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Meet FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan, currently on assignment to solve a brutal small town murder. Much to the concern of the local law enforcement, Agent York happens to be a chain-smoking smart-ass with awkward social tendencies and an anti-authoritarian streak, prone to making insulting comments or telling inappropriate stories at the dinner table. Despite this, he's a brilliant profiler who loves Iggy Pop, John Hughes movies, junk food and coffee. Lots of coffee. In fact, he loves these things so much that he will talk about them constantly to his imaginary friend, Zach, his invisible confidante whom nobody else can hear or see.
In other words, you. Yes, that's right. For all intents and purposes, you are York- or at least, his second personality Zach- so get ready to hang out with this guy for 25+ hours of moaning zombies, clairvoyant caffeinated beverages, and a discussion of the sadomasochistic themes in The Tom and Jerry Show.
WHAT IS DEADLY PREMONITION?
Deadly Premonition is... Well, let's start with the basics. It's definitely a video game, that's for dang sure.
: PS3 (Japan only, under the name "Red Seeds Profile), Xbox360
: SWERY65 (creator), Access Games
: Marvelous Entertainment (JPN), Ignition Entertainment (NA), Rising Star Games (UK)
: Feb. 23 2010 (North America), Mar 11 2010 (Japan), Oct 29 2010 (UK)
NORTH AMERICAN PRICE
, though Amazon frequently drops it every once in a while. It's slightly more expensive in the UK.
NOTE ON THE VERSIONS
: The English localized version is only available on the region-locked 360, meaning European players will have to wait for the PAL release this month. PS3 owners will either have to wait for their release or import the Japanese version, Red Seeds Profile, since the PS3 is region-free. RSP has full English voice-acting but all the text and menus are in Japanese.
: Deadly Premonition was first announced at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show under the title "Rainy Woods". It then disappeared for a three-year overhaul in which character models were changed, most of the dialogue was re-recorded, and songs were replaced with others. Many have speculated that this was due to the trailer's strong resemblance to Twin Peaks, which may have caused the game to run into legal difficulties, but little has been confirmed. You can watch the trailer in the MEDIA section below.
The story revolves around the murder of a young girl in the small town of Greenvale, and the investigation of the bizarre and possibly supernatural circumstances of her death. You play an eccentric FBI agent sent to solve the mystery with the help of the uncooperative local Sheriff and his two Deputies, a task that proves to be far stranger than anyone imagined. Fortunately Agent York himself, as well as practically everyone else in town, are more than weird enough to deal with the threat of the unknown serial killer, an axe-wielding figure dressed in a red coat who only comes out during the rain...
Blending elements of open world, survival horror and adventure gameplay into a supernatural murder mystery with more than a touch of David Lynch thrown in for good measure, DP is unlike any game you've ever played. And, as most cool people will testify, that is most definitely a good thing.
I HEARD THIS GAME WAS TERRIBLE/SO-BAD-IT'S GOOD/AWESOME/GOTY 2010.
Chances are the first things you've heard about DP were its Dreamcast-era graphics, awkward controls, inappropriately placed music, quotes taken from its offbeat dialogue, and of course, its uncanny resemblance to David Lynch's seminal TV show, Twin Peaks
. Reviews were extremely polarized when it first came out, mainly due its low budget production values, but as time has passed, more and more gamers have come to appreciate the game for its quirky, self-aware humor, the depth of its story and characters, its mood and atmosphere, and the overall uniqueness of the gameplay experience it offers compared to mainstream titles.
Opinions on it still vary to a wide degree (Metacritic scores
are on a constant tug-o-war between 20 and 100, usually hovering around 65%, with User Reviews easily skirting the mid-80s), but it has garnered a devoted fan following and is already being described as a "cult classic".
After all, in what other game do you get to play as the main character's split personality? How many survival horrors let you find and eat plates of smoked salmon you found on a toilet tank? Where else but Greenvale would it make sense to drive a police car that only goes 45 MPH at top speed, but has working windshield wipers and turn signals? Not to mention the almost absurdly effective machinations of the murder mystery and the characters involved. I could go on, but the best way to play this game is to simply erase all expectations from your mind, sit back, and let it work its magic. It's not for everyone, but for the right audience, it is quite sincerely one of the Best Games Ever Made.
Gameplay is a mixture of open world and survival horror, alternating between exploration of the town and its inhabitants on a near real-time day/night clock system, and combat segments where the player must fight purple-oozing zombie-like creatures and QTEs while trapped in an eerie Otherworld (a common comparison is something like "Shenmue meets Resident Evil with the atmosphere of Silent Hill").
When not actively solving the mystery, players can opt to complete sidequests for various rewards, as well as play mini-games like darts and fishing. Just be sure to eat something every once in a while; you also have hunger, fatique and Pulse Rate meters that must be maintained, lest Agent York faint dead away while interrogating a suspect for clues. NPCs play a huge part of the open-world sections, with every single character having unique dialogue depending on the chapter, time, location and weather, and most of the time player can comfortably set aside the main storyline in order to interact with them more closely.
The map is enormous, so cars play an indispensable role in getting around town. Every car has a gas and damage meter, so you'll want to keep an eye on those unless you get stranded somewhere without an Emergency Flare. There are many ways to acquire new vehicles, but probably the most important item you will want to get ASAP is the quick-travel device that lets you instantly teleport to locations previously visited. This is a sidequest reward that is available as early as Chapter 2, so make getting it your first priority. See this page
for more details on how to get it. If the in-game map is giving you trouble, here are some fan-made maps
that should help you out.
However, there is one reason to do at least a little bit of driving under your own power: York's driving conversations. Take a spin around Greenvale and he'll start rambling, sometimes about pop culture, sometimes about previous cases he's worked on. The police car music is pretty awesome, too.
Combat is similar to many survival horror games with a tank-like aiming system and a variety of firearms and melee weapons. There is an Auto-Aim, headshots are super effective, and you can hold your breathe for a limited time which will render you invisible to enemies. The enemies are fairly repetitive and combat is usually cited as the weakest element of the game, but it's not nearly as arduous as people make it out to be. The biggest variable when it comes to combat are the weapons. Almost every weapon in the game has an infinite ammo version, usually a sidequest reward, so it's in your best interest to track these down as early as possible. Again, see this page
is you really must know ahead of time.
NOTE: There is at least one instance of a powerful weapon becoming unavailable if you complete two particular sidequests in the wrong order, and another melee weapon that will disappear for good if you give it away. If you really really really want to know the details before you set out, see this page. Black bars denote story spoilers; everything else is safe to highlight.
Also keep an eye on your Pulse Rate, which goes up when holding your breath or Auto-Aiming. You can use the Stabilizer item to empty the bar to zero, but if it fills all the way up, York will move three times slower than usual and be unable to run for a short period of time.
Achievements for difficulties do not stack, so keep that in mind. If you just want to enjoy the story and characters, it's highly recommended to play it on EASY, as combat will go by much more quickly and painlessly.
* to open doors quickly, press A while running into them
* to go straight to the map screen, hit Select, not Start
* to speed up text, hold B
* to skip the "you got X item" screen, hit start
* to skip getting in/out of the car animation, hit start
* to skip Profiing and most cutscenes, hit start (you still get money if you activate Profiling and skip it using this method)
* to toggle between Item and Toolbox screens while in the toolbox, press the shoulder triggers
* to turn around instantly, pull back on the stick while tapping X
* to stop York from talking while in a car (you cannot access the Start menu when he's talking), exit the vehicle.
* to stop York from pushing something even after it's gone as far as it can go, let go of the A button just before you want him to stop (for example, if you continue to hold forward and A when pushing a crate into a wall, the animation will continue for a few unnecessary seconds.)
* to switch from window to window instantly while peeping in windows, hit the bumper buttons
: There have been issues with characters handing you a crucial key item that can disappear, leaving you unable to progress without it. You will have to start the game over if this happens because the character will not give you another key, even if you replay the chapter. The main problem seems to stem from replaying chapters while you have the key in your inventory, so if you avoid doing that, you should be fine. The Master Keys that allow you to drive police cars is pretty much default, so that shouldn't affect anything. Reports of this seem to be vague, but the main cause seems to be replaying chapter 2 while your main save is in chapter 9 or 23. Basically, if someone gives you a plot important key, DON'T REPLAY CHAPTERS UNTIL IT HAS SERVED ITS PURPOSE.
: Be careful about walking into Mission Targets (those green glowing circles that activate the end or beginning of a mission). It's been known to cause the game to crash; if that happens, just try walking into it a different way, for example contacting it on foot instead of driving into it by car. This usually frees it up. I've had one experience driving into a mission target while York was talking, which froze the game, but other than that I've had no other game-breaking problems.
The least spoiler-y trailer I could find. The last part is still a pretty big spoiler if you know what's going on, though. Honestly I probably wouldn't watch any trailers if I were you. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
The opening cutscene to the game.
Appears to be a ten-minute montage showcasing some fairly typical examples of the combat. Also has bits of some of the opening cutscene and gameplay, so don't watch if you want to go in blind.
Probably the most well-known cutscene from the game. It's not really spoilery, but I advise you to play the game before watching. Still, if you're curious as to the kind of humor this game has in store...
Original TGS 2007 trailer for Rainy Woods.
A fansite by Automatic Jack/Animagess, the writer of this OP (not Clevinger, who kindly asked me to do a re-write), from which most of this information was taken. All spoilers marked for first-time players.
Should Have Been in the Manual
Links, Reviews, Creator Interviews, etc.
Another DP fansite, which has everything Planet REDWOOD lacks and more! Beautifully designed with a growing list of media and tech specs, with much more to come.
Deadly Premonition Let's Play
GIANT BOMB ENDURANCE RUN
: Highly popular series of videos by the staff of GB, which involves them splitting into teams of two and recording their playthrough of the entire game with MST-style commentary over top. Recommended for those who have already finished the game.
DOWNLOAD GAME SOUNDTRACK
: Courtesy of the_miker! Last few tracks have major spoilers in the titles.
...you should probably stop reading about this game and set about picking up a copy. There is almost no better way to play it than going in half-blind with only a cursory, fragmented idea of what to expect, so hurry! Before it's too late! So says Mr. Stewart...