Azn Badger's Blog

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Deadly Premonition Review

Deadly Premonition is a budget game.

Plain and simple.

Described by Destructoid as a “beautiful trainwreck,” Deadly Premonition is an open world/survival-horror hybrid developed by Access Games.

I first caught word of Deadly Premonition several months ago when I sat down to watch the first part of Spoony’s (Noah Antwiler) Let’s Play of it.

To my knowledge, that first hour or so of gameplay, is the only portion of the game that Spoony has posted any footage of.

Pictured: A man that has better shit to do than play a shitty game like Deadly Premonition.

After having played, and beaten the game over the course of 30 hours of gameplay, it’s easy to see why someone would so readily drop this game.

Deadly Premonition is a game that asks a lot from the player.

It has terrible graphics.

The soundtrack is extremely repetitive and is often times far too upbeat given the seriousness of the story.

The gameplay is equally repetitive, with controls approaching Resident Evil 1 levels of clunky-ness.

Knife vs. Zombie!? Not bloody likely!

For the most part, the only 2 saving graces of Deadly Premonition, are the strength of it’s writing, especially in regards to the characters, and the design of it’s surprisingly expansive map.

While the writing in Deadly Premonition is by no means brilliant, it has a a lot going for in that it’s just so damn quirky.

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks was a huge stylistic influence on Deadly Premonition, and it shows from beginning to end.

Numerous homages are made to the TV series in the form of the game’s setting, (a Pacific Northwestern town) as well as the unexplained abundance of cherry pie.

Oh yeah, and this kind of cryptic-ass fucked up shit:

"THE, SUIT, BURNS BETTER... LOOK!!! BURN'S SUIT! BURN'S SUIT!"

To call the characters in Deadly Premonition “odd,” is to discount the power of that word.

In the game, the player takes on the role of FBI profiler, Francis York Morgan, (his friends call him York) a facially scarred man that has a strong connection to the paranormal, smokes way too fucking much, has prophetic visions by looking into his morning coffee, and has a tendency to speak to an imaginary friend name Zach, often while in the company of others.

Well, looks like we caught him doing all of the above at once. His coffee is in between his legs...

If the above character traits aren’t intriguing to you even in the slightest, then congratulations, you are the snootiest high-brow motherfucker on the planet.

Pictured: You.

The game begins as York arrives at a fictional town in Washington called Greenvale.

Greenvale has recently played host to a gruesome murder/crucifiction, the investigation of which serves as the chief subject of the plot and gameplay in Deadly Premonition.

The closest thing to nudity you'll find on this blog. Except maybe the occasional dirty Donnie Yen photo...

The actual execution of the gameplay in Deadly Premonition, is that of a sandbox-style game, married with the over the shoulder shooting mechanic of Resident Evil 4.

Though I’m not much for sandbox games, I have to say, I was fairly impressed by Deadly Premonition’s take on it.

To be fair, I think most of my enjoyment of the map in the game springs from it’s impressive recreation of a Washintonian town.

Yup, a whole lotta' trees and little else...

As a life long, Seattlite, and one time Olympian, I can say with certainty, that the developers of Deadly Premonition really got the look and feel down pat.

The sprawling country roads, surrounded by evergreen trees, the big ass farms with seemingly nothing growing in them, the not quite picturesque lakes, it’s all there.

Haven’t you ever played GTA and wondered what it would be like if it was set in your hometown?

Then again, if you grew up in South Central, there's a good chance GTA strikes pretty close to home for you.

Well, if you’re from Olympia, Nisqually, or anywhere in Eastern Washington, Deadly Premonition; while not really possessing the vast breadth of sandbox-y goodness that GTA is known and loved for, absolutely gets the look just right.

If there’s any downside to the design of the map though, it’s due to the fact that it requires the player to drive around a little bit too much.

You see, unlike GTA, which offers a myriad of distractions while traveling from point A to point B, Deadly Premonition’s map is pretty sparse.

Pictured: Grand Theft Auto's definition of "distractions."

Sure, there’s fishing mini-games scattered about, as well as the occasional dirt road or hidden item, but for the most part, you really are just driving for minutes at a time.

Pictured: Deadly Premonition's "distractions."

Remember those country roads I mentioned awhile back?

Well, you better get used to them, ’cause if you start playing Deadly Premonition, your gonna’ end up driving up and down them like no other.

Let me put it this way:

The driving in Deadly Premonition is kind of like the sailing in The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker.

It’s boring, there’s altogether too much of it, but if you can force yourself to power through it, there’s actually a pretty good game beyond it all.

A pretty good game that I WILL beat someday...

Which brings me to the review proper.

Deadly Premonition is an okay game.

It’s not great, it has a shit ton of flaws, but if you’re willing to accept the game as being the best that it’s studio could manage with what they had, then it’s actually pretty good.

Trust me, it's a lot easier to appreciate Deadly Premonition when you grew up watching shit like Ultraman.

The murder mystery storyline is fairly well developed with some pretty cool kill sequences and red herrings thrown in for good measure.

The murders in the game involve a psycho-killer cutting out the tongues of young women, stuffing their mouths with red seeds, and then somehow rigging them in Saw-esque death traps for the main players to stumble across.

In all, while actually not very graphic or bloody, most of the murders are quite unique, and indeed even shocking due to the excellent voice work and dialogue.

Pictured: Why we always knock before we go into the bathroom...

The cast of characters is quite vast, with every character in town having a unique voice, personality, and even side-missions offer you from time to time.

Like York, most of the cast are endearingly quirky, such that I found I had no trouble remembering most by name.

The game is surprisingly long, with admirable pacing that sees the first half of the game being a largely sandbox style experience, with important story beats coming at the appropriate times, and the second half taking on a more urgent, and therefore more linear and focused style of progression.

That is to say:

The game allows you the freedom you desire from the outset to get to known the lay of the land, and collect all of those hidden goodies and side-missions, but just before you get tired of slogging through all of that, the game forces you get on track and follow the main storyline.

Deadly Premonition: A Story of Male Bonding.

The storyline has a few holes in it, such that you’re left scratching your head from time to time, but when focus is left on York, or any of the other main characters, it’s actually quite good.

I was particularly impressed by how they handled the explanation for York’s imaginary friend, Zach.

While the actual explanation was kind of muddled, I found it to be effective from a purely conceptual standpoint.

If there’s any one thing that I need to slap Deadly Premonition across the face about, it’s the game’s shooting mechanic.

About half of the gameplay in Deadly Premonition consists of Resident Evil 4 style shooting/adventuring segments.

During these sections, the player is confronted with goofy looking backwards walking ghouls that attack you by shoving their hands down your throat.

"GIMME' BACK MY TIC-TACS!"

There’s only a handful of enemy skins, and only about 2-3 different enemy types throughout the game, resulting in a bland and repetitive experience.

Worse yet, most of the enemies have horribly inflated lifebars, resulting in boring gameplay that takes forever to get through.

No joke, I put a third of a 300 round magazine into an enemy’s head one time, only to find that I had to stop to reload before I finally killed him.

That, my friends, is called padding one’s gameplay.

Pictured: About half of the total enemies in Deadly Premonition. I'm not even joking.

Being as all of these segments take place in a Silent Hill-esque “other world,” the creators of this game may as well have omitted the shooting segments altogether, as I think it would have been more efficient to simply force the player to run away from danger.

Anyone remember Run Like Hell? Shitty game, fun premise...

Which brings me to the quick-time segments of Deadly Premonition.

They were actually quite good.

While the button variations weren’t diverse enough, (B always dodges throwing axes) their frequency and difficulty level are pretty good.

I especially enjoyed the protracted chase segments, as they were actually quite tense, and made impressive use of a split-screen effect showing both York’s and the pursuer’s perspective at the same time.

Pictured: The Bad-Ass Pursuer. Playable at one point in the game!

In all, Deadly Premonition is an impressively detailed game for a budget title.

While it lacks polish in virtually every area, it’s easy to see where the developers had good ideas, but lacked the resources to act on them.

Requiring the player to eat, sleep, shave, and clean their wardrobe regularly was a nice touch that went well with the game, being as it forces you to play out every minute of every day in-game.

Pictured: My favorite suit in the game.

Well, that is unless you’re smoking to speed up time.

I enjoyed the deadline system for the story missions, as I found it fun to cruise around town all day doing side-missions, only to take a look a the clock and discover I only had 5 minutes before I had to be at the old mansion for an important story event.

Despite all of my praise though, Deadly Premonition is definitely only for those who, like me; can find it within themselves to play the game and accept it’s problems.

I picked up the game because I was intrigued by it’s characters and story.

I accept that it’s hideous, often times boring, and only has about a half dozen tracks of music.

Because of this, I simply cannot recommend Deadly Premonition to anyone but myself.

It’s not a game for everyone, but I happened to enjoy my time with it.

I’ll probably never touch it again, but it was fun while it lasted…

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Zelda Made Me Feel Dumb…

DUMB.

Have you ever played a game that made you feel dumb?

I have.

In fact, I’ve played a lot of them.

Chess, Connect Four, Battleship, they seriously fuckin’ wrecked my self-confidence as a kid.

Don’t even get me started on Candyland.

That motherfucker, Gloppy the Molasses Monster, used to kick my ass all the way back to that fruitcake Plumpy’s plum tree every fuckin’ game…

Lookit that fat fuck... Stewin' in his own feces. Eat a dick you fuckin' gamebreaking whore.

All that ugliness aside, this post is primarily concerned with the evils of the Zelda franchise.

It all began in my childhood, as all things on this blog seem to blog do.

I was over at one of my spoiled friend’s houses when I played The Legend of Zelda for the first time.

Seriously, this kid had all of the cool shit like a divorced kid, Power Wheels, Nerf Guns, and a Super NES IN HIS ROOM, only without the whole divorced parents thing.

COOLEST. BABY. EVER.

Anyway, on most days we would sit around and play cool shit like Monster Party, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project, but on this particular day, he had to step out for an hour or two to go to a Kumon class.

Yeah, he was spoiled and he had tutors.

Guess which one of us grew up to be retarded and socially maladjusted?

That’s right, both of us.

Hey, at least we didn't up like these two...

Normally when this would happen, only my friend’s mom would be at home, necessitating my coming with them for the trip.

However, on this particular afternoon, my buddies’ dad happened to be home early from work, so it was decided that I would hang out at the house while my friend was away.

How I wish I had gone with them that day.

I remember sitting down for a minute and pondering what to do for the next few hours.

Being unwilling to play the usual stuff without my friend, I considered playing something different, like M.C. Kids (which isn’t nearly as bad as it should be.)

Hell, I even remember playing Sesame Street Countdown for a minute or two.

But then I noticed something different, something golden.

Not THAT you perv.

Do you have any idea how irresistable a golden videogame is to a child?

Totally fucking irresistable, that’s how much.

I plugged that sucker in faster than you could say “Jiminy Christmas,” and after removing the cartridge and blowing on it about a billion times, I was transported to the land of Hyrule for the first time in my young life.

By then, I knew who Zelda and Link were, thanks to those godawful cartoons they aired on Saturday mornings, but I had yet to play any of the games in the series.

If you actually finished that video, you’re a fag.

Regardless of your faggot/not faggot status, I knew that the Zelda games were supposed to be crazy good, so much so that many of my friends liked to brag about their progress within them, especially in the second, and supposedly much harder game.

Needless to say, I was pretty psyched to give Zelda a try.

My first, and easily best memory of Zelda was being enchanted by the classic Zelda overworld theme.

It was wondrous, certainly one of the most memorable tracks of game music I had heard up to that point in my life, despite it’s age, even back then.

The first screen had a cave clearly visible in the background, so of course I went in.

Upon entering the cave I was greeted by an old man that told me it was dangerous outside, so I should take a sword with me.

Apparently we're in the HARD part of Hyrule. Like, South Central HARD.

With sword in hand, I set out into the world of Hyrule to……

Do absolutely nothing.

You see, Zelda was the first “open world” game I ever played.

The map was designed in a non-linear, explorable fashion, thus making the objective of the game to, well, stumble across your objectives.

Much unlike the games I was accustomed to:

What do I do again? Oh yeah that's right, KILL EVERYTHING.

I was not aware of this at the time, however it didn’t really matter either way, seeing as I never actually stumbled across said objectives.

I spent 2 hours killing monsters and collecting a billion fucking rupees, while never once figuring out what I was supposed to do, or where I was supposed to go.

It made me feel stupid, like I was lame for missing something all my friend’s had apparently gotten with ease.

It's not that I don't "get" it, it's just that I don't "like" it.

As an older and wiser Azn Badger, one that now understands the “rules” of every Zelda game ever made (they don’t change), I could probably beat The Legend of Zelda in an afternoon with a little Energon and a lot of luck, but as a kid, I was hopeless.

Brownie points to those that got the reference.

Not long after my failure at the hands of The Legend of Zelda, I tried playing Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link at my neighbor’s house (the same ones that I used to play Super Double Dragon with.)

It took me only a few minutes to understand that straying off the main road caused monsters to spawn, but outside of that discovery, I was once again dead in the water.

All I ever saw of Zelda 2.

Zelda games had me by the balls as a kid.

Imagine growing up as a Nintendo kid and having that hanging over your head.

Zelda is one of Nintendo’s flagship franchises, and as such, every subsequent release in the series garners disgusting amounts of hype and praise.

I remember getting a sour taste in the back of my throat every time a Zelda game came out and my friend’s went nuts over them.

When The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past first came out on the Super NES, my Double Dragon playing neighbors suddenly converted to a Zelda cult overnight.

Thankfully they didn't go this far though...

I remember they let me start my own save file one time.

Thankfully, the game managed to provide me with a little bit of instruction at times, thusly allowing me to progress through the adventure somewhat.

By somewhat I mean I got through the introductory Hyrule castle segment.

It took me about an hour and a half.

After that, I remember walking up to an ordinary black stone and being frustrated by my inability to pick it up and throw it at a chicken.

My neighbors said to me:

“You need the gloves to pick that up.”

“Where are the gloves?”

“It’s part of the game, you’ll find ’em later.”

All through my childhood, I never found those damn gloves.

Turns out Michael Jackson had 'em the whole time.

I remember my brother getting the Game Boy exclusive, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening for Christmas one year.

He loved that game, he used to play it for hours every day.

I hated that game, but I used to love watching my brother play it.

I remember it well cause he used to get pissed when my head would put shadows on the screen.

My only real fond memory of playing Link’s Awakening came in the form of abusing a chicken until his friends showed up to pwn my ass.

By the time Ocarina of Time AKA “OMG The Best Game EVER!!!” came out, I was still feeling sour about Zelda games and how they had taken my nuts without asking.

I played Ocarina of Time exactly once, at my barber’s house.

No, not the same barber that gave me my first Nintendo Power.

Her son had a Nintendo 64 that I would tool around on while waiting for my mom to get her hair cut.

I usually played Starfox 64 and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire, often times getting medals and achievements that my barber’s kid had failed to get.

I was good at those games, I liked those games; and they liked me back.

You can't see it, but I was hugging the console while taking this screenshot.

One day though, I was feeling confident and decided to plug in the ‘ole golden cartridge once more, this time on the N64.

I soon discovered that not much had changed in 10 years.

I remember being pissed off because all of the advertising material for Ocarina of Time had Link portrayed as an adult, a grown-up with a big ass sword.

During the segement I played, I was forced to control a tiny-ass Link with no sword, and no jump button.

Oh come on! Look at him! He's tiny as shit!

Once again, I was unable to get my bearings in the game, resulting in me doing nothing but ride my horse around aimlessly and occasionally go fishing.

Outside of the fishing, which was admittedly pretty fun, I walked away from Ocarina of Time without so much as reaching for my stolen nuts.

Now if only I could get 'em back from that fuckin' squirrel...

After Ocarina of time, I would never play any of the new Zelda games.

Until now.

A few months ago, not long before I started this blog, I fired up my Super NES one day, as I tend to do, and decided to do something bold.

A good friend of mine was kind enough to give me his entire library of Super NES games last year (he’s a really good friend), among which was A Link to the Past.

For the first time in over 10 years, I found myself playing a Zelda game.

Not only that, but I told myself I was going to beat it and get my nuts back!

Well, maybe tomorrow then. Yeah, that's right, tomorrow...

After a month or two of chipping away at dungeons and peeking at GameFAQs, I managed to defeat Ganon and unite the Triforce.

True, I didn’t beat the game legit, as evidenced by my liberal use of strategy guides, and my general lack of motivation for finding all of the equipment and treasures, but I didn’t care, I had beaten a motherfucking Zelda game.

I was often bitterly frustrated during my exploits throughout the game, and in fact found very little enjoyment in the experience as a whole, but by the end, I considered my nuts rightfully reclaimed.

And not a moment too soon.  I am, after all, a 20-something, handsome, (single) college graduate.

Did I mention I drew the cover for a published novel?

That's right honey, I do it all...

Bullshit aside, following my victory over A Link to the Past, I made the decision to try my hand at The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker on the Gamecube.

Honestly, I think I decided to subject myself to more Zelda torture simply because the experience promised a lengthy adventure that could not be beaten quickly.

As I mentioned in a previous post, games are like a way of killing time for me nowadays, so a playable, but ultimately confusing and frustrating game is now something that appeals to me on some twisted level.

Maybe I’m a masochist, who knows?

This guy knows what I'm talking about. God rest his soul.

Currently, I am maybe 20% into Windwaker, though I haven’t been playing with the same sense of urgency or fervor that I did Link to the Past.

The game is actually very good, with responsive controls and persistent yet simple puzzles around every corner.

I do however still feel stupid from time to time, usually when it comes to figuring out which items to use in dungeons.

Protip: Use the Deku Leaf FUCKING EVERYWHERE.

Despite this, I honestly like the cartoony, “island” aesthetic of the game, it reminds me of good things I remember from Hawaii.

And that’s always a good thing.

I am still using FAQs from time to time when I get stuck, and though I fear I will never be able to conquer a Zelda without the use of one, I don’t care.

“Beating” a Zelda game has never been the point.

Zelda games still make me feel dumb, but at least they don’t have my nuts anymore.

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