Saturday, September 28, 2019

"Deadly Premonition Origins" Switch Review

Back in 2010, "Deadly Premonition" released with a thud on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Initially dismissed as an awful game, it slowly gained a cult following through internet memes and fan theories. Eventually, the game cemented itself in the fabric of gaming culture as a critical achievement in offbeat humor and out-of-the-box gameplay.

Nearly a decade later, a sequel is on the horizon, and the original has gotten a remastered release on the Switch. Wisely aware that smoothing out all of the game's rough edges would have robbed it of its charm, developer Toybox games keeps many of the original flaws and idiosyncrasies intact.

The result is an expectedly mixed bag, but still a crucial component of any library for gamer with offbeat interests. Visuals that were already behind their time in 2010 look even more blocky and rough, backtracking annoyances abound, and yet the game retains every bit of its appeal. This is a clunky car that takes three times for its engine to turn over, yet still manages to get you there, giving you a joyfully bumpy ride all the way through.

You explore a bizarre town, meet its quirky characters and solve a series of interlocking mysteries that hover like a musty haze. Non-sequiturs and red herrings abound, which makes up much of the charm.

The survival horror mystery has much in common with "Twin Peaks." The village feels alive in the way most gaming settings fail to approach, swirling with culture and personality.

Expect to rely on walkthroughs to push you through the many obtuse bottlenecks that develop, but as long as you stay committed to powering through the story, there's little doubt you'll be enthralled by the multitude of dark, sardonic twists that abound.

"Deadly Premonition" is a wild one, and something that must be experiences firsthand to fully apprciate. Ever the riveting conversation-starter, the game manages to thrive in its rough-hewn, homespun state. Truly a trip, "Deadly Premonition Origins" deserves to be taken seriously, if only because it doesn't take itself seriously.

Publisher provided review code.

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