Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut review

The original Deadly Premonition was intriguing, but broken. The Director’s Cut fixes a lot of that, but keeps the weirdness.
The original Deadly Premonition was intriguing, but broken. The Director’s Cut fixes a lot of that, but keeps the weirdness.
The original Deadly Premonition was intriguing, but broken. The Director’s Cut fixes a lot of that, but keeps the weirdness.


  • Engrossing story
  • Not much else out there like it
  • Many past issues have been addressed


  • The audio is occasionally off synch
  • Awkward NPC interactions
  • Driving is improved, but not great

DT Editors' Rating

“There’s definitely something in this town. Do you feel it, Zach? My coffee warned me about it.”

Francis York Morgan, Deadly Premonition’s affable FBI special agent, is decidedly idiosyncratic. As a criminal profiler, he tracks killers in excessively brutal or disturbing cases, taking special interest in the murders of young women. He conveys his observations, hunches, and questions out loud to his imaginary friend, Zach. He is nonchalant almost to the point of ambivalence. And boy howdy, does he love his coffee.

DPChances are this may sound at least a little familiar, either because you heard about Deadly Premonition when it was released as a 360-exclusive in 2010, or you’re at least peripherally versed in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks (Director Hidetaka Suehiro – aka Swery – certainly is). York’s origins as a reflection of Twin Peaks‘ Special Agent Dale Cooper are easy to spot, just as the rural Washington town of Greenvale is probably the quintessential game equivalent to the Lynchian hamlet itself. And much like Lynch’s surrealist ouvre, the quirky, clunky Deadly Premonition has either been utterly savaged or proselytized as gospel since its release, with its flaws dismissed as an inherent part of its charm.

So of course Swery decided to release a Director’s Cut.

Welcome to Greenvale

The fact that a Director’s Cut of Deadly Premonition was ever something Swery was interested in isn’t surprising. Cult classics often warrant (or at least inspire) some form of re-visitations ­– even Lynch couldn’t leave Twin Peaks before he shot Fire Walk With Me to cap the series on a particularly horrifying note. Deadly Premonition’s candidacy for re-release is obvious just by looking at its visuals, oscillating between “Dreamcast quality” to “budget current-gen release.” So what makes Swery’s re-take a Director’s Cut, exactly?

Deadly Prem remakeBy virtue of its subtitle alone, you might guess that this is mostly the same title, with maybe a handful of creator-added touches to complete the experience. That’s about right. New narrative content is, as it turns out, far less pronounced than more gamey and visual concerns, and though its original low-grade visuals never detracted from the game’s enjoyment the first time around, the upgrades are welcome enhancements.

As before, The Director’s Cut opens with a cutscene depicting a somewhat graphic discovery in a forest, the body of a young girl hanging from a tree. The scene is 98-percent unchanged from the muddy 360 edition, but it’s that two-percent that makes all the difference. With a close-up shot the corpse suddenly pops with detail, a gaping wound in the girl’s abdomen now much better defined than the comparatively abstract mess of pixels and aliasing it used to be. Then as the camera cuts back the graphics revert to their original state – a knowing wink from Swery, and certainly an intentional one.

Less cruel device

This sort of bait-and-switch thankfully doesn’t extend to the game proper, but if you’ve played Deadly Premonition before the change is night and day. Environments in particular feel revived with a crisp definition that could almost be mistaken for new. York and the varied oddball citizenry of Greenvale (another narrative element heavily inspired by Twin Peaks) also look slightly better, though the effect on character models is less pronounced, mostly due to a shift away from the more garish lighting of the original release.

D PremThat said, The Director’s Cut doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward initially, marred inexplicably in places with audio glitches and pops, and a framerate that chugs at what looks like a heartbreaking 15-20 FPS. This may not sound promising, especially to newcomers ­– and it certainly needs to be addressed with the patch that’s already reportedly in the works – but nearly all of the game’s technical blemishes abruptly just sort of fade away after the first couple of hours. Even at its worst no problem makes the experience unplayable, and Swery’s at-turns offbeat, hilarious, engaging, and deeply unsettling narrative remains untouched.

Extra for enemies killed

Deadly PrUnsurprising to its old-school survival horror roots, Deadly Premonition’s biggest divisive factor is its original control scheme. York was unapologetically hard to control, like Leon on a wonky bender in Resident Evil 4, the tank-style navigation only exacerbated by lifeless aiming. That’s all gone now. The Director’s Cut takes a page from any number of recent, more action-oriented horror titles, which makes a bigger difference than you might think. Even the manual aim Move controls are pretty good.

Not that Deadly Premonition has ever been, or should be, known for its combat. The otherworldly enemies react with the same near-powerless response to nearly all of your firearms – and it should be noted that The Director’s Cut is both easier than its predecessor and retains all of the infinite ammo weapons that can be unlocked just by completing sidequests. Only the on-rails chase segments are as weirdly harrowing as ever, as you waggle the left analog stick back and forth to make York sprint away from an unnerving, invincible killer.

Driving actually plays quite a heavy role as well, forcing you to manually travel to various locations in and around Greenvale. The reason here is simple: like Hideo Kojima’s Codec conversations in the Metal Gear series, Swery wants you to take in the wonderfully strange conversations York has with Zach, discussing ‘80s pop cultural artifacts and providing insight into the agent’s magnetically unconventional personality.

Deadly Premonition review

Maybe the improved vehicle controls are something of a salve, if not an incentive. In the original game, driving was like trying to steer a shopping cart with greased wheels that’s skidding down worn-out asphalt littered with ball bearings. The cruiser you’ll likely be stuck with throughout your 20ish hours in Greenvale still maxes out at a whopping 50 MPH or so, and while it’s still a touch finicky, the improvement is noticeable. And yeah, you can with some difficulty acquire a fast travel item to skip all the driving segments, but if you do, you’re kind of missing the point.


In case you haven’t already figured it out, Deadly Premonition is the kind of game that – mechanics aside – you play because it’s just too damn engrossing to put down. What seems at first to seem to simply be Twin Peaks: The Game gradually finds its own identity, often due to a sense of fascinating Japanese appropriation to American culture (and whose Lynch impression feels somehow more genuine than the Western-developed Alan Wake’s generic sensibilities).
Deadly Premonition’s appeal is in its details, both goofy and creepy: the way that York taps his finger on his chest when he’s talking to Zach (which, if it wasn’t clear, is Swery’s meta way of addressing the player), his awkward interactions with NPCs, how you rarely hear more than five or six tracks on the soundtrack, and the game’s amusing tendency to repeat small segments of them over and over during the game’s lengthy cutscenes.

Alternately, there is the mystery at the heart of York’s case, full of oppressive dread and dealing in themes that have arguably been left mostly untouched in Western games since Phantasmagoria, to say nothing of the punctuated moments of truly disturbing violence peppered throughout. As far as The Director’s Cut additions here, I’ll just say they add another layer to what was originally more straightforward and will likely make you long for more. Foibles aside, if you haven’t been to Greenvale, this is a must play. If you have, it’s still worth the return trip.

This game was reviewed on a PlayStation 3 using a copy provided by Rising Star Games.


The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

These are the classic NES games that helped redefine gaming

The NES left an indelible mark on pop culture and revolutionized the gaming industry. Check out our picks for the best NES games, whether you prefer an immersive RPG, side-scrolling brawler, or something else entirely.

Still have holiday cash to blow? Grab one of these awesome Xbox One games

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.