Preview: Deadly Premonition: Director's Cut comes with fixes – but with equal parts of weird
One of the most delightful appointments I had a couple of weeks ago at the Game Developers Conference was a stop by Rising Star Games, where I had a chance to talk with Hidetaka Suehiro, aka "SWERY", about his cult classic Deadly Premonition. Released in 2010 for Xbox 360, this game defined "weird" in every sense of the word, whether it was the strange animations, the off-the-wall gameplay (controlling a car was like driving a bar of soap across a wet bathroom floor), or the bizarre Twin Peaks-esque story you were trying to resolve.
He has a fine appreciation for the game, so when Rising Star asked him to come back to work on a "director's cut" for PlayStation 3, he much obliged. And this was one of the rare cases where he actually listened to feedback from his fans, and put a number of improvements into this version to make it the "definitive" one. But don't worry – there's still plenty of oddball behavior to go around.
If you missed the game the first time around, here's the story – a detective named Francis York Morgan called into the city of Greenvale to solve the murder of a young woman named Anna Graham. But the answers aren't so cut and dry, especially when sinister demon forces are lurking about. Soon York finds himself fighting for his life, as he continuously runs into zombies and other terrors as he seeks the truth.
Like I said, this game redefines weird. But that's what kind of makes it so special. Again, though, "SWERY" has made a number of tweaks to make this the "better" version. For instance, the action controls are a lot more fluent, as the player has the opportunity to map controls however they see fit, whether they prefer a general play style or the odd Xbox 360 control set-up. The fact you now have a lock-on in combat is quite helpful, as you can keep a bead on your enemies or target a nearby exploding barrel to take them out.
In order to question witnesses, you'll need to take your time tracking down particular people at specific times – they follow a schedule for some reason – and activate a few things in order to move ahead in some areas. You'll also do a bit of driving, but the gameplay is a little better here too, instead of letting you slip all over the road, ready for an accident.
That's not all. "SWERY" and his team have also put in the time to give Deadly Premonition a visual upgrade. The game still looks very familiar to the original so don't worry about that. However, the player models are a step above the previous game, not looking so obviously fake this time around. The PS3 version also supports 3D, if your TV equipment supports it, so you can take it in another dimension.
Finally, "SWERY" has expanded the game with extra content. Along with a new introduction that gives you a little more background on Anna, you'll have access to a number of items via downloadable content, including a house for York to buy in-town, as well as cars and outfits that let you define your own style. There's a small price for these, or you can unlock a good deal of it by pre-ordering the game from your local retailer.
We're glad to see "SWERY" hasn't swayed too much from his strange vision with the original game, instead expanding the director's cut of Deadly Premonition in a direction it needs to go. And the extras sound nice, even if there are instances where you'll still scratch your head, wondering what's going on. Relax – that's a good thing. And you'll see for yourself later this month when the game ships in both physical and digital forms.