There are many movies that people consider to be so bad that they circle back around from zero and become good, such as Birdemic and The Room. It would be tempting to use the same description for Deadly Premonition Origins, as it's bizarre humor and quirky dialogue can be endearing in its own way, but it's chained to a video game that is absolute garbage on a technical level.
The best way to describe Deadly Premonition Origins is to imagine several developers being tasked with creating a video game that is heavily inspired by Twin Peaks, but each of the games came from a totally different genre. If all of those games were thrown into a blender, then Deadly Premonition Origins would be the result. The player takes on the role of an FBI agent named Francis York Morgan, who has been dispatched to the secluded town of Greenvale in order to investigate a ritualistic murder. Greenvale is full of amusing and eccentric people, which is also an apt description for Morgan himself, as he continually talks to an unseen individual named Zach, with whom he converses throughout most of the game.
Deadly Premonition Origins is a game that is carried by its dialogue and story, which play out as if David Lynch had directed The Room. There are some genuinely funny moments in Deadly Premonition Origins and many of its best scenes have achieved memetic status on their own.
It's a good thing that Deadly Premonition Origins manages to be amusing, because it's an absolute trainwreck in every other regard. The fans who expected the Nintendo Switch port of the game to fix any of the issues with the original version or director's cut will be sorely mistaken - Deadly Premonition Origins looks like trash and it runs horribly. The visuals of the game look so blurry that it feels as if it has been filmed through a camera lens that was smothered in vaseline. The graphics during the overworld section of Deadly Premonition Origins wouldn't look out of place on the original PlayStation, which doesn't explain why the game slows down so much during the sections when you are forced to drive around the town.
The controls of Deadly Premonition Origins are equally as poor, especially during the driving segments of the game. The cars in the game have the same steering capacity as a three-wheeled shopping trolley that has been pushed down an icy hill, and it can be a struggle to just stay in the middle of the road. The camera has a hard time following Agent Morgan around, due to how slow it is and how it has trouble navigating through tight spaces, which makes his erratic movements even more frustrating, especially during combat.
Deadly Premonition Origins has a combination of sections from different genres that are stitched together in a Frankenstein monster of a game. There are detective scenes where the player has to search around for clues, which fits in with the story. What doesn't make sense are the sections where Morgan is thrown into an evil dimension straight out of Silent Hill and is forced to fight monsters. These sections feel as if they were inserted to add some action to the game, but they feel totally pointless and they go on forever, with monster designs that feel as if they were traced from far better games.
Deadly Premonition Origins takes a page out of Shenmue's book and makes the town of Greenvale a living city, where locations are only available during certain parts of the day. Morgan can visit different locations and complete side missions outside of the main quest. The problem with this notion is that traveling between locations is incredibly tedious and is something that will bore the player throughout the game, even after fast travel is unlocked, as Morgan can only return to locations he has visited before.
The game also includes some brutal QTE segments that can result in the player being instantly killed and having to replay entire sections of the game. The player is advised to use the autosave option to alleviate the frustration of these segments. There are also sections of the game where Morgan is chased by an enemy and the player is expected to hit the joystick from left to right in order to escape. These segments feel as if they were designed to either break the player's hand or break the controller. The chase segments are also filled with frustrating QTEs.
The original version of Deadly Premonition and its director's cut were dogged with technical issues and Deadly Premonition Origins is no exception. The game was released in 2010 and it still has glitches, including graphical tearing, endlessly respawning enemies & items, and the entire audio cutting out until a reset. If there is one positive thing to say about the Nintendo Switch version of Deadly Premonition Origins is that it runs in the same state in either handheld or TV mode.
There are a couple of positive things to say about Deadly Premonition Origins: it has catchy music, funny writing, and is memorable in a way that few other games are. The people who enjoy things that are terrible will find things to love and cherish in this game, but it's hard to give it any kind of a positive score on any aspects relating to its gameplay or visuals. If money is any kind of concern to you, then buy Resident Evil 4, even if you have bought it ten times already, and watch a let's play of Deadly Premonition Origins if you're really curious about how strange the game can get.
2 Out Of 5 Stars
A digital copy of Deadly Premonition Origins was purchased by TheGamer for this review. Deadly Premonition Origins is available now for the Nintendo Switch.