I’m going to skip the structure I usually use in a game review and start with a caveat. If you’re reading this and haven’t played Deadly Premonition before, chances are you’re not going to get close to its sequel even with a stick.
It is a game that technically borders on the unplayable. It has dramatic drops in frame-rate.
Sometimes, it can make you dizzy. It has empty exteriors with pop-in and textures worthy of a PlayStation 2. To be honest, it has terrible control, mismatches in the levels of audio, bugs in critical combat, and so on.
If you’ve played Deadly Premonition and wanted to know it further, this is all exactly what you expected.
- Developer: Toybox, Inc.
- Publisher: Rising Star Games
- Platforms: Switch
- Availability: 07/10/2020
About The Deadly Premonition Game
Hidetaka’s recently completed decade-old work “Swery” Suehiro undercuts everything the mainstream video game aims to achieve: it’s rough, ugly, awkward, and flamboyant. It seems unthinkable that it would find a place, even if it were a good niche in the current market.
It is hard for me to explain what I see in this game because I am aware that, under the criteria that we usually apply for a game review, it is a complete disaster. Still, it is also a game that I love and that I have not gotten out of my mind all this time.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is both a sequel and a prequel to the original. The plot begins in 2019, with two FBI agents visiting an emaciated Morgan agent and voluntarily exiled from society after the Greenvale events.
The discovery of a body inside a huge block of ice has reactivated a closed case that Morgan himself solved. Agents come to his home to tell what happened in 2005 in the small town of Le Carré, located in Louisiana.
At that time, Francis York Morgan came to town by accident during his vacations. He ran into the face of the murder of a teenager who was part of the family clan that dominated the area.
From the first minute in Le Carré, we are assaulted by a myriad of strange characters. The hotel in which we stay is run by the multiple personalities of one of his neighbors.
The town sheriff turns every situation into the motto of a movie trailer. An old woman has spent a decade without letting anyone else play bowling in the restaurant. There is practically no ordinary person in Le Carré, starting with Agent York himself because it is a game that tries to blow up the concept of normality whenever possible.
The honorable exception is the most rational person we meet: Patricia Woods, daughter of the sheriff, and our companion for much of the adventure. The contrast between York and Patricia generates a fun dynamic that does not decay throughout the investigation.
The town itself is, Le Carré is a town located next to the Mississipi with hardly any unevenness. It has something similar to the main street in which a hotel, a restaurant, and a voodoo shop accumulate before wholly spread out in an urban sprawl full of single-family houses with their own plot.
The rest of the essential locations are located on the outskirts of town. The excuse for the game will take us from one place to another as messengers. Although, we ended up unlocking a quick travel system that makes tasks easier.
Perhaps, someone sighs with satisfaction, knowing that we do not have to fight with the controls of the vehicles again. Agent York has had his car stolen, and a skateboard has been left in his place with which travel.
The main advantage over walking (and fast travel that unlocks after a few hours) is the same. When we speed through the streets of Le Carré, we will start listening to York’s entertaining rants on film.
Or at least we’ll try because the audio level of the skateboard wheels is too high compared to the agent’s voice. I can’t repeat it enough: the frame rate is dramatic outdoors, to the point where I have had to stop the game to not get dizzy.
One of the aspects that I like the most about Deadly Premonition, and that luckily returns here, is the importance of the clock. The missions are tied to a strict schedule.
All NPCs change location according to the time of day, and we even have objectives that can only be met on certain days of the week. Swery’s game asks us to adjust to the times of its inhabitants and not the other way around, to understand that we are outsiders breaking into the established lives of their neighbors.
So, no matter how much plaque we show, we are not going to change them. On the contrary, we have to establish our own routine. It can be either by cleaning ourselves or eating and sleeping properly on a daily basis.
The Filler Inside the Game
Sometimes we will have not only hours but even whole days in which there is no other option than to wander around the city. We can chase characters in search of optional tasks like killing wildlife, throwing rocks in the river, or finding hidden objects with the help of old photos.
“Non-productive” time is a fundamental part of Deadly Premonition, one without which the puzzle pieces do not fit together. Running to solve the central mystery will make us lose sight of a whole series of secondary missions that give more layers to the cast of Le Carré characters and allow us to know their stories.
Compared to the topics it deals with, the violence of the game itself is comical. The shootings in sections of gangways seem to be taken out of a PS2 horror game. It is where the greatest enemy comes out of a mardi gras and disappears with hilarious sound effects.
A Blessing in Disguise is less powerful than the first installment, being less shocking and somewhat continuous. Although, it is still a unique experience and difficult to find elsewhere.
No one would say that ten years have passed between one title and another, neither on a technical level, nor on gameplay, not even for their plot. It’s like living in your own time, an era when the 128-bit generation never ended, and we keep finding a string of experimental Japanese games hidden on the shelves waiting for someone to discover them.