It tends to be the Japanese auteurs who are held in high regard in the world of gaming; Hideo Kojima, Shigeru Miyamoto, Suda51, and, of course, SWERY. There’s no doubt about it; he’s a fantastic storyteller – as seen in 2020’s Deadly Premonition 2 on the Nintendo Switch.
The absurdity, quirky characters and oddball deliveries, which I still maintain are the closest things to the original House of the Dead 2 in terms of dialogue performance, are, at best, divisive. You’re either going to love or hate it and as a veteran gamer familiar with how bad some of these ‘retro’ games can be, I loved it.
In short, Deadly Premonition 2 is a prequel and sequel. Do you need to have played the first? I don’t know – never played it. However, there’s so much depth to this game, and value, even if it does feel like filler, that there’s enough exposition to fill in the cracks. Even if nothing was explained, protagonist Francis York Morgan is arguably one of the greatest videogame characters…ever.
He’ll lure you in if you’re of a certain age or have a penchant for 80s cinema. The film Cat People motivated his reasoning for being in Le Carré, New Orleans. Not seen it? Seek it out. In almost the same breath, he says that Blue Thunder is Malcolm McDowell’s best film, not A Clockwork Orange. Then again, he anticipates that Michael Bay’s The Island is the catalyst for a long line of island-based movies. This is 2005, by the way.
York’s purpose in Le Carré is of importance, though. A young girl has been murdered, which he is investigating, and with this being New Orleans, voodoo plays a part. Deadly Premonition 2 is parts Twin Peaks, True Detective, and any other low-key HBO series you might have seen; only none of them have York. He’s truly brilliant.
Besides collecting evidence, bending an NPCs ear about a cult movie and some surreal gunplay, this is very much an open-world adventure to navigate at your own pace. Notoriously, York moves around La Carré using a skateboard, and like its Switch counterpart, it’s choppy. However, while Deadly Premonition 2 got slated on the Switch for the poor frame rates and early patch to address some of the issues, I never once had it crash on me. Opting for the PC version the minute I heard it was out, I’ve had multiple crashes – notably where York would disappear through the floor.
While a little excessive on the autosaves, there was never a moment of losing all hope, a.k.a. progress, but without a dedicated exit menu, you have to press the windows key and exit that way. That’s not the first unaccommodating thing: Deadly Premonition 2 PC is exclusively controller only. I don’t have a problem with that, though I would have preferred the option, but one of the biggest issues with the game that I haven’t seen anyone else mention is the lack of registering an action.
This isn’t lag, but walking to a door and pressing B (the controls mirror the Switch controls) won’t commit. Sure, you can move York around – there’s no delay, but when interacting with anything, you sometimes have to repeatedly press the action button to get a response. It reminded me of Pendula Swing, where walking away and returning to the point of interest was the only way to proceed.
Deadly Premonition 2 is much sharper on the PC, naturally, but there aren’t any additional settings you can manipulate. Again, I’m fine with this, but when I was checking to see if anyone else had this button registering issue (yes, I tried a different controller – the connection would frequently drop in this game and no other), it was evident that a lot of people expected keyboard and mouse support, plus visual tweaks. I knew about the controller side of things from the start, and it does state it on the Steam page, so be mindful of that.
You may think this is a bit rash, but I’d recommend the Switch version of Deadly Premonition 2 over the PC in a heartbeat. As per my original review, it never crashed on me once, and I could enjoy the story with little distraction, unlike on the PC. The fact that the latter crashed three or four times in the first couple of hours made it clear that it needs some work, but based on previous updates, I doubt it’ll happen. It’s a shame as Deadly Premonition 2 is such a unique experience. I love it, but it’s tricky to recommend without knowing the other person’s tastes. However, I won’t recommend the Steam version unless some of these issues are ironed out (crashing, getting stuck in the floor, not being able to interact with anything). Best stay with the Switch version or some Let’s Plays.