Can you believe it, Zach? Deadly Premonition is getting a sequel. Not only that, but the first game has been revived on Nintendo Switch. I was a huge fan of the original 10 years ago, and this was perhaps the most shocking announcement I’ve ever seen in a Nintendo Direct. I had accepted the game as a one-of thing, and never even considered a sequel after the director had moved on. I should have known, Zach. Directors never move on. The coffee warned me about this.
NS stood for Nintendo Switch all along. It wasn’t Nova Scotia or Non-Smoker. To think I almost gave up smoking just for that. That was a close one, Zach. I’m going to use this opportunity to explain what makes Deadly Premonition so good, and what’s so exciting about the second game.
Who’s Zach? This is a sensitive subject. Agent York’s best friend who may or may not be real. He keeps him company while driving and acts as a vessel to advance the narrative. You can hear interesting conversations while driving, and sometimes York will outright ignore real people in the game to ask Zach what he thinks. It’s an interesting dynamic, but they get along. York himself is an FBI agent with an unconventional way of thinking that helps him solve crimes. He’s not perfect, with his coffee and cigarette addictions, but he uses his flaws to his advantage to settle into this strange town and approach the case with a clear head.
Welcome to Greenvale, a small town with a big personality. Everyone goes about their day on their own schedule. Everyone here is also quite strange, but they’ve gotten used to each other, and their bizarre behavior is passed off as normal. We’re going to meet somebody in an hour who will help us with the murder investigation, but until then we have some time to kill. What should we do, Zach? We could go into the bar, talk to a few people and potentially get more info on the town and the case. We could drive around and talk about our favourite movies. We could also go for a brisk walk and enjoy the scenery. What’s that, a trading card collectible just sitting on the ground? Maybe somebody lost it. I’ll pick it up just in case.
The graphics might not look as good as a big budget world like Forza Horizon or GTA, but it’s a hell of a lot more interesting and mysterious. Driving around a small town fills the mind with thoughts, rather than advertising and noise. Hmm, that reminds me Zach. We should check the crime scene again.
This is a very “quiet” game that gives you a lot of space to think and act. There is a main story path but often you’ll find yourself with downtime between missions. You can take on sidequests or just explore town and say hello to people. The schedules in this game are very robust and organic, so even if you’re not looking for anything you have a good chance of bumping into someone. The townsfolk visit the shops, bars, local attractions, and you’ll even see them driving around. If this is too much, you can just go to sleep and pass the time.
The soundtrack gets its personality from original music instead of licensed songs. All the music here is composed for the game and vastly unique, from the sombre piano of a sad event to the welcoming jazzy guitar chords of a good conversation. It goes in different extremes but keeps the same bizarre values throughout, with very good production quality and a few songs that are enjoyable to play on guitar, or piano if you are so inclined. The game does not push technical graphic boundaries, but it certainly pushes the boundaries of creativity and makes the experience a lot more wholesome than a big budget game with a bad story.
So why should we be hyped for Deadly Premonition 2? This is why.
It looks amazing. The detail and lighting here is such a huge step up from the flat Deadly Premonition graphics we had gotten used to. The outside areas still don’t look state of the art, but it’s definitely more active. You can see more people on the streets walking around, and more objects and cars in general. Hopefully they improve the car physics but I’ll be fine with the jank if so. My only wish is that you can still toggle the windscreen wipers manually. This is one of those charming small features in the first game that most dedicated car games don’t even bother with. I enjoy this much more than a 4k texture.
What else do we know? The original voice actor is back. Agent York is his true self with the great talent of Jeff Kramer there to back it up. This is one of the strongest aspects of the game, it just wouldn’t be the same without York’s dry yet intriguing delivery. The music is mostly unknown, but there was a fantastic song shown in the amazing release date trailer. This song has a great composition and interesting lyrics. A brand new name shows up here, Satoshi Okubo. Never heard of him? Well maybe you’ve played Hotel Dusk, which had a fantastic soundtrack he worked on. Deadly Premonition shares a similar mystery detective vibe and this feels like the perfect fit. Now I’m really glad that I put “TO BE CONTINUED” at this end of this short story I wrote in 2011, featuring Agent York and Kyle Hyde from Hotel Dusk. It has somehow manifested into reality through this composer. You’re welcome.
Deadly Premonition is a special game that offers a style of narrative that doesn’t really exist anywhere else, the closest thing would be the Twin Peaks TV series. It’s out now on Nintendo Switch and the sequel is coming out on July 10. With so many possibilities, I’m very excited to see where the story goes.
Will this be a strike? Side hit? Gutter ball? The suspense is killing me.