When I volunteered to do our review for Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut, I had no idea what I was getting into – literally. I missed the original game, and thus had gone along my gaming way entirely oblivious of the existence of this game which is now rapidly climbing my favorite games list. I didn’t do any research, nor did I look up a walkthrough so I could breeze through it. I did spend my first day or so cursing at the 12 GB download that clogged my poor underwhelming DSL to a crawl. But then, at 2:30 in the morning, the download completed and I charged in with the eagerness of a kid the day after Christmas, when it’s acceptable to disappear into a video game for a few days… This was my first mistake.
Deadly Premonition is, for all intents and purposes, a psychological horror game with a few survival aspects. That means, almost everything about it is meant to get under your skin and put you off-center. The opening sequence has a very Princess-Bride feel with an old man telling a story to his granddaughter. The cut sequence then blends rural pastoral themes with the bizarre and grotesque. One of the first things I noticed about the gameplay was the use of non-standard camera angles, which is a technique I’m very familiar with as a long-term consumer of horror movies – and it’s a damn good one. When the first monsters began to attack – shades, to be precise – I realized the error of my late-night initiation. It does horror well.
The controls were a little bit to get used to, I admit, but I’m out of my element in these games as the last time I really spent time in the genre was Clock Tower II. But with a little running around and looking like an idiot – which nobody was around to witness, thankfully – I was able to stumble my way into getting myself creeped the hell out. The HD graphics upgrade is nice, as it seems like a shinier, more maddening version of those horror games I used to play on my Playstation when I wasn’t alone. The characters aren’t approaching the Uncanny Valley, but they aren’t dripping with pixels either. For the veterans of the game, Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut comes with new scenario content from the game’s director.
My research led me to the realization that Deadly Premonition is touted as the most divisive game of all time. The widest range of reviews, from terrible to near-perfect, came into play for this game. A lot of people didn’t like the strangeness of the characters (it’s sometimes like Monty Python meeting Stephen King for a dinner party), and I was definitely caught on the fact that the Special Agent you play seems to talk to his imaginary friend all the time. Others complain that the music isn’t appropriate during pivotal scenes of emotional distress. What I can tell you is this, if it bothers you, if it puts you on edge… Then a psychological horror game is doing its job. And Deadly Premonition does its job.
Want to try it out for yourself? Click here for a chance to win a copy of Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut for the PS3. If you don’t have a PS3, it’s coming to Steam October 31st after it was greenlit in less than 6 days.