|Platform(s)||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3|
|Release date(s)||NA February 23, 2010
JPN March 11, 2010
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer online|
Deadly Premonition, known as Red Seeds Profile in Japan, is a survival horror video game developed by Access Games and published by Ignition Entertainment for the Xbox 360. It was released in North America on February 23, 2010 and in Japan on March 11, 2010 along with the PlayStation 3 version with the name Red Seeds Profile.
The game puts the player in the role of a young FBI agent named Francis York Morgan who is investigating a murder outside the fictional American town of Greenvale. York happens to have an alternate personality—Zach—which the player can control at certain points in the game. The player is able to cover the town's eight kilometre diameter by foot or by car, and the game also features a day-and-night system with weather changes that will affect the visuals and several timed-events which supposedly changes direction of the story at some points.
Although the game was first announced as a multi-platform release under the name Rainy Woods during the Tokyo Game Show 2007, several gaming websites noted that the title shared strong similarities with the American television serial drama Twin Peaks. The comparison eventually led the developers to change the artistic direction of the game to have less similarity to the aforementioned David Lynch television series, effectively pushing back its release sometime during "mid to late 2009, maybe even 2010" according to a representative during July 2008.
On November 10, 2009, Ignition Entertainment announced Deadly Premonition would be receiving a North American release in early 2010 as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It was further specified that the game would retail within budget range, starting off through entertainment software retails for $19.99 in the United States.
Deadly Premonition has received several positive reviews from websites such as GameShark, AtomicGamer, and 1UP. It was even rewarded with a perfect score from Destructoid. IGN most notably gave the game a very poor review. To the contrary, the reader reviews at IGN have been very positive .
Deadly Premonition is not a traditional survial horror title but often compared to games such as Resident Evil and Silent Hill. It also bears similarites to the Grand Theft Auto franchise mostly in regards to free-roaming and traveling from one destination to the next. These free-roaming periods often take place between scheduled mission/plot periods and allow for most of the game's character development. The player controls Special Agent York for the majority of the game as he conducts his investigation. This often involves talking to the local population, finding clues, solving puzzles, and shooting zombies. There are also many side quests that involve collecting trading cards scattered about the map and helping the locals.
The following is a short list of game-play aspects that may be encountered between missions.
Driving: Since traversing the eight mile wide length of the game map would be a very long walk, it only makes sense that the player will end up using a vehicle to save time. The local Police force have been kind enough to supply York with a set of keys that give him access to the PD vehicles scattered around the town. Being that York is a man of the law, hijacking civilian vehicles or using any vehicles that aren't owned by the local Police force is simply out of the question, as is speeding. While it is possible to ram other cars and destroy some structures, this course of action is penalized in the form of fines that come directly out of the money the player collects through the course of the game, and in the form of deductions from the player's "Agent Honor" score, which fluctuates with various actions that can be performed in game, (collecting medals, completing objectives, ext.). Interesting things about driving a vehicle include, the ability to use the turn signals, use of the siren, and the ability to have York chatter to his imaginary friend about various movies he has seen.
Mini-Games: The game follows a progression of time similar to "GTA" titles, and the player will often be given a scheduled objective that they have to meet. To pass time between these scheduled objectives there are a few mini-games that can be played for various rewards, such as cash prizes, ammunition, consumables, and "Agent Honor" bonuses. The player can fish at designated spots near water sources around the town, and while it is strangely uncommon to actually catch any fish, the player can reel in a variety of useful items such as food, med-kits, and ammunition. If fishing is not their thing, the player can throw darts at the local bar, and win the occasional prize. If the player enjoys driving there are a few Circuit-Races to take part in, and predictably making a good time can mean a prize for the player.
Side-Quests: Aside from the main plot, the player can advance other story-lines in the game, which often leads to a better understanding of the folk inhabiting "Greenvale". The player can also pass time by searching for collectibles around the town.
Hunger/Fatigue: Just like a real person, York gets tired and/or hungry as time progresses, hunger can be solved by eating food, and fatigue can be combated by the obvious choice of taking a nap, or via the consumption of coffee or caffeinated soda drinks. York's hunger and fatigue affect his performance of various actions, and can mean life or death if the timing is particularly bad.
Zach: Playing as Zach takes the game in a completely different direction, and is what earns the "Deadly Premonition" a spot on the list of survival-horror games. Playing as Zach transports the player to another strange dimension that is inhabited by shades, and monsters, as well as creepy environments that will remind most gamers of the "Silent-Hill" series. This will often mean searching through creepy rooms for clues, combating strange monstrous beings, occasionally fleeing in a blind panic, or simply hiding until the monsters go away.
Hide-Mode: Those who played games such as "Clock-Tower" might recognize these periods in the game, and will find them to be very similar in their construction. The basic formula is often something like this; The player finds themselves in a room with only one available exit, and some horrific beast is outside clawing at the door with the clear intent of tearing the player limb from limb. Facing the foe head on will mean a quick and bloody demise, and the player will soon realize that the only logical course of action is to find a safe place to hide. There will often be at least three choices of hiding spots, that range from inventive, such as pressing oneself flat against the floor in order to squeeze into the narrow space beneath some large object, to suicidally idiotic, such as leaping into the cupboard that is in plain view of the evil killer via the massive hole it has just put in the door. Once the player has picked their spot, the screen becomes split into two windows, that show the predator's progress as it searches for its prey, which might at first seem like a pointless attempt at building false tension. However, even if the player feels safe, several things can still go wrong, such as the player forgetting that one of the game buttons serves the purpose of holding their breath(a surprisingly effective method of raising the suspense factor), or their heart-rate reaching a point so great that York/Zach is panicking and ruining any chance of stealthiness that might have been had. As one might expect, should an oversight occur, the killer either hears the panicked breathing of its prey, notices the uncontrollable twitching that comes with a state of mortal terror, or simply happens to check the exact spot where the player has decided to hide, it takes but a few quick movements, a scream and a splash of blood for the game to end prematurely, which results in the player having to endure the entire demented song-and-dance all over again.
Quirkiness: While it might not seem like a facet of game-play to most, the sum of the game's quirks is so large that it deserves a mention in its own right. The strange (sometimes inappropriate) music, York's chattering to his imaginary friend (sometimes within sight and earshot of other characters) and the various eccentricities of the town folk as well as York himself offer a surreal atmosphere for the player, and often lead to difficult questions regarding the sanity of everyone involved.