In all the right ways, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is exactly what you would expect from a sequel to the cult classic.
A Worthy Follow up to the Iconic Cult Classic
Deadly Premonition is the beloved cult classic that many have played because they are either a fan of horror games or how similar it’s to Twin Peaks. I’m one who got into this off-beat classic due to my love of horror and David Lynch’s classic show. Yet, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise was not something I was ever expecting or for it to live up to the original. Yet, it has defined the odds to become a worthy follow up to one of my favorite games.
A Blessing in Disguise is both a sequel and prequel to one of the most polarizing games of all time. Right away you should know that if you didn’t like the original then don’t expect anything different. Fans of the original know exactly what they are walking into as they embrace all the quirkiness and jank (for better or worse).
Say Hello to Everyone York
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is both a follow-up and prequel to the original game. The story begins in 2019 when the missing body of Lise Clarkson is found in Le Carré, LA. In response to this discovery, the FBI has Agents Aaliyah Davis and Simon Jones question the original lead on the case, Francis Morgan. Now retired, sickly, and using the middle name “Zach”, he reflects back on the case.
Going back to 2005, Agent Morgan is in Le Carré as he suspects the murder of Lise Clarkson is connected to another case. During the investigation, he learns other forces are at work while something far more sinister is taking place.
Don’t expect anything high-brow from the story, it continues that tradition of being influenced by Twin Peaks. You have the quirky characters along with the cheesy elements still front and center. It’s also able to make players feel uncomfortable at times be it the suspense of the moment or when entering the Otherworld. All of this is what made the original a cult classic and makes A Blessing in Disguise worth playing.
Who Murdered Lise Clarkson?
Like with the original, the gameplay is an open-world horror survival with its fair share of mini-games and side quests. What worked has been brought over and altered while other elements have been done away with. Players will traverse the town of Le Carré on foot or with a skateboard. A lot of emphases is put on investigating the crime scenes and solving the mystery. Combat is seen as an afterthought as it’s simple and doesn’t require much to understand. When compared to the original, the gameplay is basically the same with improvements.
Right away I have to commend the game for understanding that a bigger map does not mean it’s better. It has an open world map but it’s not stupid big and traversing it will not be a total waste of time. While there is not much to explore, one isn’t also encouraged to actually explore it. Instead, players will be focused on completing the main story or enjoying the side activity.
The adoption of cell-shaded visuals only adds to the game’s overall charm. Remember that this is a quirky experience so going for a more cartoonish look only makes sense. Horror fans should not worry as it doesn’t devoid the eerie feelings during the frightening moments. I also can’t ignore how the soundtrack goes out of its way to remind you of its Twin Peaks influence.
A Snag in the Investigation
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise tone is not for everyone and the game is janky. At the same time, that has been part of the originals overall charm. Plus when compared to the Nintendo Switch version, it has resolved many of the performance issues. So I won’t really knock it down for it. However, it has other issues that can’t be overlooked.
From the start, the biggest problem is the lack of performance customization along with no support for mouse and keyboard. This is a PC game but you can’t change the performance settings and it could only be played with a controller. Being limited to a controller doesn’t affect me personally. Devoted PC gamers will have an issue as they prefer a mouse + keyboard setup. Not being able to adjust the graphics and performance however is unacceptable as I do like to push my GeForce RTX 3060 to the limits.
Coming back to the controller issue – while being limited is not a problem for me, the button layout is very wonky. For some reason, B is the interactive button while X is the back button. Players do have choices in the layout but it comes down to picking whichever is the least terrible option.
Call Me York
The story is cheesy and the game is janky but that is why you either love it or hate it. For fans of the cult classic, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is the same game that never forgot its charm but also improved on works. This is also not a game I could recommend to someone unless they have played the original.
In all the right ways, Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is exactly what you would expect from a sequel to the cult classic. It’s a horror game that feels like an unofficial adaptation of Twin Peaks and you love it for that. It’s also a flawed game but that is also what makes it memorable.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
Disclaimer: Plan of Attack provided the game used for this review.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the video game community and industry of the San Francisco Bay Area.