Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut (PS3 - 2013)
Deadly Premonition is one of my favorite games of its generation. What starts out laughably bad turns into an earnest cinematic experience, with every initial fault becoming part of its charm. It’s a Japanese produced Twin Peaks videogame with all the details tweaked enough to avoid copyright violations. The story takes its own route with a climax that’s genuinely brilliant and surprising, but the setting and comedic-surrealism of David Lynch’s series is all there. You play as an FBI agent investigating the murder of a teenage girl in a northwestern town. While uncovering the mystery, you discover that every quirky character you interact with has their own dark secret. Between running side missions for the crazy Pot Lady (the game’s version of The Log Lady) or tracking down dog bones for a gravekeeper dressed like A Clockwork Orange, your character has to regularly eat, sleep, and change clothes. He’s obsessed with coffee and rests at an empty hotel inspired by The Shining. While driving around town, you have conversations about 80’s movies and punk music with your faraway correspondent Zach, in a similar fashion to Twin Peak's Diane. The protagonist admits that he prefers John Williams' score to the Superman series over Star Wars. There are so many similarly goofy and film-geeky details about this game that I was in awe of the entire time I was playing. The only downside is the combat.
The gameplay is terrible, but hilarious. The developers were forced to throw in shooting elements in an effort to appeal to the western market, so all the combat sections are a chore to get through. The design is clearly inspired by Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill, with your character going through underworld versions of the town and battling weak zombies that cry out “I don’t want to die” EVERY TIME you kill them. Thankfully, it’s all incredibly easy so that you can get through the narrative quicker.
The game took about 19 hours to beat and I did a large chunk of the side missions. I’m still listening to the game’s fantastic soundtrack and its influence won’t be lost on me anytime soon. What I absolutely love about Deadly Premonition is that even though it’s a budget title with core gameplay issues, the narrative and setting is so strong and charming that it overrides its shortcomings. The game’s auteur SWERY is a b-movie Kojima equivalent. He made a game so ridiculous and fully committed to bringing his fanboy version of Twin Peaks come to life that it’s inspiring. I’ll play anything SWERY makes now, I’ll even buy an Xbox One so I can play his upcoming game D4. Deadly Premonition is truly special and available for cheap on Amazon. Much like Twin Peaks, the game is a cult phenomenon that must be experienced.