Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise Review – A Messy Wonder

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: Open World Survival Horror
 
Rating: MA15+
 
Release Date: 10/07/2020
 
Overall
 
 
 
 
 
2/5


 

Positives


- Francis York Morgan is still a fantastic not-Kyle Maclachlan
- The story is genuinely intriguing and the characters quirky and interesting

Negatives


- The technical performance is the only horror you’ll find here - Le Carre is largely empty and bland - Writing can be poor in spots - Mechanics and controls are average at best


Posted July 8, 2020 by

 
Full Article
 
 

When Deadly Premonition released all the way back on the Xbox 360 it was unlike any game that had come before it. Heavily influenced by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, the game was filled with an absurdist quality that mystified those who played it. The game was extremely polarising, with players either loving or despising the weird game that was filled with jank and technical issues. It certainly wasn’t a game you expected to see get a sequel, but here we are over 10 years later taking control of Francis York Morgan once more. What I found upon playing Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise was Swery once again at his peak with weird and wonderful characters, an engaging story, but mediocre gameplay mechanics and utterly deplorable technical performance.

Deadly Premonition 2 serves as both a sequel and prequel to the first game, which might sound confusing on paper but makes immediate sense in game. Back with our favourite FBI Agent years after the events of the first game, he is being interviewed about what transpired during an earlier case he was a part of. The game periodically flashes back to the events of this past case, which is where you’ll take control of good old Yorkie in the town of Le Carré, Louisiana. In the last, York Morgan is exactly the weird and wonderful character you’ve come to know and love, with weird tangential utterances and soliloquies, and an acceptance of the supernatural that beggars belief. The towns folk of Le Carre are similarly filled with personality, be it the weird multi-faceted David Jawara or your sudden assistant Patricia Woods. There’s a perfect mix of absurdity and genuine intrigue in Le Carré that more than makes up for the significantly less engaging present day sections, occasionally poor writing and often terribly stilted voice acting, but not the problematic representation of minorities that occurs at multiple spots through the game.

Indeed, the town of Le Carré is where you’ll spend the vast majority of your time in Deadly Premonition 2. Be that taking in the sights, jumping in to the accessible mini-games or investigating the grizzly murder that holds you there. Much like the first game and Shenmue before both of them, the residents and attractions of Le Carré run on a schedule. While it helps to add a certain atmosphere and believability to the town, it often feels like a deliberately ploy to artificially extend the game given how incredibly slowly time progresses, especially if you end up in a situation where you need to wait multiple days to be able to tackle a gated objective. Thankfully, there’s a myriad of mini-games you can take part in like bowling that help to pass the time, while being pretty fun in their own right. Even if getting to them on your skateboard can be a bit of a chore at points.

Beyond the minigames and the people, the town of Le Carré is, well, utterly lacklustre. The town itself is pretty sparse and empty, with building and props that are largely pretty bland to look at. It also doesn’t help that the technical performance of the game while in Le Carré is deplorable. Whether you’re sprinting or riding your trusty skateboard, the game’s frame rate wildly jumps between low and slow, to constantly hitching and stopping for almost a whole second at a time. Simply moving the camera around can often be enough to send the frame rate cratering as you move. Trees are massive, blurry messes with no defined leaves or limbs until you’re within a few meters of them as well, while the heinous shimmering artifacts found on most jagged edges in the game are a sight to behold. All of these issues are also present within cutscenes, while the game’s stiff animations certainly don’t help either. Include the multiple game crashes I faced during my time as well, and you get an idea of just how badly the game performs.

The other activity you’ll find yourself taking part in while in Le Carré is combat. Much like the first game, Deadly Premonition 2 is still a survival horror game at heart. The shooting mechanics are improved on the first game, to the point where they feel decidedly average, instead of making the experience worse, but some of the overall magic is lost. I never felt that same edge that I did in the first game. I was never really in a situation where I was truly low on supplies or in a difficult position. Instead, from the get go, I was laden with more resources than I ever needed, and enemies dropped plentiful bounties of items whenever they were killed. The tension is just completely gone and I desperately miss it.

Overall, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise is exactly the game you expected it would be. A largely broken and mechanically mediocre game that manages to somewhat redeem itself thanks to its quirky characters and engaging story. If you’re able to look past the game’s many faults, you’ll certainly find an interesting story to experience. Otherwise, you’re likely to be left totally underwhelmed.

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise was reviewed on a regular Nintendo Switch console, with a review copy provided by Nintendo. 


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.