Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise retains the charm of the original, but suffers from a considerable downgrade in the overall quality.
The original Deadly Premonition was a cult hit, a weird game that took a lot of inspiration from two other cult classics, namely, Twin Peaks and Silent Hill. Despite its gameplay and graphics’ relatively low quality, it still possessed a certain charm thanks to its unique blend of weirdness, oddly likable characters, and gripping events.
After ten long years, we get the frankly unexpected sequel – Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise on the Nintendo Switch, which is kind of fitting, actually.
Ugly Murder in the Beautiful American South
Deadly Premonition 2 is both a sequel and a prequel. The main plot is set a few years before the event of the original game, in the sunny city of Le Carre, Louisiana. There, FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan (you can call him York) and his trusty partner Zach are investigating a grisly murder of a young girl. They are aided by a seemingly benevolent spirit who guides them to the next clue, and a sassy young girl who befriends York.
York’s investigation takes place before the events of the original game. The sequel part follows two other FBI agents interviewing ex-Agent Morgan, who’s on death’s door after the first game’s traumatic events. The agents are looking to learn of the mysterious happenings in Le Carre, but serve more as a framing device for the bulk of the game.
The story and characters are the best things about Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise, as you’d expect from a game by SWERY. He has a knack for making memorable games with humor and horror.
The characters do a great job drawing you into SWERY’s world. Every person you meet is unique and bizarre, from Le Carre’s hotel “staff” and the local police officer who narrates events like a movie trailer, to the unlikely duo of FBI agents who keep talking about Nietzsche and pizzas while interviewing York.
The plot is just as twisted and violent as the original’s, involving murder, conspiracy, and a dangerous drug circulating the American South. It deals primarily with Le Carre’s societal structure and the wealthy family that controls the city and is somehow connected to the murder.
All Dressed up With Nothing to Do
But a game needs more than a good story, and here is Deadly Premonition 2 it drops the ball. While the first game wasn’t a masterpiece by any definition, it still had tolerable gameplay that moved the plot along. Meanwhile, Deadly Premonition 2’s gameplay is just plain bad.
There is only a single type of gun in the game – an ordinary pistol with a lock-on mechanic that I instantly forgot existed. There are only six types of enemies, half of which are just animals, and none of them pose any real threat. And just as many bosses who are also mind-numbingly easy to beat. As a result, the combat sections are just dull and feels like a waste of time.
Besides the combat, there’s exploration. This time York doesn’t have a car anymore and uses a skateboard to get around town. A skateboard that is dreadfully slow and isn’t upgradable in any way as far as I noticed.
Le Carre itself feels empty and doesn’t have any exciting pastime activities except for a few underwhelming minigames or talking to characters. The only ray of light is York’s inner-dialogue while traversing the world that is pretty interesting if you like movie history.
Deadly Premonition 2 does have an upgrade system that allows you to craft talismans to increase the agent’s abilities. However, the system itself is mostly unnecessary due to how easy the game is, and requires grinding to get more slots and better items.
The game’s length is around 20 hours, though that can vary depending on whether you decide to do the side missions or skate straight to the ending.
20 Is the New 60
And now, we need to talk about the abysmal graphics. The models themselves all look outdated even for a PlayStation 2 game. The framerate somehow stutters and plunges to below 20 FPS in the overworld despite the bad graphics.
Worse of all are the infuriatingly long loading times that make avoid entering or exiting areas if you don’t have to, severely ruining the game’s exploration aspect.
The sound department is slightly better. The voice actors give an absolutely stellar performance, especially York’s voice actor, Jeff Kramer. The music is alright, though nothing comes close to the “memorable” main tune of the first game (I’m still whistling it after all these years). You will, however, have the gritty sound of York’s skateboard fraying your nerves.
What Are You Thinking, Zach?
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is a sequel that, for some reason, skipped on the few decent gameplay features of the original and ended up worse in every regard.
I cannot recommend it to anyone but ardent fans of Deadly Premonition or SWERY’s work, who will likely play the game regardless of its quality. Those of you who are new to the series should start with the original, also available on the Switch, and see if they can excuse the lousy gameplay for the sick, sad but often unintentionally hilarious world the developers created.
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Release Date: Jul. 10, 2020
Genre: Survival Horror
Available On: NS
Reviewed On: NS
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