Obscure Gaming – Deadly Premonition

Box art for the North American Release.

It has been awhile since writing a post for this category, so I thought I dive back into the world of obscure video games. Although the original release for this series was given varying critical reviews and wasn’t commercially successful, the title has gained a dedicated fan base and is considered to be an example of video games as an art. Without further adieu, let’s set the clock back 10 years for the release of open-world, survival-horror game.

The game world has lots of detail and implements a good use of weather and a day-night cycle to help build the atmosphere.

Deadly Premonition released in 2010 for the Xbox 360 in Japan, North America, and Europe, but it released for the PlayStation 3 only in Japan. A director’s cut released for the PlayStation 3 and Windows in 2013 and a Nintendo Switch port titled Deadly Premonition: Origins released in 2019. The plot of the story follows Francis York Morgan, an FBI Special Agent, as he investigates the murder of a young woman in fictional Greenvale, Washington. The gameplay revolves around the interactions of the residents of Greenvale and how it all pertains to Morgan’s investigation, however, players will soon encounter supernatural entities, where you can either implement a fight-or-flight approach. Realism was a key component of making this game’s atmosphere and tone stand out. In order to enact this idea, the town was built to a staggering scale and NPCs follow their own set schedules. Players can get paid for their work in solving levels or other puzzles, but they can be fined too, if they are not working to solve the case. Food and sleep are necessary components to keeping Morgan functioning normally, much like any other real person would need to complete their daily tasks. The investigation requires the player to conduct interviews, search for clues, and complete other tasks within a specific time frame. The game world is quite impressive in scope and scale, featuring weather and day-night cycles, various side-quests and mini-games, and collectible trading cards can be found throughout the player’s exploration.

The game’s HUD features lots of information about the player’s current status of hunger, sleep, and weapons, while keeping the player with an over-the-shoulder third-person view.

As I mentioned earlier this game received less than optimal reviews from some critics and outlets, but it didn’t see any commercial success either following release. The game was cited as having difficulties with the PhysX engine, shadow and other lighting issues, and trouble with proper memory allocation. However, that didn’t mean that the game didn’t capture the attention of players, who saw the game beyond it’s flaws and enjoyed the story, visuals, and the realism the game had to offer. Guinness World Records even gave the game a record for “most critically polarizing survival horror game”. The game itself is rather interesting and players can appreciate the dedication put into developing the setting, game mechanics, and story following Morgan’s search for the Raincoat Killer. It feels like a justice was done by having a director’s cut release and a port release to a newer generation console, which shows that people still care about this game. Sometimes the best games are hidden away and only get discovered years after release as being fantastic displays of art, such as Okami and Shadow of the Colossus.

Character design in this game is done well, and it gives the player that sense of realism with each NPC and even the creepiness of the Raincoat Killer is captured nicely in this screenshot.

I highly recommend people play this title when they need a change of pace from current titles, and hopefully by the time you finish this game, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise will release sometime this year.

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