There is a small portion of our population that regards true and utter garbage as high art. Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, quite possibly the worst movie ever put onto film, sells out every showing no matter where it plays, is a perfect example. The rock band KISS, at the time one of the biggest rock acts in world, put out an experimental concept album called ‘Music from the Elder’ (it was based on a movie that was never filmed), which was quickly regarded as awful, sold less copies than any other KISS album in history and was instrumental in the break up of the original band’s lineup, yet has since found a strong following of fans, both in and out of the KISS ARMY in the decades after its release.
In video games, there are tons of titles that are just terrible, or over-the-top weird, or so silly that they develop cult followings and are regarded as classics, when in fact they are really horribly executed messes that somehow saw the light of day and found a cult following. It doesn’t matter if the game is any good, but it’s so “out there” that people look past all of the wrongs and give it a pass.
Deadly Premonition is one of those games.
I didn’t have the “pleasure” of playing Deadly Premonition when if first hit the Xbox 360 a few years ago during the heyday of the survival horror game movement. There was probably a good reason, but whatever it was, the game slipped past me and I continued to live unaware that the game even existed.
Deadly Premonition has now made its way onto Playstation 3 as a content-heavy “Director’s Cut.” But as they say, a polished turd is still a turd.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut features an FBI agent named Francis Morgan, who goes by York, who is sent to the town of Greenvale in Washington State to solve the grisly murder of a woman named Anna. York believes that the murder is tied to a bigger case he’s working on called the Red Seeds case, where a handful of women have been killed around the country and mysterious red seeds are left at the crime scenes.
York teams up with Greenvale’s finest, Sheriff George Woodman, and his hot deputy, Emily Wyatt. He has a voice in his head that he openly speaks to named “Zach,” who offers advice to York (not the gamer, mind you, all conversations are one-sided) and it just gets crazier from there.
York also gets secret (and really messed up) messages from his coffee, and for some reason he has lapses where he sees two twin cherubs who tell him things and some of the worst poorly designed creatures from the original Silent Hill game also happen to vacation in Greenvale, because they are there too. There are shape-shifters and killer trees and an element of time travel and alternate dimensions. For a game consisting of eight chapters, there is just way too much silly to go around.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut has some very good ideas. It is primarily a real-time, open world game where the lives of York and the town folk happen before the player’s eyes. You have to eat to survive, have gas in the car to drive, and there is a ton of stuff to do while trying to solve the red seeds murder case. It’s like a role playing game meets Shenmue, The Sims, the classic TV show Twin Peaks, and ultimately mediocrity.
With so much to do and things going on at any one time, there is always something to accomplish. The real question is do you want to? I’ve played the game for a good chunk of time and I’m not having fun. When it all boils down to it, if you aren’t having fun, then why do it?
As for the HD visuals and new content, it barely makes a difference. The character models are from two generations ago (the Nintendo GameCube was processing graphics better than this back in 2001) and the frame rate stutters along at an inconsistent 30 FPS. My screen flickers constantly and the sound pops in and out. I find myself wondering is this was originally designed to be a PlayStation One game, as there is no way that this game could have been built for the current generation of consoles. The high definition graphic upgrade only makes to show the weak graphics and terrible character models in clearer light.
As for the additional content, sure new costumes can be unlocked (there is nothing wrong with the hot sheriff’s deputy wearing a French maid’s outfit while at work trying to find a serial killer, is there?) and there is the promise of tons of additional DLC coming in the near future, but again, I keep asking, why?
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut has a huge cult following, and much like the fans of Wiseau’s The Room, or KISS’s album, ‘Music from the Elder,’ they will greatly defend it as high art. Something so very bad that it’s actually good. This is anything but. Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe when I sit down to play a video game, I look to be challenged and entertained, and laughing out loud as the ludicrousness of what I’m playing isn’t the same as laughing out loud because it is well written and funny. Survival horror is a genre that has been buried, and Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut acts as another nail in the coffin as opposed to a lifeline to keep the once beloved genre alive and well.
If you are one of those people who will drink bad milk and instead of pouring it out, will tell others to drink it, then maybe Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut is for you. If you’ve ever sat in a crowded movie theater on a Saturday and willfully watched The Room, this could be your Legend of Zelda. If you like horrible acting, terrible writing, vastly outdated graphics, and a game story so off the wall that it makes no sense and leaves you stupefied and angry at the end, then by all means, boot it up and give it a shot. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut was reviewed using a game code provided by Rising Star Games.
Shop for Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut exclusively on PS3 at Amazon.com (April 30, 2013 release date).