Deadly Premonition pt.3

Posted on Tue 17 January 2012 in video games

Recently I've completed watching the Deadly Premonition LP. Of course I haven't sat through all remaining 26 parts at once but I came around it during several days. Since bullet points are inherently evil I will try to reduce their usage in this post. Of course, dear reader, that doesn't save you from the random thoughts I scribbled down in no particular order during watching said LP.

Scenes

Deadly Premonition has lots of funny, terrible and otherwise rememberable scenes. I took notes nevertheless.

The doctor's profiling

I forgot to mention one scene I found to be quite cool in the last article: During the autopsy the doctor tries to his own little profiling bit in deducing the suspects motives. I was kind of startled why the doctor would be the one doing the profiling and not Agent York. This was subverted when York interrupted him and started to explain that he was all wrong. Also I was reminded once again of Criminal Minds.

Dinner discussion

The discussion at dinner started in a really innocent way but ended up pretty awesome when York explained disgusting details of his work to the local policemen (and -women). The review over at destructoid.com takes this as proof that York is insane. I'd argue that. He just obviously either doesn't know or doesn't care what might get people to feel bad. This is the kind of humor that the game displays over and over again. You might like it. If you do, this might be the game for you.

LP-Bot

When supergreatfriend (the LPer) first introduced his idea of LP-Bot when replaying a previously visited combat area in order to gain an item only achieved by doing this I found the idea quite funny. I don't blame sgf for not wanting to talk through about 20-40 minutes of doing the same thing again. However I found the computer generated voice to be quite annoying during the second revisited combat area and found myself skipping it and the following ones. Still I wonder why sgf decided to insert timestamps that point out the ends of the combat areas during the first run of those sequences but not during the revisit. I definitely would've welcomed them.

On animations

Deadly Premonition features some truly bad animations. There's Quint who's waving around a tablet with drinks and food on it like it's a sheet of paper. There's Emily who obviously enjoys taking her drinks through her ears. The highlight is the general who's sitting in front of his chair, in the thin air. He's so cool, he doesn't actually need the sun chair. On the other hand he's so far removed from reality that he seemingly doesn't need anything.

Recycling

There's quite a bit of recycling going on. I'd argue that normally you wouldn't be able to tell but since I've sat through the game only watching and not playing in quite a short time repeating patters became very obvious. For example Agent York always uses his same catchphrase to introduce himself. He also uses the same animation when doing so. Another animation that gets repeated often is the finger-pointing-upward-to-highlight-his-point thing. The same phrase about "vital piece" is always used when profiling the first time without hints.

Immersion breakers

It's a common situation that the game's atmosphere is hampered severely by its technology. If York rushes to another room to check on a possible victim it's an incredibly immense immersion (hurray for alliterations) breaker when the game goes from cutscene to loading screen to cutscene. Loading screens happen far too often in situations such as this. Many scenes which are key to the story are introduced by loading screens. It's just no good saying something needs immediate attention and then throw a loading screen at the player.

Ingame spoilers

As sgf mentioned a few times the game is really bad when it comes to foreshadowing and spoilering plot events. Some of the trading cards have obvious spoilers and are obtainable at a point where they may ruin the experience and surprises of future events. The chapters' names are terrible, telling you almost exactly what to expect. True, there are unexpected plot twists, some good, some bad but that doesn't make up to the game trying to clue you in on things that you ought to find out trough investigating and not reading them on mysterious collectibles.

Impatient Passengers

York's passengers being impatient when changing cars or generally just exiting the car seems to be an element where I expect there being a compromise during development. When exiting your current vehicle your passenger(s) will tell you that they'll be waiting at the next location the plot considers important. You will never be able to change your vehicle without them rushing away. I'm not sure if this is in order for the NPCs to keep their schedules intact or to avoid writing situation based dialogue for your companions.

Additonal notes

  • Boxes have a hard life in Deadly Premonition. They either get pushed around or smashed.
  • I had some issues with playback of the downloaded files from blip.tv on my iPad. Neither streaming nor downloading delivered a satisfiable result, so I had to use either GoodPlayer to sideload the files or Air Video to live-convert and stream them. While doing so was no problem, it was a problem that the devs of GoodPlayer stopped providing changelogs hid them quite well in the release notes.
  • Everyone loves the magic FBI poncho, right? Like all magic rain ponchos it automagically appears when there's rain and disappears on sunny days. Additional editions for other agencies are currently in discussion.
  • "I think Emily should know that Agent York takes as long as he needs. Or longer" - sgf

I've noticed that I still have notes left so I'll be revisiting the topic of Deadly Premonition again in the near future.