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Why Deadly Premonition Was Popular With Fans And Not Critics

Access Games' Deadly Premonition has been met with mixed responses from the masses since its 2010 arrival. For the most part, reviewers responded by giving it negative-to-average scores (its PC version currently sits at 59/100 on Metacritic), but this open-world survival horror title has built a cult following in the gaming community. Some players may have dismissed this supernatural slasher, but others have embraced it despite its shortcomings. Put on your raincoat, because we're exploring the rainy woods of Greenvale and solving the mystery of Deadly Premonition's popularity.

Its genres and setting

There might be plenty of undead fish in the necrotic sea of survival horror games, especially from the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era, but very few take Deadly Premonition's open-world approach. You play as Special Agent Francis York Morgan, who is able to freely explore Greenvale, Washington on a mission to identify and apprehend the Raincoat Killer.

York covers the town and its surrounding areas on foot or in his car—the latter of which is totally necessary due to the massive gameplay area. He also has to manage his wardrobe, maintain a professional appearance, eat, sleep, and occasionally play during his ongoing investigation. Most businesses and citizens work according to their own set schedules, and York can only visit these people and places during specific hours of the day, adding a level of time management to the game. On top of that, each citizen has their own background, personality, and daily routine, which makes Greenvale feel more alive than most other survival horror backdrops.


Not many other games like it

Dropping aspects of a survival horror game into the open world of Greenvale results in an interesting mix that feels like Shenmue, Resident Evil, Grand Theft Auto, and Silent Hill. Deadly Premonition's core gameplay doesn't excel beyond these titles, especially in terms of its graphics, controls, and combat mechanics, but there aren't many other games on the market that provide such a smorgasbord. Considering most survival horror titles nowadays focus on gunplay or surviving a monster attack with limited combat options, it's nice to see a studio take such a big gamble.

Its interesting characters

Some of Deadly Premonition's non-player characters are more interesting than others, and York's investigation into the Raincoat Killer introduces him to all kinds of folk. The citizens of Greenvale have interesting lives, and York has some bizarre qualities as well. He often talks to an unseen character, Zach, making it seem like he gave the player a nickname and is directly talking to you. The meaning behind this is much deeper than you realize, as Deadly Premonition's plot takes all kinds of weird turns, heightened by the Under The Dome/Twin Peaks vibe you get from the townsfolk.

Its unconventional plot

Just when you think Deadly Premonition's premise isn't bizarre enough, its plot surprises you. Sure, the dialogue and writing is a bit hokey, but the game's supernatural aspects add an unexpected level of strangeness and fear. Obviously, searching for the Raincoat Killer means asking plenty of questions, making assumptions, and even falling for a red herring or two. We may have hated its quick-time events, but the times the Killer actually made an appearance were pretty creepy, as were many of the game's otherworldly moments.

The B movie effect

There's just something about Deadly Premonition that makes it feel like the biggest B movie of the PS3/Xbox 360 era. We hated the game, loved it, wondered why we were playing it in the first place, and found ourselves loading it up again. The dialogue is just so zany that you'll find yourself laughing at one moment and rolling your eyes a minute later. There are pop culture references galore, and York's offbeat, sarcastic persona compels you to see more. Even once you get through all the plot twists, solve the mystery, and save the day, you'll never forget your experiences with this bizarre, broken, and polarizing game. It's the perfect sandwich of turkey, strawberry jam, and cereal.