The lowdown on 'Deadly Premonition': a game so bad that it's good
Monday 25 October 2010
Arriving in Europe on October 29,
Deadly Premonition for Xbox 360 bears some similarity to
Heavy Rain and
Alan Wake, and while terrible production values divided critics, it won hearts upon its North American release with a quirky storyline, an obsession with cult TV show
Twin Peaks, and a cheap $20/€30 price tag.
Heavy Rain on PS3 and Alan Wake on 360 were both highly anticipated, big-budget titles with lofty ambitions. Heavy Rain prioritized drama, emotional connection, and intuitive controls; Alan Wake emphasized the integration of story and action, along with homages of its own to David Lynch's 1990 TV creation Twin Peaks.
Deadly Premonition's murder mystery lacks the polish of these higher profile efforts, but the general consensus is that its errors make it even more effective as a Lynchian detective story, despite an initial high-profile disagreement.
Whereas IGN dished out a damning 2/10, saying "the final product could [not] be any more disappointing... awful in nearly every way", Destructoid backed it to the hilt, awarding an astonishing 10/10 and calling it "a beautiful trainwreck."
Obscure and disjointed where Heavy Rain was accessible, disturbing and dissonant where Alan Wake retained mass appeal, Game Informer called it "incredibly flawed" but in a way that "transcends the stigma of a budget title," resulting in a 7.75 score.
Where Wake saves its biggest twist for the end, Deadly Premonition "nails that Lynchian tone" throughout, as its "twisting, twisted plot heads into the realms of the truly bizarre," - so said Eurogamer's 7/10 - while BeefJack's 8.1/10 praised it as being "unrelentingly bizarre... expansive and rewarding".
Deadly Premonition is certainly not for everyone. "Clunky controls and abysmal graphics will send many gamers packing," warns Kombo's 7/10, though the resulting experience is "convincingly scary" ( GamePeople), hence the 18+ PEGI age rating. But those that get its strange and dark humor will find themselves agreeing with the closing sentiments in 1UP's B grade - "I'll be damned if I didn't enjoy every minute."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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