX Live now offers a huge catalogue of full retail XBOX 360 games. While some can be a tad OTT with their asking price, if you search hard enough you’ll find some 360 classic gems. One of which, is Deadly Premonition. Created on a much lower budget than most games similar to it and launched with an even lower marketing money pot, (especially in the UK and US) Deadly Premonition is a game that many 360 owners may never have heard of. So why should you play it? Well, put the kettle on and we’ll tell you…
Deadly Premonition was released back in 2010 and took its place amongst the survival horror releases. You play as FBI agent Francis York Morgan, a unique individual who has been sent to investigate a bizarre murder case in the mysterious town of Greenvale. You pass time speaking to your imaginary friend (Zack), have balls of steal in terrifying situations and can’t quite get the hang of talking to the opposite sex (yup…our poor Agent York has been burnt in the past). In a nut shell…you’ve got issues, but your one outstanding and reliable agent.
As the game opens, you can sense the love and attention to Deadly Premoniton’s story telling. It’s dark, murky and as you drive down spiraling roads of never-ending trees, the rain belts down around you. A tiny lapse in concentration, a misjudgement and your car is at the mercy of the water-drenched roads as you spin helplessly off into damp, dark woodland. Where the hell are you!?
Deadly Premonition’s gameplay is a cocktail of survival horror mixed with the sands of freedom. Take some Silent Hill, a little Resident Evil, a pinch of Alan Wake and drop in a few cubes of sand-box mechanics. Deadly Premonition uses a very simple third-person style and from the moment you dust yourself off from your car accident, you’ll immediately notice the control system could be better. Fire is A, aiming can be a bit slow (but this does add to the tension) and you’ll need to rely on the lock-on and flick-up skills you mastered, while playing GTA 4. It’s not the best action mechanic in the world…but hang in there! Take out a few walking corpses and make it to the end of the prologue, (30-35mins) so Deadly Premonition can really show you what it’s made of.
Once you’re out of the woods you’ll begin to meet the other characters of Deadly Premonition. The game may be based on an old engine but characters are still detailed and convincing to easily pull you into their world. The characters of Deadly Premonition are one of the games stronger points and as you awaken in your hotel room, you’ll admire the effort to make you feel like a newcomer to a living town. Meet and greet the owner, have some breakfast and enjoy your first cup of fortune-telling coffee. It’s time to grab the police car master keys and start your investigation (giving access to any police vehicle in town but you can still buy and upgrade others!).
It’s at this exact point where Deadly Premonition takes you by surprise. The entire town is your FBI playground and you’re free to question most of its population whenever you feel like it! Can’t see them around town? Get Metal-Gear on their asses and peek through their window to see what they’re up to (or even the window of their work or social place). Oh, but you can’t just drive around all day without a care. You’ll still need to re-fuel at your local gas station (where you can continue your questioning) and even have your car washed. In fact, you’ll even need to take care of yourself with a small wardrobe of suits (flies will begin to circle you if you don’t change regularly), mirrors to have a shave (it’s cool having the choice to strut with some stubble!) and food to keep that FBI brain of yours, alert.
During your investigation, you’ll steadily progress with the games other cast. It’s here where everything glues so well in Deadly Premonition. You’ll have conversations with multiple characters in your car as you drive to destinations, (being able to turn your head and see them engage with you) hang-out with colleges in a local bar as you catch-up on current events and even call a town meeting to get to know all the towns people (as well as sneak in some FBI questioning). It’s all about character of the game and Deadly Premonition opens-up and swallows your mind-whole.
To top-off Deadly Premonition’s must-see-through qualities, gameplay is tweaked and changed throughout. First you’ll be blasting enemies. Then, you’ll be strutting around questioning people. Then, you’ll be burning around town, earning prizes at the local firing range, fishing for valuable items, (and of curse…fish) carrying-out investigation puzzles, quick-time-eventing your ass away from an unstoppable threat, playing solid-snake in lockers to evade your predator and more. Yes, Deadly Premonition has a lot to offer. It’s still kinda hard to get your head around this title being a budget release??? Greenvale’s adventure may not have ‘the green’ but it certainly has heart.
We could go into detail about what those threats are…but we won’t. You’ll just have to play it yourself. One thing is for sure, though…you will have never played a game like Deadly Premonition. You’ll be sceptical about it, force yourself to see the prologue through, and then fall madly in-love with it. Never wanting the curtain to close on the town or its characters. Yes, Deadly Premonition has some major gripes in some of its gameplay mechanics but they way it’s all gelled together from sandbox to amazing characters and from gripping crime scenes to useful case update break-downs, help make Deadly Premonition an absolute classic (even offering over 40hrs of gameplay!).
Do yourself a huge favour as a gamer…head to XBL and buy this game. It’s a game to lose yourself in and a true experience to pass-on.