Co-Optimus - Review - Beyond Co-Op Reviews - April 2010

Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers

  • Couch Co-Op: 2 Players
  • + Co-Op Campaign

Beyond Co-Op Reviews - April 2010 - Page 5


Publisher: Ignition
Developer: Access Games
MSRP: $19.99
by: Mike Katsufrakis


You know, it's strange that one of the best games I've played all year is a budget title from Ignition Entertainment, but here we are. Deadly Premonition is equal parts Grand Theft Auto, Resident Evil (of PS1 vintage, mind you) and Twin Peaks. Playing as Special Agent Francis York Morgan (call him York, that's what everyone does) of the FBI, you're tasked with solving a gruesome series of murders in the small town of Greenvale.  

The controls are absolutely horrendous- remember the tank controls from the original Resident Evil? They're back! It can take up to three button presses to fire a gun (both shoulder buttons and the A button to shoot, naturally), and learning to hit your targets despite there being a lock-on function becomes an exercise in frustration. Once you're driving in the open world, it doesn't get better- of the two cars you can drive, one steers like a hyperactive squirrel and the other can barely make turns. You can, however, use your turn signals and windshield wipers.

What you will never expect is for the game to be as consistently hilarious as it is. York has an imaginary friend named Zach (who is... you!) that he regularly converses with. Conversations regularly feature York's love for 70s and 80s films, Tom & Jerry's co-dependent relationship, DVD special features, and off-hand comments about the townspeople.

He also has a wonderful habit of picking the absolute worst moments to speak of former cases he investigated. Having a heartwarming discussion with your new coworkers? Talk about a murderer whose victims' skulls were used to both drink from and relieve ones' self in!

The game practically revels in the absurd, and almost completely makes up for any gameplay shortfalls you run into along the way. The music is... well... there's a piece that pops up a lot with lazy guitar strumming, whistling, and a kazoo solo. It sounds like a B-side off of the Super Mario 64 soundtrack.

It controls terribly, looks worse, but it has a lot of fun being crazy, and you can tell the developers really did know their game was this damn silly. What's more interesting is that the "horror" bits, amateurish as they look/sound can actually be quite effective, and York is just a fun character to experience. This has to be one of the best budget titles I've ever played, and I can't recommend playing it enough. Bring a friend, you'll have a ton of laughs.