Deadly PremonitionDeadly Premonition, known as Red Seeds Profile in Japan, is a psychological horror video game developed by Access Games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and published by Ignition Entertainment in North America, Marvelous Entertainment in Japan and Rising Star Games in Europe. It was released in North America on February 17, 2010, in Japan on March 11, 2010 and in Europe on October 29, 2010. The PlayStation 3 version was released only in Japan on the same date as the Xbox 360 version. A director's cut release for the PlayStation 3 was announced in March 2012 and released in April 2013. As of July 2013 Deadly Premonition has been added to Steam Greenlight. In just one week, the proposal earned enough community votes to justify release on the digital distribution service.
The game is notable for introducing open world, nonlinear gameplay and a comedy horror theme to the survival horror genre. It is also notable for implementing a free-roaming storyline within an open game world where all the characters have their own schedules.
It has become known for its "headline making strangeness" and is considered one of the most critically polarising games of all-time , receiving both extremely negative and extremely positive reviews and is seen as a primary example of games as art.
Deadly Premonition PlotThe game gives the player control of FBI special agent Francis York Morgan (referred to as York), who arrives at the fictional town of Greenvale sent to investigate the murder of a young woman, Anna Graham. York takes on the case due to the manner of the killing; a seemingly ritualistic murder of a young woman where red seeds have been found on or near the body, as this is similar to a series of other murders across the country. Upon arriving in the town, York is greeted by town sheriff George Woodman and his deputy Emily Wyatt, whom York quickly develops an attraction to. York generates considerable friction with his dismissive attitude toward the locals, bizarre demeanor, and tendency to interrupt conversations to deliver asides to an unseen person he refers to as "Zach".
As the investigation develops, several more women are murdered, the key links between them being the same red seeds and a symbol York believes is a peace symbol upside-down, and York is regularly ambushed and attacked by a faceless axe-wielding figure wearing a raincoat, as well as a number of mysterious ghost-like shadows. It is also established that, as a child, York witnessed his father shooting his mother before turning the gun on himself. York also has a scar on his face, which he refuses to explain. Throughout the game, York is seen entering dreamlike worlds featuring angelic versions of the key witnesses to the Anna Graham murder, twin children Isaach and Isaiah, as well as a series of other unexplained characters, and it is implied that this is an alternate reality rather than hallucination.
York eventually begins to visit an old, mysterious resident of the town, Harry Stewart, who tells him that the current 'raincoat killer' is not the original. In the 1950s, the U.S. military conducted an operation in the town to study the effects of biological warfare. They sent gas out from the bell tower, causing the residents to temporarily go insane, during which the original raincoat killer went on his spree.
The game implies that the shadows that York fights are the spirits of the original killer's victims. However, York is soon captured and kidnapped by another policeman, Thomas MacLaine, who is revealed to be a cultist who wears drag in his spare time. Thomas eventually commits suicide after losing his gun during a battle with Emily, and York reveals that he believes the copycat raincoat killer is George. This is later confirmed as George reveals that he has gained shapeshifting powers as the result of eating the red seeds. York is able to kill him, but ends up hospitalized.
York realizes that, while George was the Greenvale killer, he could not have been responsible for the other similar murders nationwide and was likely just a pawn. He eventually discovers that Forrest Kaysen, a travelling tree salesman depicted as a comic relief character throughout the game, is in fact the primary antagonist and was one of the soldiers responsible for carrying out the original gas experiment, and that the upside-down peace symbol seen close to all of his victims was, in fact, a tree.
Kaysen leads York to the community centre, next to the bell tower, where York finds that Emily has been kidnapped and a tree planted inside her stomach. York then realizes that he is, in fact, Zach. Francis Zach Morgan witnessed his mother dying with a tree sprouting from her own body with Zach's father and Kaysen in the room. Zach's father was unable to shoot his wife out of mercy and instead took his own life, leading to a more agonising death for her. Kaysen then hit Zach across the head, causing the scar.
Unable to cope with the grief, Zach psychologically switched places with his alter-ego, York. Upon recognising this, Zach permanently switches back with York and, though unable to save Emily, kills Kaysen and leaves the town with optimism for his future. In the closing scene, York, Emily, Thomas and all of the Greenvale murder victims are seen happily existing in the alternate reality.
Deadly Premonition GameplayDeadly Premonition is a psychological horror video game in which a player explores a small town called Greenvale, and chooses events and activities to participate in—alongside mandatory sequences that advance the game's story. The main character, Agent York, is controlled from an over-the-shoulder perspective, and can wander freely, talk to other characters, and collect and use inventory, including an array of melee and ranged weaponry and recovery items. He is awarded money for numerous actions - both for solving quests and for minor events like killing enemies; money can also be penalized for poor performance. York may explore the environments on foot, or use one of a variety of cars to travel long distances at speed. These cars must be maintained, as they consume fuel, which York must purchase, and accumulate damage that renders them useless unless York pays for their repair. York himself must also be maintained, as he requires food and sleep at regular intervals. He must also shave and change clothes periodically or his hygiene-related scores suffer.
The game takes place in a day-night cycle at one-third of real time. One game day takes eight hours during free exploration. Time frequently skips ahead in response to story events, and York can accelerate its passage by smoking cigarettes. Places of business and entertainment venues in Greenvale have specific hours of operation and must be visited at the proper time to enter them and make use of their services. Non-player characters also have their own schedules, and travel around town as they go about their business. They are labeled with onscreen indicators, so that they may be tailed in vehicles, and York can peep through the windows of many buildings to observe their activities. If York engages them at the right place and time of day, they offer him sidequests to perform for additional rewards. There is also a dynamic weather system, in which adverse weather occurs at random and changes conditions in the town, necessitating the use of headlights or windshield wipers when driving. In addition to sidequests, trading cards are scattered throughout the town, which the player can collect while exploring.
The game also contains numerous survival horror combat sequences, in which York must defeat otherwordly enemies while trapped in certain locations. Enemies can approach by walking or by a quick teleportation maneuver. Most engage York with hand-to-hand attacks if they reach him. York must stop moving to use his weapons, leaving him vulnerable to rush attacks. Enemies may be armed with melee weapons, guns, or other types of weapons; some enemies include a quick-time event to escape their attacks. During these sequences, York's primary objective is to investigate crimes that took place there in the recent past. He collects photos of pieces of evidence to use to "profile" the scene and reconstruct events that took place with his deductive skills.
ReceptionDeadly Premonition has received polarized reviews from critics, with praise directed at its unusual storyline and open world while criticism was directed at its spotty production values and dated controls; it received an average score of 70% from GameRankings and 68/100 from Metacritic. It is considered one of the most divisive games released in a long time, with scores ranging from as low as 2 out of 10 from IGN US (later 7.5 out of 10 from IGN UK) to as high as 10 out of 10 from Destructoid. Gamasutra released data that Deadly Premonition led sales of Xbox 360 games on Amazon.com for the week of April 9, 2010, temporarily overtaking higher-profile releases such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Mass Effect 2, and Left 4 Dead 2. This cult success was attributed to how the game's "wildly mixed critical reception and headline-making strangeness got people talking" by GamePro.
Criticism was directed at the game's controls, sound effects, and visual quality. IGN's Erik Brudvig called Deadly Premonition "awful in nearly every way" and criticized every aspect of the game, especially its bad production values and lackluster controls. Eurogamer's Chris Schilling noticed that the soundtrack seemed out of place during many scenes, with serious scenes often containing a light-hearted jazz track. GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd noted that the visuals contained many low-resolution textures.
Nevertheless, the game has received a significant cult following. The story and characters were widely praised by critics, and many reviewers drew comparisons to the Twin Peaks television series. Destructoid's Jim Sterling gave the game a perfect score, calling it a "beautiful trainwreck." GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd stated that the story's unpredictability was the game's greatest strength. Despite his criticism, Schilling of Eurogamer noted that the characters in the town were fascinating in their oddness. 1UP.com's Frank Cifaldi praised the game as being an example of the kind of quality interactive storytelling that only a video game could provide. Gamasutra also praised the game for its "living, bizarre game world, where people go about their daily business regardless of player interaction." GameCentral described the game as "the strangest video game of the year" and a primary example of "games as art", praising it for its "emotional range, from traditional survival horror scares to farcical comedy". X-Play gave it 4/5 stars, and named it one of the "Top 10 Games of 2010... So Far" in June 2010. Game Critics wrote an article about why it should be Game of the Year. The game has received over a dozen other awards from various publications, including "Best Cult Game" from Gamasutra, "Most Surprisingly Good Game" from GameSpot, and "Best Worst Game" from GamesRadar. In the 2012 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, Deadly Premonition holds the record as the "Most Critically Polarizing Survival Horror Game".
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