Is it really a Deadly Premonition game if it runs over 15 FPS?
2010’s Deadly Premonition is one of the most bizarre anomalies disguised as a video game I have ever played. Its cast is a crew of weirdos, the game runs and controls like complete garbage, and the graphics were ugly even back in its time. Yet that game holds one of the most fervent cult followings I have ever seen, hailing it as the perfect example of a B-movie in video game form, its fans love it not just in spite of but in a way because of its flaws. I am one of those people, to an extent. I truly believe that you could not make a game like Deadly Premonition on purpose, and so you can imagine my worry when the announcement of Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise came down the pipeline. I still don’t know if it’s proven me wrong, but it’s sure proven something.
Deadly Premonition 2 once again puts the player in control of FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan (but please, call him York) in a story that finds him in the small Louisiana town of Le Carré long before he’d ever heard the name Greenvale. When a young woman named Lise Clarkson is found dead and displayed on some sort of altar, a vacationing York decides to take it upon himself to investigate the murder with the help of the town sherrif, Melvin Woods, and his daughter Patti. Along the way he crosses paths with the interesting residents of Le Carré, including the rest of the Clarkson family who have their iron grip on the whole town. Who killed Lise Clarkson, and what connection could it have to other cases York has already solved?
The game is largely the same as the original: an open world mystery game with flashes of a third person shooter, survival-horror title. As York gets to know Le Carré, mainly with the help of Patti, an oracle appears to nudge him into going where he needs to go and when. Much like in the original game, Le Carré runs on a clock system where certain locations and events are only available within certain time frames, but there is no penalty for missing that time frame outside of just having to wait to try again the next day. However this does present my only really major problem with the game, being that it continuously gave me objectives only available in windows that were incredibly far away while not providing much to do to pass the time. You can sleep or smoke or camp out in order to pass time quickly, and this will usually solve the issue, but not always.
For the most egregious example of this, I was given an objective to go find a can of red beans. The game pointed me towards the local cafe in order to obtain one, but when I asked for it the chef told me that she only serves red beans on Mondays. It was Wednesday. It wasn’t that I had been taking my time and missed Monday, but that the game had started on a Monday and playing at a regular pace had taken me to Wednesday. So I figured I’d do the other objectives I’d been given, but those only passed about three hours of in game time. In the end my only option became to put York into a medically induced coma for five days, only waking him every 24 hours to shove a hot dog in his mouth and sometimes take a shower, getting charged $154 every time I woke up. In this process I even soft locked the game at one point when I had opened the menu while standing in front of the bed, which caused the game to access both things at once.
And therein lies the actual issue with Deadly Premonition 2. It’s not that the game runs at a broken frame rate at all times, or that the game can load for upwards of a full minute every time you walk out into the overworld, or that the render distance for objects is roughly ten feet in front of you... or even that the graphics and textures look straight out of a PS2 game; those can and will be overlooked by fans of the original because they’re honestly part of Deadly Premonition’s charm if you’re into that sort of thing. The issue is that Deadly Premonition 2 is a game filled with a lot of waiting around for the ability to move the plot along. There are mini games like bowling or skateboard courses that can be played to pass the time in real life, but the in game time does not pass when you’re not on the overworld so not even these can be used to kill time between objectives.
The hardest part about reviewing Deadly Premonition 2 is that in a lot of ways it’s exactly what fans of the first game wanted. It’s a broken mess that controls like a dog on roller blades that looks ugly and runs even worse, with the bizarrely charming writing that only somebody like Swery65 could bring to the table. Nobody in Le Carré feels quite Greenvale levels of weird, but they’re all a bunch of weirdos all the same. Well, except David, he’d fit in Greenvale pretty well. If you like the first Deadly Premonition you likely already know what you want and what you’re getting into, and you’ll likely be pretty happy with this sequel. Your everyday average player should probably weigh how much jank they’re willing to put up with before giving this game a shot, though.