Deadly Premonition

aka: Rainy Woods, Red Seeds Profile
Moby ID: 46145
Xbox 360 Specs
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Description

Greenvale is a small, peaceful town somewhere in the northern United States. The sudden and brutal murder of a young girl draws the attention of FBI agent Francis York Morgan, a man with an unclear past, a split personality named Zach, and a personal interest in cases like this. York comes to Greenvale to assist local law enforcement in solving the murder, whether they like it or not, but things aren't nearly as simple as they might seem at first. Strange red seeds, a mysterious man in a red raincoat, and the secrets held by those in the town...

Deadly Premonition is a survival horror mystery game with open-world elements. The player controls Agent York as he investigates the mysterious circumstances in Greenvale. Greenvale itself is a large, open town that can be freely explored on foot or in a vehicle, with a slightly-accelerated day/night cycle dictating when shops are open, when people are available to talk to, and when missions to drive the story forward are available. York himself must eat and sleep (or at least drink coffee), as well as shave regularly and wash his clothes when they get dirty. There are shops and restaurants around Greenvale where items and weaponry can be purchased.

York has a variety of weapons at his disposal. His basic weapon is an FBI-issue pistol which has infinite ammo, but there are also a variety of other firearms available including machine guns and revolvers, each of which has its own strengths against different types of enemies. There are also a variety of blunt and bladed weapons, including knives, crowbars, and golf clubs. He can also evade enemies by running or holding his breath, but while doing these his pulse rate will rise, and if it goes too high he will get tired and be unable to move quickly for a short period of time.

Many of the story missions feature an element called "profiling", in which the player must collect evidence in order to piece together what happened in that area. As evidence is collected, the images in the scene become clearer, until all the evidence is collected and York becomes sure of what happened.

In addition to the main story missions, there are also a large variety of side missions. York can go fishing, as well as take part in time trial races or even play a game of darts. There are missions for many of the characters offering various rewards, and there are also dozens of hidden trading cards to collect. He can also purchase new suits, and even vehicles.

Spellings

  • レッド シーズ プロファイル - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

197 People (191 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 71% (based on 15 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 1 reviews)

Zach, was there something here you wanted to check out?

The Good
I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve seen far more Steven Seagal movies than any human being ever should. My roommate at the time and I made it our goal to watch every single movie by the actor and actually achieved it until recently, when more were released. Why did we subject ourselves to such torture? It’s because some of them are so bad, they’re good. Admit it, you’ve enjoyed similar guilty pleasures; those B movies where bad acting, ridiculous props, and sets falling over merely adds to their charm. Unfortunately, few games enter into the “so bad, it’s good” category. It isn’t really a mystery. Most bad games come coupled with poor controls and frustrating sections that deter even the most determined of gamers. Off the top of my head, I can think of only one other game that I really enjoyed because it was so ludicrously horrible: Jurassic Park Trespasser. Now it seems I’ve found another: Deadly Premonition.

In Deadly Premonition, you’re cast as FBI profiler Francis York Morgan (call him York, everyone does), who has arrived at the small town of Greenvale to solve a murder that has taken place. Obviously, things aren’t as they seem, and the murder is soon linked to other murders from around the country. It’s a survival horror-ish game with lots of free roaming investigation in the same vein as Shenmue. You must complete side quests for the townsfolk, investigate the murder, and fight zombies in the “otherworld”. You can generally ignore the schedule the game provides you with and just screw around if you want to. You can go fishing, buy new vehicles and really tacky suits, or go hunting for trading cards. It’s quite a little grab bag.

The characters of Deadly Premonition are what really pop. It’s quite a colourful and unique cast. There’s a lady who roams around town carrying a pot, an elderly rich man whose interpreter speaks in rhymes, and a tree salesman who is rarely seen without a sapling tucked under his arm. Agent York himself is probably the most interesting and bizarre character of them all. York is a very childlike person. He has a presumably imaginary friend named Zach, he communicates with coffee, and he has the most horrific meal conversation skills. His conversations with Zach are always a hoot and the reactions he receives from the other characters are quite funny.

I have a strong fondness for side quests. Majora’s Mask is actually my favourite entry in the Legend of Zelda series, simply because of how well it handled its side quests, and their relation to the characters. Deadly Premonition is much the same the way. It’s absolutely up to its armpits in side quests, fifty of them, to be precise. Some of the rewards that you receive for completing them are extremely helpful. Many of the quests yield weapons with infinite ammo or other such special weapons. Some of the quests can only be accessed at certain times, and a few will even expire, but luckily Deadly Premonition has you covered. If you miss the window of opportunity for a particular side quest, you can choose to redo any chapter of the game with your inventory and quests intact. You can’t save while redoing a chapter, but when you complete it, all your finished quests and anything that has been added to your inventory is carried back to where you left off. It’s a pretty cool way to make sure you don’t miss anything.

What really surprises me about Deadly Premonition is how great the plot is. Sure, it’s often ridiculous, and it’s awkwardly presented, but it’s also very intriguing. I mean, not only does it include strange and interesting characters, but it also keeps you guessing. Even though it’s quite heavy handed with its foreshadowing, it’s also very good at creating doubt. There are many suspects in the case and many characters that you might not suspect are involved. It’s an entirely bizarre and satisfying storyline. It strikes me as shocking, but I enjoyed Deadly Premonition’s plot more than I enjoyed Heavy Rain’s. This isn’t to say that Deadly Premonition’s plot is perfect, or even spectacular. It has its fair share of problems, but it’s still an incredibly enjoyable little tale.

It’s very refreshing how the game doesn’t take itself seriously. While some of the scenes are very dramatic and, at times, even emotional, they are often undermined by some of the game’s quirks. Whether it’s simply a character acting bizarrely or the game’s ridiculous soundtrack playing way too loudly, there’s usually something present to ease the tension. It gets to the point where you start to feel like these moments aren’t accidental. Whether it’s intentional or not, it gives the game a very unique and memorable personality.

The Bad
While many of Deadly Premonition’s shortcomings are charming, they’re also impossible to overlook. The one that is going to hit you right from the beginning cutscene is the game’s absolutely atrocious graphics. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that the game looks like it’s running on a Playstation 2 or Dreamcast. A lot of textures are unbearably blurry and the environments are jagged and flat. Plus, it has a depth of field blur effect that reminds me of Bully on the PS2. Yet it still has the gall to slow down and stutter whenever the picture-in-picture events occur. Not all of the graphics are terrible. The character models, while not exactly pretty, look decent enough and the draw distance is nearly limitless (if you can ignore the pop-in). With that aside, though, this game still looks like shit.

The character animations are particularly bad, especially when it comes to their expressions. A lot of the cutscene animations are canned and they repeat themselves at the most inappropriate of times. By the end of the game you’ll be familiar with all the basics. There’s York’s “one finger raise”, George’s “twisting of his hat”, and everyone else’s “laugh with hand over their mouth”. I personally find the heavy use of canned animation quite endearing, but I doubt everyone will feel this way. The facial animations on the other hand are absolutely horrendous. The lip syncing is absolutely way off most of the time, and has a habit of turning up at the worst moments.

I can’t help but find the otherworld sequences to be very lacking. In fact, I’d liken them to dungeon crawling, as they take you out of the game world, and place you in a much different and more claustrophobic environment. These sequences play and control very much like Resident Evil 4. You walk through nightmarish environments shooting zombies and collecting items such as ammo, as well as evidence. The problem is; the environments they take place in are very abstract and mundane. You enter a sawmill, which winds up being a number of cluttered rooms connected by long corridors. Combat is only ever broken up by encounters with the man in the red raincoat and the odd puzzle. To be fair, they do become more interesting later into the game, as they had damn well better because they also appear more frequently.

While I can appreciate it when a game draws inspiration from other games and media, there is a point where such things advance past being simple homages, and journey into the realm of rip-offs. Deadly Premonition comes damned close to ripping off the old 90’s TV show, Twin Peaks. Deadly Premonition does manage to become its own beast, but some aspects have obviously been ripped directly from Twin Peaks. Some of the plot details, a few of the characters, and even the setting are all very similar to the TV show. Even the lovable and quirky Francis York Morgan is obviously based on Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks. It isn’t enough to ruin the game on any level, but it does cheapen it.

Deadly Premonition is also filled with smaller problems. There’s one particular enemy who is extremely annoying and appears far too frequently. It’s not a particularly difficult foe to overcome, if you know the trick to killing it easily, but it does take way too long to kill it. Luckily, my method of taking it out easily involves shooting it in the crotch, which I’m always a fan of, but I’d still rather not fight it at all. The cars handle like shopping carts. Like, I’m serious, exactly like shopping carts. It’s awful; the turning is way too sensitive, yet not tight enough to avoid slamming into walls. Different vehicles have different handling, but I haven’t encountered a single one that actually controls well.

The Bottom Line
Don’t let my “so bad, it’s good,” talk scare you away. While I do find the awkwardness of the game to be very endearing, at its core, Deadly Premonition is still a really good game. It’s well paced and has an addicting quality to it that kept me coming back to see it through to the end. Truly, it’s one of the best examples of a “B-game”. The poorer aspects of the game do more to enhance the charm, rather than hinder it. It’s just such a bizarre and unique game, it’s hard not to love it.

What I’m trying to say is; Deadly Premonition is like a stew. Its ingredients include parts of Shenmue, Majora’s Mask, and Resident Evil, sprinkled with a teensy bit of Silent Hill, and cooked in a broth of Twin Peaks. It was cooked slowly, like all good stews are. Sure, it may not look very appetizing, but tastes OUTSTANDING.

Even though the graphics look like shit, I’m positive this game is a future cult hit. So says Mr. Stewart.

Xbox 360 · by Adzuken (836) · 2010

Trivia

Awards

  • GameSpot
  • 2010 - Most Surprisingly Good Game (Editors' Choice)

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】.

Additional contributors: Big John WV, Caelestis, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third.

Game added April 19, 2010. Last modified February 22, 2023.