June 4, 2013
What you may have heard over and over is how the game is similar to David Lynch's cult classic series Twin Peaks. Aside from the numerous similarities, the major common denominator is that they're both creations that you need to "get" in order to appreciate - something that's already unnerving enough for some. But for a good many, it's not enough to quash the temptations to take a gander. However, the fact that Deadly Premonition has been a 360 exclusive title didn't bode well for PS3 only users, until now.
The Director's Cut is SWERY's soiree to bring the Francis York Morgan experience to the long neglected Sony community. Better late than having to spend the cash for another console. The package is promised to be a more fine tuned version of its predecessor but immediately recognized is the title screen's theme track skipping about. Thankfully, this is the only occasion but the audio still demonstrates volume irregularity as being either dim, chaotic by equal measures of voice and music, or just booming. This is a dead giveaway to possible re-recorded lines.
The most noticeable inconsistency is the frame rate. Usual causes of skipping include rain, the use of the flashlight, and characters separated into the distance. This is perhaps the most disheartening flaw of the Director's Cut as the original ran smoothly, thus PS3 users still get the short end of the stick. As for other visual elements, although texturing has been given a bit of polish (leaves no longer look like glued-together green cornflakes, they now look like glued-together green cornflakes with a bit of detail) the game still gives off the feeling of an outdated last gen title.
The next advertised improvement to the Director's Cut is its combat. As I haven't experienced any nuances in aiming and firing, and I've never tried the original 360 version, it can be safely concluded that whatever problems that had existed have been dealt with. Even still, improved combat doesn't make for fun combat. These sections are the parts you’ll look forward to the least. The existential ghouls provide little in challenge and the choice of arsenal merely dictates how long each encounter will last. Eventually the game adds QTE scenarios, hide & seek, and towards-the-screen chase scenes but these quickly wear out in their ingenuity. Everything collapses to the redundant exploration of maze-like corridors. Keeping track of how many more "clues" to collect in a stage will become a common process as you'll already want the whole thing to be over as soon as it begins.
But it's not the battles that give Deadly Premonition its allure. It's when you're not busy effortlessly fending off otherworldly threats that you get to savor the experience of getting to know Greenvale and its citizens. The tale in itself has always been eccentric but it's the townspeople, the situations, and being placed in their ever thriving, rural sandbox world that brings out the signature storytelling.
Through sidequests, collecting cards, and exploring locations, staying topside is the segment you want to last as long as possible before having to jump back into the "survival horror" saddle. Come the resolution of the Raincoat Killer mystery, you'll already feel a bit resentful that it has to end. For some, saying goodbye to the town of Greenvale may be something they'll never be ready to take up.
Aside from newly added cutscenes, Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut is a technical mess that doesn't follow through on its promised improvements, often creating more than what plagued the original. The game still stands as a conundrum as it continues to exhibit its identity crisis towards the kind of game it wants to be. As a survival horror title it barely lives up to the definition but as an open world romp it has its teeth sunk in but, like with all sandbox titles, it can't stay afloat on exploration alone. Despite the flaws, there's a wonderful story lying in wait and those that give the game a chance will at least be rewarded in experiencing a unique narrative that is still like no other.