- Developer: Toybox/White Owls
- Publisher: Marvelous Inc./Rising Star Games Ltd.
- Release Date: 10/07/2020
- Price: $49.99 / £39.99
- Review code provided by Rising Star Games Ltd.
Introducing: Deadly Premonition 2 Review
Let’s just come out and say it. Sometimes video games are weird. The idea that a plumber can eat a mushroom to grow larger or eat flowers to shoot fire? C’mon, this has been weird from the start. Pac-Man eats fruit and ghosts, but only after eating a large pellet? It seems normalized now, but it all used to be bizarre. We should celebrate when games embrace strangeness, especially now. Which is why whenever a title like Deadly Premonition gets a sequel, everyone should pay attention. Yes Zach, everyone should pay attention.
Just Call Me York
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is both a sequel and prequel to the previous entry. It starts in Thompsonville, MA in 2019. Agents Aaliyah Davis and Simon Jones are investigating former special agent Francis Zach Morgan. Upon arriving, they can see he is a very peculiar individual, one who looks close to deaths door. The agents question him about a case from his past, Le Carré, LA. Here the bulk of the story is told in 2005 as a much younger and healthier Francis York Morgan is present.
For those who haven’t played the previous entry, this may confuse you. York is quick to explain Zach. “Please don’t ask about Zach, its personal.” Regardless, in perfect Twin Peaks fashion, Agent York will randomly make comments to Zach just like Agent Cooper would do the same with Diane. Once back in the past, you take control of Agent York as he investigates a brutal and unexpected murder of a young girl. Twists and turns follow in this wacky and dark tale. By the end of the game, almost all questions are answered. I would recommend playing the previous title before jumping in, as there are some key concepts not explained in this game, but are deeply connected to the first title.
Deadly Premonition 2 is hard to pin down to any single genre. It has aspects of survival horror as it touches on supernatural elements and supply conservation. You are not confined in a mansion or creepy hospital though, as the whole town of Le Carré is open to explore. You can meet and talk to townspeople, accept quests, eat at restaurants, bowl, and skateboard, just to name a few. These aspects align closer to something akin to the Yakuza series. Unlike that series, random thugs won’t accost you, but squirrels, dogs and alligators will. The wildlife will charge you and can be dealt with by hand or gun. I preferred to get into a fist fight with the squirrels, if only for the levity. Completing quests or doing other activities will grant you money, which is used for everything in town. You will need at least $158 in your bank account everyday as you are staying in a hotel and hotels cost money!
Jumping back to the survival aspect, York will get hungry and sleepy. This means you will need to make sure to feed him and let him get rest. Oddly enough, if you wear the same clothes over and over, you will develop a certain aroma, along with a posse of flies. York’s hotel room has a shower, but if you can’t get there, stores have gum, cologne and other items to reduce your BO.
The combat in the game is split between hand-to-hand combat and gunplay. Ammo was always plentiful, and I never felt the need to conserve it, which felt odd early on, but I was greatly appreciative of the large stock I accumulated near the end of the game. As mentioned earlier, the Louisiana wildlife will be a large portion of your enemies, but during certain occasions, evil entities will cause havoc. These battles never felt too intense, especially with the profuse amount of ammo available. The game’s boss fights did give a bit more of a challenge, even if I never died during my entire playthrough.
Isn’t That Right, My Fairy?
Great care was given to the soundtrack of DP2. Every track felt like it was intentional and by that I mean it was made to catch your attention. Sometimes music in games can be background filler, but here, it feels like it draws the players attention to the screen. When traveling about the town on York’s skateboard, a poppy tune which sounds like it could have been in Earthbound will accompany his trip. Fast traveling has a very early 2000s era hip-hop industrial track and the evil deities are presented with a drum laden track filled with voodoo and style.
The voice acting is delightfully bad, and I mean this in the best way possible. I love B-Movies and every actor could have been pulled direct from one. Late in the game, Agent York even makes a comment that what a certain character is saying sounds like its from a C-Movie. I also believe there is a difference between acting being bad on purpose and acting just being bad. These characters are made to shine in their odd and charming ways. The standout character for me is Patti Woods, who also voices Lin Lee and Morgana from Xenoblade Chronicles X and Persona 5, respectively.
While I was over the moon about the OST of DP2, the art style does feel like it is missing something. For the most part, the characters look like closer to PS2 or Wii era graphics. I do believe this was a stylistic choice to showcase the “2005” vibe. Despite this, the game still looks like a beautiful title from that era.
Throughout my time with Deadly Premonition, I encountered numerous glitches, bugs and areas of slowdown. Almost anytime I rode the skateboard, I would notice the framerate would start to stagger. This would happen sometimes when I would run as well. Pop-in would occur at an alarming rate as well, with trees, bridges and building would just appear, or materialize in sections. Other times, characters would not react when hit. I ran into a pedestrian while skateboarding and he flew down the street. The only problem is that he was still standing while he glided down the street. It was really funny to see it happen, but I knew it was not what was intended to happen, at least, I think so…
During my twenty-five-hour playtime of DP2, I only encountered one game breaking glitch. It happened in the first chapter and thankfully, after I had just saved. I was leaving the hotel and my game ended abruptly on me. I thought I had experienced a few others, but it just came down to intense load times. While Deadly Premonition did not always suffer long load times, there were instances with close to a minute to load between sections. Oddly enough, I experienced the same issues while playing docked and handheld. The visuals were slightly better when docked, but even with that, I found playing in handheld mode was equally enjoyable.
I made sure to come to Deadly Premonition 2 with an open mind. The director, Swery65, is always mentioned for the “games as art” discussion. This is without a shadow of a doubt the weirdest game I have ever played, but its also a game that kept me glued! From the overly gamey aspects to the downright absurd layers in the story, I couldn’t help but keep moving forward. This isn’t a perfect game, but it is perfectly flawed. For those gamers that want to be challenged by what a game is, look no further than Deadly Premonition 2. It truly is a blessing in disguise. On the same note, for those who love the oddball and quirky writing of David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet), you owe it to yourself to experience this.
- Bizarre story
- Diverse amount of gameplay
- Sound design
- Framerate drops
- Encounters aren’t challenging enough
- PS2/Wii rra graphics
Deadly Premonition 2 is a polarizing game that shouldn’t be good but with the peculiar story pieces and satisfying gameplay, it is truly unforgettable.