Deadly Premonition 2 Switch Review
Source: Screen capture

Whatever you’ve read, heard, seen or felt in your water, everything in this Deadly Premonition 2 Switch review is true: the frame rates and graphical flaws are dreadful.

However, the story is just so oddball, goofy and absurd, that I’ve struggled to put it down in the short time I’ve been playing it. Besides, as of yesterday, it received a patch. 

The big elephant in the room is the feeling that this is a budget PS2 game. Moving your character about is clunky, and he runs like he’s got cramps. The skateboarding elements feature dropped frames, and most actions stutter before execution. Why bother then?

Deadly Premonition 2 Switch Review

In the game Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise, you play Special Agent Francis York Morgan. But you can call him York. Literally, every person he meets, he’ll pull out his badge and give a little spiel. He’s a mad man, but a clever one at that.

Throughout he’ll consult with a ‘third party’ nobody can see called Zach, much to the confusion of onlookers, and he’ll describe events, his thought process and rhetoric about 80s movies.

Deadly Premonition 2 - Cat and mouse
A game of cat and mouse. Source: Screen capture

He’s played via a flashback in a third-person open-world environment. In the present day, he’s a weed smoking sedentary has-been, who may have vital clues to a drug called Saint Rouge. The leading agent, Aaliyah Davis, is no-nonsense, and the opposite of Morgan. 

In these scenes, it’s a cat and mouse game of outthinking the other by looking around Morgan’s room for clues. It’s a little drawn out, but the tension feels real.

Shift back to 2005, and we get to experience the case that Davis is investigating. Set in a town named Le Carré in New Orleans, a girl has been murdered, and her wealthy family may be implicated. Cue some voodoo, movie referencing and fetch quests aplenty.

A Wacky, But Coherent Red Room

After having his car stolen, with a skateboard left in its place, Morgan opts to use that as his form of travel, often counting lollipops to keep him awake. You travel from one side of town to another, doing a range of fetch quests that offer little in the way of thinking or clues to the investigation as Morgan gives a monologue for everything.

It’s not just the technical flaws, but I actually found the action pieces the letdown of the game, and this would have been served better as a point and click or even a visual novel. However, it would have alienated the number of people playing it.

Open environments feel uninspired, and the residential areas are sometimes off scale with some of the properties feeling less grand than they first appear.

Events are ‘sort of’ real-time, and you have to be at locations at a specific point. To speed this up, you wait around in your hotel or light a cigarette. Well, chain smoke as each cigarette advances time only a little.

As for the main story and side quests, they’re very clearly noted, and there’s never a moment of feeling lost. Inventory is easily accessible, and the restrictions on what you can carry don’t pose a problem. 

Deadly Premonition 2 - Suave
Rico Suave. Source: Screen capture

The issue is once again with the technical problems, but also the monotony of some of these fetch quests.

From my perspective, they were slight roadblocks on my path for the real obscure story that drives the game. With Morgan at the helm, the narrative was engaging, and there was never a moment of dullness – even when some of the arcs were a little cliche, the quirkiness was rife enough for it to be an enjoyable, eye-opening experience.

Profiling

From what I understand, the first Deadly Premonition was heavily influenced by Twin Peaks and in this iteration, more to do with True Detective. I’m going to go a different route and say Mindhunter.

Morgan truly is mental, but he’s such a great character, that I couldn’t help but love him. He has the sociopathic qualities that resemble Holden Ford from said Netflix show, but his approach is a playful one; quoting B-movies at any opportunity, no matter how irrelevant or inappropriate they are.

This is a fanboy affair and writer/director for this ToyBox Inc and Rising Star Games production, Hidetaka ‘Swery’ Suehiro, is as much of a fan of Western cinema as I am of Japanese films. It’s a self-referential commentary on pop culture and has a certain Suda51 authorship to it that no doubt will have its loyal fans.

The voice acting for Morgan is excellent. Some characters are bordering stereotypical, and I understand that a few sections have upset some groups where Swery made an apology (the recent patch addressed this). But Deadly Premonition 2 is like semi-professional actors doing a rendition of The House of the Dead 2 – corny as you like, often erratic, but humorous throughout and again, unlike so many other titles.

Deadly Premonition 2 - Zach
It’s like looking in the mirror, Zach. Source: Screen capture

Don’t be forced into thinking whether a game is worthy of your time or not based on some of the scathing reviews online. I haven’t read them all, but some of the gaming crowds can be demanding, and while the comments about how clunky the game is can be entirely justified, the experience outweighs them.

Depending on the person.

That’s a Wrap, Zach

I’ve never played Deadly Premonition and purposely not looked at it before playing this. The reason was not to be subconsciously comparing the two. Still, considering I have no investment with the character or story, I stuck with it, and glad I did – Morgan is a fantastic protagonist and pivotal to the game. I wasn’t a fan of his modern-day counterpart at all.

Considering the number of retro gamers out there, I’m surprised at how many people can’t tolerate the issues. As choppy as the game is (future patches will be ongoing), the fundamental story and appeal of Morgan warrants your time. Deadly Premonition 2 is certainly not unplayable – it never once crashed, and I didn’t encounter any detrimental issues when carrying out a task.

There’s the argument that this is for the fans, but it’s new to me, and I’m a sold based on this experience.

Deadly Premonition 2 Switch Review
8 / 10 Verdict
Pros
  • Thoroughly likeable main character.
  • Engaging story.
  • A unique experience, unlike any other.
Cons
  • Technical issues such as frame rate.
  • Most of the side quests are monotonous.
  • Not enough characters to engage with.
I can't say you'll like this if you enjoyed the original, but what I can say is Deadly Premonition 2 is a game unlike any other. It could do without its problems, but even if they were ironed out, they aren't selling points of the game - it's character and story-driven. I just wished it was a point and click instead.
Rating

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