Deadly Premonition 2 A Blessing in Disguise Review – A Fun Story with Not Much Else
Back in 2010 Deadly Premonition was released on PC and Consoles. While the game received a lukewarm reception at launch a subset of gamers found the title and propelled it into the rare realm of the cult-classic game. Fast-forward to 2019 and a surprising sequel to the title was announced exclusively for Nintendo Switch. That sequel is out in the wild now and we’ve had a chance to play it. Check out our thoughts in the Deadly Premonition 2 A Blessing in Disguise review below.
What is Deadly Premonition 2 A Blessing in Disguise?
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is a sequel/prequel to the 2010 released Deadly Premonition. In this title players return to the role of Francis York Morgan as he attempts to solve a murder in the town of Le Carré in Louisiana. I won’t go into much more detail on the plot here as that’s much of the game’s charm. For more technical Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise game information see the points below.
- Developer: Toybox.
- Publisher: Rising Star Games.
- Platform: Nintendo Switch.
- MSRP: $59.99 USD.
- Hours Played for Review: 45.
- Game Beaten: Yes.
- Code Provided by Developer: Thunderful Games/Rising Star Games.
As of right now (July 2020), Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is only available on the Nintendo Switch. Whether or not this title will get a port to the PC or other consoles remains to be seen.
A Tale of Two Timelines, Right Zach?
Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is considered to be a prequel/sequel to Deadly Premonition. This classifier is due to the game’s episodic narrative structure. Each episode of the game is split between the time periods of 2005 and 2019. In 2005 you play as Francis York Morgan and in 2019 episodes you play as Special Agent Aaliyah Davis who is sent to investigate York at his apartment outside of Boston.
In the 2005 episodes Francis York Morgan is on the ground in Le Carre Louisiana where a sinister murder appears to be linked to a drug called Red Rouge. To learn more about this mysterious drug and its ties to Le Carre York must investigate the town’s eccentric inhabitants to learn the truth.
Like the previous title the highlight of the game for me was the story and interactions with NPCs in Le Carre. Le Carre is full of a crazy cast of characters like Pastor Tyrone who runs a seedy clinic out of the town’s church and Avery Smith a giant-child like man who hangs a disc-man around his neck.
The interactions in Le Carre aren’t the only sequences of good banter as the 2019 episodes feature Agent Davis going head to head with York in a series of escalating interrogations. These interactions are very well done and interesting. As this makes up the bulk of the 2019 sequences it was refreshing to have them be so interesting and well written.
An Open-World of Disappointment
When not talking to NPCS in the 2005 or 2019 episodes players are free to explore Le Carre where they can complete side quests, main missions, mini-games, and bounties while riding their skateboard around the open-world in a third person perspective.
Unfortunately the open-world portions of the game really shows its age as much of the world feels like it was taken directly from the 2010 original. Every part of the open-world just feels old. Even new additions like bowling, fishing, rock skipping, and skateboarding quickly feel repetitive and boring.
Furthering this underwhelming feeling is the lack of rewarding side quests as the game pushes you towards the new Charm system. Instead of getting cool suits and infinite weapons you instead receive ingredients and Charms for completing many of the games various fetch quests. This underwhelming reward structure and boring side quests led me to give up after about 11 as they simply pale in-comparison to the rewards and attention grabbing quests the original provided.
Combat and the Charm System
Speaking of Charms Deadly Premonition 2 still features a smudge of combat. In the open-world at midnight and at the end of each chapter you will encounter the mysterious Deadly Premonitions. These openings of the Otherworld are typically creepy enemy filled affairs. To dispatch of the enemies you encounter you use either a handgun or psychogun depending on the location. Combat consists of shooting enemies when they spawn or using the melee attack when you are out of ammo. Instead of different weapons like the first game there are new Charms players can create to make their weapon stronger through increasing mag size and different ammo types. Charms also can be used to make York stronger in areas like body and mini-games.
Overall the combat and charm systems are mediocre to bad. Over my 40 hour play-through I died a total of 0 times without ever getting close to death. With little to no fear of dying I completely ignored the the Charm system opting instead to beat the game without them. This is not to tell you how good I am just to highlight how poorly the two systems interacted. As I progressed through the game I expected Charms to be a necessity, but the game’s difficulty stays fairly linear even when it comes to later boss fights.
Unfortunate Optimization and Stability
By now you’ve probably heard about how badly Deadly Premonition 2 runs so I’m not going to waste much of your time. To summarize the game plays and feels like a 2010 title in 2020. In the open-world frames drop to 10 FPS and the game chugs along to the point it is simply easier to fast travel everywhere instead of riding on your skateboard. Alongside the frame issues I had a number of soft-locks and black screens that needed a hard reset to deal with. As a 2020 title the performance was very disappointing and frustrating to deal with.
I will admit I was hyped for Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise when it was first announced. I played the original back in 2017 and enjoyed the story a lot. With the original title I struggled with multitude of performance issues. Three years later it feels like I am reliving that same experience. I loved spending time in the Deadly Premonition 2 world with the interesting characters and unique story but found much of the rest of the experience to be severely lacking. While playing the title it felt to me like SWERY was torn on what he wanted to make. On the one hand there is a lot of good character interactions and story to explore and on the other there is a messy open-world game.