Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Access Games
Medium: Blu-ray Disc
Back in the days of the Sega Dreamcast, Shenmue was the be-all, end-all of open world games, and one team of developers wanted to one up this saga but in the survival horror genre. The unfortunate demise of the Dreamcast not only denied the world of Shenmue 3, but its competition that was to be named Deadly Premonition. Leave it to the spiritual successor, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, to dust off this relic and bring the survival horror/”Shenmue Killer” to gamers nearly a decade later in 2010. While the game was initially bashed for not really propelling itself above Dreamcast visuals and game play, the game did find itself a nice cult following (this editor included) with its Twin Peaks like storytelling and massive open world not yet seen in a survival horror title before or since.
Fast forward to 2013 and the game finds life yet again like some kind of Lost Ark/Frankenstein monster that won’t die even in the face of god awful reviews. So with Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut the developers moved onto the PS3 and included a few new extras such as cut scenes, game play tweaks, and even move controls. This aptly named Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut doesn’t do enough to really turn heads of any haters out there who couldn’t grasp it the first time around, but for those who enjoyed it will find improvements that will make a second play through more enjoyable.
The tale of Agent York and the town of Greenvale are still intact, and in this version there is even more of the story to see. While it is all in the form of story scenes of the game rather than additional levels, it all ends up like watching an extended version of the game. What remains is the same and strange murder that has happened in Greenvale by the Raincoat Killer, Agent York and his voice in his head Zach, the huge area of exploration, the odd and unique cast of characters, and of course the offbeat music and poorly delivered voice acting that would make any B movie fan smile.
A couple of improvements are found in the game’s visuals for one. The textures have improved slightly as it has been given a 720p upscale, but to all good things seems to come the bad as the frame rate takes a hit. Now the game stutters more so than it did in the lower resolution version previously on the 360, which for this reviewer, is a worse experience as it’s not like the upscaling made the game look next gen or anything anyway.
Controls have also received a welcome improvement, now gone are the stiff and tank like controls of Agent York during fight sequences and are more forgiving and accurate, which is a good thing as you do fend off enemies a ton in this game. Another notable is that the game no longer has a difficulty setting and the game feels as if it is being played on what was the easy setting on the 360 version. This, however, is a good thing as the game had an unforgiving difficulty on harder settings and due to its length of over 20 hours benefits from this more enjoyable game play setting. The game does support PS Move controls, but they are forgettable as you will still find the game more appealing using the standard controls.
Overall while Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut may be the definitive version of everyone’s game they love to hate, it is not improved by leaps and bounds to the point of the 20 dollar hike in price over the Xbox 360 version. The visuals, while better, make the game suffer from slowdown and still look extremely dated. The controls, while also improved are not so improved to the point of changing the minds of gamers who were turned away the first time around. The extras are, in my opinion, the biggest disappointment as they are just a few extra glimpses into the story, but without extra missions or length to the game play it just feels like deleted scenes that were added in for this version.
I still stand by my score as this is a game that is an experience, even if odd and insane at points, but that is also what makes this game so memorable. The game is grim, gruesome, and if you can get by the fact the game is now over a decade old, it is quite engaging. One thing is for sure, if this is your first time meeting Agent York, this is the version to play for sure. If you have already seen this once sleepy town of Greendale, there may be enough time that has gone by that you won’t be disappointed see it all over again. I know I enjoyed my 2nd play though, as it still shocks and awes me even now.