Deadly Premonition pt.1

Posted on Sun 08 January 2012 in video games

I've just started watching the Deadly Premonitions Let's Play and was surprised that I was instantly reminded of Alan Wake, another Let's Play I've watched quite some time ago. This impression was probably caused by the fact that they both base characters and other things on Twin Peaks, which I've unfortunately not seen yet (but I've made a mental note).

One of those things that heavily remind me of Alan Wake is the countless and almost annoying references to coffee. They are everywhere. In Alan Wake they mostly took a backseat, which was more subtle and in my opinion preferable. Deadly Premonition, however the hero is quite picky about his coffee. It's even explicitly mentioned in some of the intro dialogue. And it's a dedicated game mechanic / gimmick mixture used to "tell your fortune". Which, according to the LPer, has no practical use at all. Don't you love it when that happens?

Based on what I've seen until now the rest of this post will be a mixture of notes (mind you I'm just at the beginning of the LP, having only watched the first two of 36 parts).

  • The moment the LPer introduced the watcher to the hotel room, I was instantly intrigued by the mirror, since I know that there's not a lot of games with this attention to detail which also go to a certain length to implement a proper mirror image. On the other hand though, I was disappointed later when it was shown that the mirror image is there for a reason: You are able to shave in this game, determining the looks of the hero. Don't get me wrong here. I think the whole shaving idea is a bit strange, but well intended. I was just sad that the mirror wasn't there just for its own sake.
  • What the hell is wrong with the typography? Who decided that those strange symbols I didn't even recognize at first were exclamation marks? The exclamation marks are diagonal. That is distracting as I mistook them for slashes earlier, which led to some confusion on my part. A bit of a clearer font would have helped too. I think this is probably just sloppy, but how did this kind of typographical design flaw make it through QA?
  • A scene I find to be particularly funny is York (the hero) checking out the victim's diary. "You can learn quite a lot from a diary", he says. Still, the content of said diary is quite cryptic, which is probably the point. I guess.
  • The deciphering of micro-expressions and reading of signs as well as the whole "puzzling together the case" mentality reminds me of Criminal Minds. That is good, because I like Criminal Minds. A lot.

  • I chuckled a little at the crazy scene with the insanely huge dining room with the enormous table though there were only two people in the room. (I'm talking about the breakfast in the formerly great hotel.) The hero and his hostess almost had to shout in order to understand each other since they sat so far apart.

  • It's a nice attention to detail to give every possible failure option ("Game Over") its own little death animation. That is the level of detail that I find intriguing. I feel similar for games who try to implement unique icons for every single item they use instead of just class based ones. A bad example would be: "This is a potion. All potions look the same way although they have different effects. All potions come in suspiciously small bottles with green labels and are blue liquid."

The strangest thing for me was York's manner of talking to Zach though. Who was Zach? Why was York always explaining things to him or asking him questions? And moreover: Why didn't the LPer acknowledge that this was weird? It was not until a while later when York was asking Zach for a decision that I realized that Zach was basically the game's way of communicating with the player. It's not quite a way of breaking the fourth wall but nevertheless the game tries to integrate the player into the action. Fascinating.

Now on to the next session.

PS: Thanks to the LPer for showing "What If" scenarios.