Game Review #534: Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise (Nintendo Switch)
Updated: Aug 10
Review By: WoodmanFLG
Developer: Toybox Inc
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Category: Horror, Mystery, 3rd person Shooting.
Release Date: 7.10.2020
Watch the Trailer
Buy Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
A moment in time
SWERY is quite the dude, and it really shines through in the series he is best known for, Deadly Premonition. Coming at a time where survival horror was still a bunch of Resident Evil 4 analogues, in terms of its general combat, Deadly Premonition was not much different, but where this game shined was in atmosphere and characters. Widely regarded as pretty much Twin Peaks the video game, Deadly Premonition almost felt like David Lynch was involved. It's wild how closely it feels like that (I even watched the first, hour and a half long episodes of it after playing a few hours of this game, just to see how similar it is, and good lord, it sure is).
I haven’t personally played the first one extensively, just a couple hours as well as watching some let’s plays, but I certainly know the legacy it left. The game was held back commercially due to some poor gameplay decisions, and a general janky design that already felt a little dated by the time it came out. The game became a cult classic as the years went by, developing its own community and following that loved this game. After all these years, we are finally getting a sequel, but is it doomed to commercial failure, or have the developers figured out they had something good, that with some polishing, could be great? Let's delve more into Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise!
This is it Zach, they are reviewing my game!
In this sequel and prequel, the main character is famed FBI Agent Francis York Morgan, but call him York, that's what everyone calls him, and boy howdy, is he quite the character. Dropping movie references every chance he can, or maybe waxing poetic on the application of technology that is new in 2005 in the future, in this entry, he will not hesitate to let you know how something just happened makes him realize this is the “Deep South”, and in general is the kind of guy you might worry about. Compounding matters, he can often be found talking into his coffee, or his favorite, his good friend Zach, who he would appreciate you not asking about, for it is a very personal matter.
York isn’t the only character you will run into in this game however, it's a world full of interesting characters, from the sheriff who can’t resist trying to frame each and every situation like the movie trailer for a summer blockbuster, or the Chef, Concierge, Bellboy, and owner of the hotel York stays at who just all happen to look EXACTLY alike, but they insist are different people… and yet you never see them in the same room. Superstitious bowling grannies, voodoo experts who are named The Mirror, and more await you in the crazy world of Deadly Premonition - it's really unlike anything else. From intentionally awkward voice acting and writing, these characters get this strange grip on you because they tend to be very likable, quirks aside.
This game's present day sequel involves tracking down Morgan as he is now old, and nearly on his deathbed, because of new data from a case long since thought closed, that Morgan just happened to work on. It is through this framework that we end up in 2005 Le Carré, a small town in New Orleans, home of a string of serial murder cases that York happened upon while trying to enjoy his vacation. But somehow, York is the kind of man these things happen to congregate around. Now that we have an idea of what we are dealing with… Let's talk gameplay… which is where we get a little messy.
A Moment in time.
Somehow, this 2020 game comes right out the gate feeling like a launch title for the PS3 or Xbox 360. Textures don’t look good, things pop in really bad, and what I think might be the worst part, is that the open world honest to god runs at 10-15 frames per second, which is honestly a little unacceptable. I’m dealing with it, and still managing it, but it's kind of crazy to see a $50 game on a modern console run like this, especially considering its graphical fidelity. This game has so many moving parts, and some of it seems like it has very little impact besides just being another gauge or number to watch. Our boy York has to get sleep, he grows a beard, and gets BO. You have to get your clothes washed eventually unless you want to be in a dirty outfit.
It’s honestly quite bizarre some of the stats they decided to go with, but then you can also get, equip, and upgrade Voodoo trinkets that give more traditional RPG stats to your guns, or affect some of those more obtuse things like BO. The trinkets were a nice addition that I was happy to see, but it's hard to find some of the items to craft them with little to no direction. I played this game for a few hours, talking, progressing the story, and skateboarding around the town. Yes I said skateboard; poor York had his wonderful hybrid rental car stolen, and in its place the thief left a skateboard, and York, being the man he is, proceeded to ride it for 10 miles to his destination, and was just happy to explain how intuitive the process was. Some trinkets can affect your skateboard as well!
You also have access to a fast travel through Y-Vern, essentially someone's idea that is Uber, which of course prompts York to explain how great of an idea it is, and how it could one day put the cab industry nearly out of business. Anyway, I was starting to wonder when I would actually see some combat, and what I would be fighting. I’ve heard talks of wild dogs, alligators that come to the town and attack on sight, and I was even given a gun that shoots rubber bullets, the viciously named Mr. Alligator, to protect myself and solve a few simple puzzles.
Eventually, I got to the point where an ancient voodoo spirit appeared to me in a hotel, and gave me some cryptic oracles to get to my next destination, and one of them had me ending up at a diner/bowling alley to bowl a strike. There was an old superstitious woman who never let anyone play, but my quest got me to where I was planning how to stop her in her tracks, a Voodoo doll on her doorstep at the crack of dawn! I figured ok, i’ll sleep till late, and go out at like 4AM to put it there, no problem. It was then once I went outside, that things got REAL weird! With everything covered in red, from the skies to the light on the street, the quaint town of Le Carré has been turned into a dangerous hellscape. As I came to terms with this, tiny scissor wielding men come up through the streets, and at that point, York pulls out Mr Alligator, and the gun somehow fuses to his hand, pointed in a permanent trigger finger, and takes on a tree like appearance.
This however, is a good thing, as it is your “Psychogun”, allowing you to lock onto enemies and let loose homing bullets. I was completely blown away at this, in the best way possible. I began to lay into these never ending spawning enemies in front of the hotel for a good 10-20 minutes, just contending with the difficulties of combat at 10-15 frames per second, despite that I was enjoying the turn this game took. So far, I’ve only had combat at night, so I’m not sure if it will continue to evolve at this point, but it certainly makes night time treks a whole different beast. I’ll tell you what though, I had a glitch that made a sound the scissor men get stuck until I reset the entire system, and that was driving me insane.
A Laundry List of Activities
Even beyond this, you will also investigate crime scenes which is mostly just York talking aloud about the connotations of what evidence you examine, which breaks up running around from mission marker to mission marker completing quests quite well. You will also get some minor puzzle solving, moving around blocks and such to open new pathways. This game has a TON of minigames as well, ranging from bowling, to riding through the Bayou, or even challenges meant to be completed on your skateboard. Personally, the way that everything felt arbitrary in the stone skipping minigame just really did it for me, from the names of the various shaped rocks to York's reactions. There's a lot to do in this game, I just really wish it had a nice layer of polish on it, because as it is, I think the outside of this game is going to turn off a lot of players to the really cool and unique experience this game offers.
Zack… it’s time to wrap this review up.
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise is a hard one to rate, because it seems to be very purpose built to appeal to the growing fans of the first game, and almost like it's a little time capsule of the early days of the last generation. It's not very pretty graphically, it runs badly, especially in the open world area, and the charming writing and weird characters could VERY well be a turn off to the wrong person, rather than something perceived as endearing. I found myself laughing at how bad some things were, but found myself entranced by it, and wanting to see what crazy wacky thing the game would throw at me next.
I think if I was looking at this game objectively, completely, I would have to say this is maybe a 6, or a 6.5 on a 10 point scale, but for the people this was made for, you will get an experience that feels more like an 8 out of 10. I am going to meet it in the middle, and put it as a 7 out of 10, but with the recommendation to TRY it if nothing else, if you can. I really enjoyed this game, even with its numerous flaws, and maybe you will too! I would just love to see this series, and SWERY backed up with a triple A lineup, to see what he could really do with the support he deserves.
This lovely title has been patched! The frame rate in the open world areas is GREATLY improved and should help this game be more accessible by more people, if the frame rate turned you off before, check out the new patch! They have also altered some voice lines because they could have been viewed as transphobic via patching, and I’m glad to see SWERY actively in the community, listening to people and making this an even better game!
Score: 7/10 (But seriously, play it, you might fall in love with it)
Buy Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*A game code was provided for review purposes.