I’ve been curious about Deadly Premonition for quite a while, and when it came to the Switch under the title Deadly Premonition Origins in preparation for its sequel, players said that was one of the best versions available.
So I picked up Deadly Premonition Origins, and last night I finally completed my playthrough.
Going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d seen some parts of the beginning, and I knew it had sort of a “so bad it’s good” reputation online.
It ended up being so much better than I expected.
“So bad it’s good” is not a fair description of Deadly Premonition, because it isn’t a bad game at all. Sure it crashed a handful of times and had a few glitches, but it’s actually a really good game… and a weird one.
Because you have to know what you’re getting, and Deadly Premonition isn’t quite like anything else.
You play as Francis York Morgan, an FBI agent sent to the small town of Greenvale to investigate a recent murder. The best way I’ve found to describe it is “Silent Hill meets Shenmue.”
On one hand, you’re investigating a twisted murder mystery with hints of the supernatural and an “Otherworld” you’re swept into – a dark, alternate version of the world filled with disturbing monsters you have to fight and an implacable foe who pursues you.
On the other hand, you spend the rest of your time (which actually ends up being the larger portion of gameplay if you take your time and do a lot of side content) investigating around town in fairly relaxed, laid-back sections, where all the NPCs have their own schedules they follow and different areas are open depending on the time of day.
Add in a good dose of wacky humor, and you’ve got Deadly Premonition.
If I were judging it as a survival horror game, I’d be harsher toward it (and maybe that’s where some of its reputation as “bad” comes from), because the horror segments are fairly linear and mainly focused on shooting enemies, with an occasional QTE chase scene. But that’s not the game it’s trying to be.
I enjoyed those sections and the ominous, creepy vibe of the murder case itself, but I also really loved the parts in town. At first, I was worried, because it gives you a window of time to complete your next plot objective in. But that’s not a deadline. Deadly Premonition doesn’t have deadlines. Certain areas are only open for specific hours, so it’s your window of time for that day. If you miss it, you can just do it the next day… and some of the funniest scenes in the game are found by taking your time.
I spent a lot of in-game days just traveling around, doing side quests and talking to people, and even watching them go to different places as part of their daily routine.
(I loved checking the Community Center on the map during the chapter when York is going to address all the townspeople there. Some characters arrived a couple hours early, while others didn’t show up until the last minute. Watching the NPCs actually go there instead of just having them all appear for the plot event itself was cool.)
Meanwhile, I found the story to be really interesting and I loved the cast of characters. Those two details combined meant some story beats hit pretty hard. Near the end, the story got wildly weird, but… I loved it. It was my sort of thing.
When I finished the game, I didn’t want to leave. I completed every last side quest and went around town to say goodbye to everyone, and even though I had a few lingering questions about the story, it left me feeling really satisfied overall.
So if you like murder mysteries and think a game where horror combat sections are interspersed among Shenmue-like investigations sounds like an interesting idea, you really should give Deadly Premonition a try. It’s not “so bad it’s good,” it’s just… good.---
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