The creepy air of a strange community comes to the Xbox 360 with Deadly Premonition, a game that channels the peculiar feel, atmosphere and characters of a town significantly influenced by David Lynch’s classic TV series Twin Peaks.
Players take on the role of FBI Agent Francis York Morgan who is called to investigate the murder of a young woman in the sleepy town of Greenvale.
Gamers gradually become acquainted with the 30 non-playable inhabitants of the town. Each character has their own quirks, problems, personalities and back-story and players can indulge their private eye tendencies by stalking residents in a bid to gain clues, side missions and insights into the strange history of Greenvale. But it is not only the locals that gamers come up against. Many creatures lurk in the shadows of the town, plunging the game into survival horror territory. Players have to attack enemies armed with all manner of powerful weaponry.
As players progress through the game, they will become aware of the odd nature of Agent Morgan himself, as they are put in the position of ‘Zach’, Morgan’s other personality, to whom he often talks out loud to.
Greenvale as a town is an open world that players can freely explore both on foot and with a range of different cars.
Deadly Premonition has a large focus on realism and this is evident in the way gamers interact with the vehicles. Players will have to buy fuel for the cars and maintain them to avoid the accumulation of damage.
A similar approach is taken with regards to ‘maintaining’ Morgan himself – for example, if players don’t make him shave, he will grow a beard and, if his clothes aren’t changed, gamers will have to watch him move around town alongside a swarm of flies. Nice.
When not being attacked by the mysterious creatures of Greenvale, players must attempt to solve the case by recreating scenes of the crime by finding items and evidence in order to help reveal the identity of the murderer.
“Deadly Premonition is fast becoming a cult phenomenon, garnering extremely positive comments from gamers despite the polarised critical reception,” says Yen Hau, product manager at Rising Star Games.
“It is a game which, at first glance, delivers all the atmosphere and shocks you would expect from the horror genre, but also smacks you in the face with some truly bizarre and comedic situations. Add to this an engrossing storyline and it’s evident why gamers have been screaming for a European release.”
In calmer moments of Deadly Premonition, players can complete a wide range of side missions and mini-games – ranging from fishing and darts to collecting trading cards.
The emphasis on realism is not only limited to characters and vehicles either, as the game features a life and weather cycle. One day in the game takes eight real world hours during free exploration of Greenvale. Time will only jolt ahead due to mission events, but players can move on quicker by smoking cigarettes.
This lifecycle also affects the inhabitants of the town as shops and businesses open at particular times. As townspeople have their own schedules, consumers will have to catch them at the right time to help them with side missions or follow them for clues.
With word of mouth igniting excitement surrounding the game and press features and PR exercises in place, Deadly Premonition looks to be a title at the forefront of gamers’ minds. It is set to be an experience unlike any other.
Hau adds: “Its not quite in the budget price bracket, but does make for a very interesting alternative to the number of high profile and high cost releases in the lead up to Christmas.
“As a result, we are expecting Deadly Premonition to be a sleeper hit.”