We analyze the sequel to the cult game Swery65, which returns to the fray with a thriller in which all the weight falls on its protagonist, Francis York Morgan. Exclusively for Nintendo Switch.
Deadly Premonition has a much higher recognition than that given by the notes in Reviews or even sales. The game from almost a decade ago, originating from Xbox 360 and that would later be released in other versions, did not have the acclaim of the press, but some analyzes, such as that 10 of Destructoid, put it on the radar. What did that game have to take such a note from Jim Sterling? Basically it had serious technical and playable issues, but it had a special charm. Special enough for many of us to get caught up in the history, of Francis York Morgan, of those unspeakable characters that crossed our path and, ultimately, of that more than tribute to Twin Peaks. Now comes a sequel announced unexpectedly, on a Nintendo Direct, as an exclusive Switch game. Are you able to maintain that special aura despite everything? Unfortunately, we think not.
When you talk about Deadly Premonition from a superficial point of view it is easy to fall into the bulk mistakes you make. They are evident, they are there and they are easily enumerable. Technically lacking, with performance issues, rough game system, poor variety of shootings. The grace of the game of Swery65 is, precisely, in everything that I offered you once you entered the work and assimilated that this terrible control of the vehicles was not going to change, and that the popping would be with us until the end of time . The plot of Greenvale, where a brutally murdered young woman appears, connects with Twin Peaks both in the way of developing the case and also in the construction of the characters. Many are easily identifiable. But that gave the game a unique personality. Francis York Morgan was a memorable character, who stood out above all, but was accompanied by characters also for remembrance. Even on side missions.
We say this because part of the charm of Greenvale has definitely been lost in the town of Le Carré, Louisiana, where the events of Deadly Premonition 2 take place. York is still a top-notch character, one of the best we remember. His personality, his comments, his attitude towards life, penetrates and captures you hopelessly. It is evident that the character has a lot of parody, and that is precisely why it works so well. One of the problems of Deadly Premonition 2, in fact, is that we have lost that cast of characters that were accompanying us on our journey. Those we know, such as the Clarkson family – where the murdered victim is – or especially Melvin and his daughter Patty, who despite being 10 years old will be our companion in the plot, work well and maintain interesting profiles. But the wealth of Greenvale has vanished, with secondary characters with little presence, with secondary missions that are barely discovered by new masterful villagers. Everything is reduced in excess.
We are in a soulless city, with less life and fewer surprises than Greenvale. If we compare it with the first part, it is mainly because we can only compare it with the first part. What made Deadly Premonition special – part of it – has been fading, and the overall experience suffers. Obviously it does. Because we are not going to buy Deadly Premonition 2 for the graphics, neither for the shooting mechanics or for the dungeons of the other world. We will do it for the world and what surrounds us. And there are great virtues, but also minor defects.
The plot revolves around the death of a young woman who is part of the Clarkson family, a family that has dominated absolutely everything in the town for more than 100 years. Something interesting about her, besides how York develops the case and how she interacts with each element and character, is that the structure of Greenvale changes somewhat. Here we quickly know who is the material author of the murder, but not everything behind it. And that, at least in our case, has caught us. It does not have the tension of the first part, nor the appearances of intriguing characters every two by three, it is much more mundane, but we move forward connecting with the plot until we reach certain positive script turns on the one hand, and with an improvable outcome.
It all starts, in fact, with two agents, Aaliyah Davis and Simon Jones. We are in 2019 and they are questioning a decrepit Morgan, terminally ill and totally passed out. Davis believes that Morgan has something to do with the 2005 murder in Le Carré and that it bears similarities to that of Greenvale, so we will start by questioning, investigating leads, and it will be Morgan who will narrate what happened in 2005. True Detective. These temporary jumps happen in each chapter, they help build two visions of the case and they are interesting, although unfortunately the character of Aaliyah Davis does not end up exploding as we expected during the first half of the game.
When we go back to 2005, the protagonist is Francis York Morgan. With its almost divine clairvoyance and its extreme rarity in the eyes of others. After analyzing a crime scene, York comes to the “only conclusion” that the prints on the lamp in the room can only mean that the suspect who has taken the victim’s body is three meters tall. It is at that moment when Patty tells him that there is no one of this stature, and when York responds: “Have you seen all the human beings in the world in the first person?” This is York. Able to convince you of anything, even that the Deus Ex Machina that are happening at certain times to redirect the investigation make all the sense in the world.
But York cannot carry the weight of Deadly Premonition 2 on his own. He is a fundamental pillar as he was in the first part, it is still wonderful to have it on screen, but nuances have been lost. His cinephile ramblings and almost always series B while we were driving have been diluted and now, since the means of transport is a skateboard, the same phrases are repeated constantly. His visions are not there, and his talks with Zach (if you do not know who he is, we recommend playing the first part) have also lost steam. If we add to this that the cast of characters around us has been reduced and not all are as special as in the past, development ends up suffering. Because we will not fool ourselves either, the plot of the first game was not so much what, but how and with whom. And here, although in 2019 we have great characters, and in 2005 Patty is too, most of those linked to the case do not reach the level of Harry Steward, George Woodman, nor are there key characters in the connection of worlds – he also spends a lot of time on tiptoe on this- like the Ingram brothers.
Steps back where you could improve
The structure of the game almost always maintains the same format. We started in the present trying to learn more about Morgan and his true intentions, while once in 2005, at Le Carré we started by following a series of clues – usually facilitated by an oracle – that force us to inspect areas or search for certain objects. In the final stretch of each chapter we enter the other world to fight in dungeons with demons, reach recreations of the crime in question and end up fighting with some final boss to lead to new evidence on the case, which is also linked to a powerful drug and, of course, the red trees.
Development is almost lossless, the use of slots to research or go to sites has been reduced to its maximum expression, and the puzzles are conspicuous by their absence. Even in a moment where it seems that there is a puzzle to match three letters, York solves it alone and tells you what to put: “Won’t you think that you have to discover it yourself, or that it was a video game”.
So many times we are more in a Walking Simulator than in anything else, during the first part of the chapter. In dungeons and moments of action, we can shoot with a pistol and charge, using concentration, to shoot several at once. Although they have some labyrinthine element, they are quite simple, the enemies repeat themselves in excess – there are three types – and it is not too complicated, since we will always be loaded with ammunition, drinks and food to spare. That is another one, we have again mechanics of hunger or sleep, but they do not affect in a relevant way either.
Playable, in short, does not provide anything really interesting, and the dungeons, except the first, will end up making us somewhat long although in reality in absolute time they are not so much. Special mention of the final bosses, facilones, without great patterns or anything remarkable. Yes, the control has improved overall compared to the original game, resembling Origins, also available on Switch. The rest of the mechanics are in exploration, the use of concentration to identify points of interest and in building the case diagram and solving it at the end of each chapter. We also have some extra mini-games such as playing cabrilla, bowling, skateboard races or shooting tour by the river, which are entertaining but are not anything out of this world either.
As we said at the beginning, this is accompanied by a shortage of troubling interesting side quests. If we remember the first, we could exchange objects, we had to be aware of time slots and in return we received relevant rewards, such as the walkie talkie that allowed us to make quick trips, for example. Here, most sidequests are collecting items, killing a number of bees or other animals and the rewards are not necessary at all related to the development of the game and the fact of being able to finish it. So we forgot about interesting characters outside the plot. Within it, some are notable, such as those mentioned, but others could give more of themselves (such as the priest, the girl who establishes her own Uber in town or the seller of esoteric products …).
A disastrous open world
One of the big problems in the first game was control of the car, just disastrous. So in this installment we are going on a skateboard. More manageable and without so many turning problems, but that ends up being problematic. Not so much for the skateboard but for the open world. Le Carré is constantly backfiring, with serious framerate lows as we visit him outdoors and skateboard. Sometimes the image stopped half a second and we did not know if the game had crashed or entered a video scene. Popping, characters that appear two meters away and saw teeth are other obvious problems at a graphic level for a game that is technically worse than the first part. All this with certain artistic changes in the line of the characters, which is also not convincing.
Regarding framerate drops, it could be argued that they do not affect moments of action, but this is not the case either. There is a chapter where we fight with the other world in the open air, and there the game suffers and we suffer. Not to mention the dock mode, where it really is painful to see moving while riding a skateboard. On laptop he still has falls but he does not go to so many stumbles. At the sound level, the more than notable voices in English are maintained and there are certain melodies from the first installment that are dropped from time to time, but the soundtrack does not have as much weight as in the past. The game, yes, comes with a good translation into Spanish.
Deadly Premonition 2 arrives with the intention of maintaining that special aura that surrounded the first part, although it is far from achieving it. Francis York Morgan is still one of those characters that any video game player should know, and is able to carry the weight of the game on his shoulders even in the worst moments. But with him alone it is not enough. The plot has certain script twists and interesting moments, yes. Unfortunately, much of the charm of the first installment has been lost along the way. Le Carré and its inhabitants do not have the Greenvale mystique, many of the details that enriched the original work have been reduced to the minimum expression and in general, we feel that we have lost more than cattle. All this, of course, accompanied by a grotesque technical section at many times and a rampant gameplay and little inspired by the action sections. The defender of Deadly Premonition surely will not have problems in finishing the game and enjoying what evokes him from the first part, he will smile often and in many moments he will nod his head saying that this is what he wanted; Although at the end of the journey, inside you will know that you are facing a much worse experience and that along the way you have lost too much of what made your predecessor unique.
- Francis York Morgan is one of the most memorable characters of recent times
- The occasional twist of script in the plot
- The moments of the current era (2019) and their characters
- Technically it’s a disaster, worse than the first one
- Uninteresting dungeons and poor final bosses
- We have lost many special elements from the first part: cast of memorable characters, interesting sidequests, dialogues …
- Le Carré does not have the charm, life and options of Greenvale
It can have acceptable elements and entertain, but in general it is an experience that will not leave a mark.