When Deadly Premonition came out 10 years ago, no one would expect it would strike a divisive following, with its eclectic soundtrack, ambitious systems, and eccentric characters dealing with both light-headed and deadly serious events, in the charming town of Greendale. Yet it did, and fans wanted more but did not expect anything. In 2020, after numerous side projects and umpteen rumours, Sweary brought back the character of Agent York, to a previously unheard case that made him in Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise.
In 2019, a terminal and heavily drugged Agent York is being integrated by stalwart Agent Davis. Huge discrepancies in the official report of a murder case, 14 years ago, where the body disappeared, and peculiar events transpired. The game intercuts to that fateful case in 2005, where Francis York Morgan and his assistant, Patricia (a girl Morgan has sworn to protect) get involved with an omnipotent family, an illicit drug, A mysterious other realm and a quirky cast of characters/suspects. Will York’s final act be putting this colds case to rest?
For an upgrade on the first game, it follows that Sweary has upgraded his references. Sweary trades the overt inspirations of Twin Peaks, for the trimmings of True Detective season 1, the in-game text even verbatimly calls out its motivation. The cast of characters are wonderfully extraordinary, You meet folks like The sheriff (who is a fan of film trailers), an entrepreneur who might beat Uber to the punch, underwear-wearing jazz-bartender, and a rich family with a tangled backstory that would make any soap opera blush. Exploring the town of Le Carré has a pleasant charm, particularly in seeing this pseudo-Louisiana and taking in the infectious soundtrack. This is done by Skateboard, and you can converse with Zach while riding like in the previous game. The dialogue is an absolute pleasure like in the previous entry. But if you are in a pinch you can also quick travel by using the proto-Uber costing York $2 to ride. The Hotel is particularly pricey at $158 a night, but money accumulates quickly for Agent York. You are governed, once again, by an in-game clock giving you plenty of time to sight-see.
Though occasionally you return to Davis, who uses elements in Morgan’s home to guide and provoke conversation. It is not action-heavy, but it is a nice way to move the plot along. The bulk of the game is spent with Agent York. Outside the main mystery, there are some minor attractions in Le Carré, while the collectable cards of Greenvale are gone, You can photograph mysterious Fleur-de-lis, and engage with the local wildlife. The combat segments make a return, while you do not fight zombified ghosts of the previous townsfolk, you do get to take on more abstract monstrosities, and most of the monster design is interesting and imaginative. The combat is unique, yet familiar to the first, but with some more improvements like the rechargeable Arm Gun. Upgrading your combat abilities can by crafting voodoo charms and getting more voodoo charms by completing quests. Though beneficial they do not feel too compulsory if you want to focus on the story, though you may miss.
While some choices may strike newcomer and familiar fans with confusion, Others will welcome the return of stylistic signatures to a new location. Sweary does offer another outsider’s astute observations of Americana tinged in the atmosphere of the Bayou, and an intriguing mystery once again. After all this time, Returning with such a charming follow-up ten years on, Deadly Premonition 2 is certainly a blessing.
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