Deadly Premonition Survival Guide

Deadly Premonition has been out for awhile - nearly a year now - but it seems everyday someone new is discovering it. Or getting back into it after being pulled away by something else. I think this is great, as it was one of my favourite games of 2010 and one of the more memorable (notice I said memorable, not good) games of all time. This isn't to say the game isn't without problems of course, as many people have pointed out. My biggest problem with the game is that it does a poor job of explaining things that the player really should know, that make the game a lot easier and fun. Things that could easily cause someone to throw in the towel on this budget release.

So I thought I'd do a writeup for anybody in the process of playing or about to play this... weird and special game. This is mostly inspired by a friend who just loaned the game to, but of course it can apply to anybody. So enjoy! :)
Probably the biggest and most immediate misunderstanding people will have with Deadly Premonition is the time limits the game seems to impose on the player. There is always at least one time visible when travelling around, and most people will make the mistake of thinking that's a proper deadline. Thing is, while it is a time limit there's no consequence of missing it. The town of Greenvale is more than just filler between missions, it's a fully realized open-world city complete with a day/night cycle, changing weather that affects the environment, and citizens who have routines that change as the game progresses. So while you might have to meet someone by 17:00, the only real consequence to missing that appointment is having to wait until the next day. Likewise, when you're driving with someone (like George or Emily) and decide to get out of the car, you can meet up with them later or just wait until the next day to restart the mission.
What does this mean to the player? Well, it means they can take their time, and explore the world as much as they'd like! There's a lot to learn about many inhabitants of this little town, as evidenced here (only watch until 6:45, otherwise risk spoilers). 

This of course leads into the sidequests. There are 50 sidequests that you can do throughout the game, giving rewards that range from nothing, to simple collectables, to items that make the game a lot less frustrating/tedious to play. This is of course in addition to revealing more about the characters involved, such as Emily's terrible cooking or actually learning about a particular character before they're killed off. You can only do each one during certain chapters in the game though, which can be determined under the sidequests section in the pause menu. A nice feature of the game is that when loading a save, you can choose to replay any chapter you've already done with all progress carrying over when you resume the game. The only downside is that if you're in the middle of a chapter, you'll lose all progress in it if you switch to another one and will have to start it over. 
*** Something to be careful of: It's come to my attention that you can possibly lose story items and break your save if you're not careful. I'd recommend not doing this when in the middle of an important part of the story *** 

With all this exploring, you'll be affected by a few game mechanics that you could completely miss out on if you just play the main story straight through. The first one is the need for food and sleep. Simple enough really, if you don't get enough sleep your hunger will drop more quickly, and if you don't eat enough you'll start to lose health. Just make sure to take advantage of beds and always have lots of food in your inventory. Secondly is the gas/damage level on your cars. Take a look at your map, if you have a long distance to drive make sure to either fill up at the gas station or pick a car with a full tank. Running out of gas is really annoying, and it's easy to forget to take rescue flares with you.

Whether or not you indulge in the extras, you're going to have to shoot up some crazy monsters at one point or another. This is probably where most people give up on the game. A few things to remember are that combat is slow and your character moves like a tank, so you'll need to make sure to keep enemies in as close to a line in front of you as possible. When you're comfortable with how spacing works you'll find you can often run past enemies, which is incredibly useful when you find you need to run to the other side of the room to put space between yourself and some vicious zombies.

Furthermore, while auto-aim is useful for getting an initial bead on an enemy, it rarely targets the weak spot of an enemy (the head in most cases), so don't rely on it too much. There are also some quick time events that will almost certainly catch you off guard resulting in a quick and frustrating death. My only advice for these is to be ready for them at all times, and if you fail remember that the button prompts are always the same (or one or only a couple possible combinations) every time.

Lastly are a few things to save you some time. It probably won't take long before you're fed up with the painful amount of time it takes to go through doors or get into and out of cars. For doors, just run up to the door and hold the run button down as you're opening it to go through much more quickly. For cars, I can't remember which button but a simple button press will skip that cutscene. It just isn't the one you think.
And that's about it! There's more I could say about the combat, but these are all things you'll figure out. Hopefully by following these guidelines your journeys in Greenvale will be as memorable as mine was. 

Highs And Lows Of 2010 (Belated)

2010 has come and gone, and like everybody else I've been thinking back on the last year of gaming... the games I played, the games I wish I played, the games I wish I didn't play. Maybe it's the nature and traditions of what we do on NYE, or maybe it's just because of all the other GOTY lists we were bombarded with over the last few weeks. So without further delay, here's seven games I rather enjoyed and three I was quite disappointed by.

Keep in mind that this only covers games I played, and as I don't have a Sony system and my Wii is in a box over 3000 miles away leaves me with a fairly limited selection. These are also listed in alphabetical order so I don't have to choose one over the other, because at this point it's like picking which child you like the most. ;) 

Battlefield: Bad Company 2
Up until the end of the summer I was squarely in the Call of Duty camp, however due to various circumstances that series was getting very tired for me. I took a friend's recommendation and picked up this game, and it's easily the best console shooter experience I've ever had. I've always been a fan the scale of Battlefield games, which is something most other shooters just haven't been able to replicate. There's a good variety with the weapons, the different classes force you to constantly change up your playstyle, and the only one thing you need to win is teamwork.

The Vietnam expansion that came out right at the end of the year was a massive boost, adding not only maps and weapons, but a completely new style that's unheard for most multiplayer shooters. Something about selecting that menu option and having CCR suddenly blare at you makes this a shooter I expect to be playing for quite awhile.

Deadly Premonition
This game was the big surprise of the year for me. I really didn't know what to expect from this game aside from the ridiculous trailers and videos posted on blogs, but it was a budget release (a real budget release, none of that $40 budget nonsense) so I figured why not.

What I got was one of the most interesting gaming experiences I've had in awhile, with a story that is equal parts absurd, silly, and deep. Swery managed to make an entire town and fill it with characters I actually cared about, who had daily schedules and plenty of hidden secrets for anybody able to find them. Sure the actual gameplay mechanics weren't very good and the game did a bad job of explaining things the player really should know (like how the game handles time and mission deadlines), but this is one of those rare cases for me where the story and characters made up for the gameplay deficiencies. I played through the story three times to get all the achievements, and given all the complaints about the gameplay shows just how much I liked the story.

Pac-Man CE DX
It's amazing how Namco was able to reinvent Pac-Man three years ago with Championship edition, changing the focus from just mere survival and maximizing the use of power pellets to gobbling down as much fruit as possible for high scores. All while keeping the feel of what makes a Pac-Man game. You'd think there's nothing else they could do with the Pac-Man formula, but CE DX shows just how wrong you'd be. It's such a fundamentally different game than any other Pac-Man game, but when you play it it's still undeniably Pac-Man.

This is the game for me to just shut my brain off and rely on pure reflexes to survive and chow down on that massive ghost train, while the amazing soundtrack just keeps up the frantic high energy feeling.

Picross 3D
Another bargain title, which I bought solely based on the recommendation from Jeff Gerstman's quick look. I'd never played a Picross game before, but this one has spent more time in my DS than any other game this year, possibly ever. And I still haven't solved every puzzle! I now see what all those people who obsessively play Sudoku are going on about, as it's the perfect game for both short bursts and marathon sessions.


Red Dead Redemption
Never been a big fan of westerns, and I'm always baffled and how Rockstar can make protagonists that are... well, little bitches. While RDR keeps up the tradition of the latter with John Marston, they've managed to once again craft a giant world that is just fun to run around in. With the high production values the studio is known for, and a story and set of characters that in typical Rock Star fashion are as memorable and insane as the situations the protagonist keeps finding himself in. Cap it off with an amazing end sequence that kept you guessing on when the game had actually ended and you have one of the best all around single player experiences of this year.


Super Meat Boy
I've always been a fan of 2D platformers, especially challenging ones that don't cross the line into masocore territory. Giving challenge that doesn't rely on cheap "GOTCHA!" memorization tactics is a hard thing to do, but Super Meat Boy does a great job of skirting that line. Having short levels with fast respawn is a godsend as even if you know the level you'll likely die a lot due to the sheer precision required, When you do beat a level, Team Meat included the brilliant feature of showing all your attempts in the replay video. Toss in ten shitloads of both retro and indie game references, and a cast of characters that might as well be an indie all star team and you have an very complete package that, along with free dlc levels, Team Meat has ensured is well worth the asking price.

Another challenging platformer, VVVVVV is similar to Super Meat Boy but in many ways very different. The whole game is one giant level you can explore Metroid style, and can beat in an hour if you know what you're doing. This doesn't stop it from being a brilliantly crafted game however, which uses just one simple mechanic in way more ways than you'd think possible. Controls are spot on, the simplistic graphical style is pulled off perfectly, and the chiptunes soundtrack is the best I've heard in years. On top of all that, Terry made the brilliant design decision to allow the user to unlock all extras and bonuses at anytime if they want, under the premise that they should be able to play the game they paid for however they like. I bought this game from his website when it first came out, and then again when it came out later on Steam, and will gladly buy a third time it if it comes out on XBLA.


Now, countering this list are three games that, while not necessarily bad, are ones that I can't help but be disappointed in...

Comic Jumper
Let me start this by stating that I LOVE Twisted Pixel. The Maw, and especially Splosion Man are among my favourite games released this console generation. The developers have a knack for not only creating adorable and hilarious characters and worlds, but integrating them all together in some sort of impossible game universe. Comic Jumper, while being full of more of the same charm and humour than you'd think possible (they made FMV relevant again for god sakes!) is... a sadly mediocre game to actually play. Not bad, but just... so meh. A weird dual joystick platformer/shooter/brawler hybrid style with enemies that take frustratingly long to beat, it's a far cry from the sheer joy in gameplay that their previous titles have.


Game Room
So much wasted potential. I was really behind the idea of Game Room: A legalized emulation alternative with extra features modern consoles offer like leaderboards, stat tracking and friend challenges. Where I assume it fell flat was... well, they just didn't get the games. Even if they did though, the pricing didn't help. While something like Jackal is debatably worth $3 (or $5 to play on any supported device) most of the games, little more than Intellivision/2600 shovelware, simply aren't worth that much. Especially when you can buy 2600/Intellivision collections for a fraction of the price elsewhere.

After the developer was shut down and the last minute release of game pack 13 right at the end of the year (which was capped off with the "joke" demo Venetian Blinds) it looks doubtful anything else will come out of Game Room.

And we never got Sunset Riders...

Monday Night Combat
I just don't understand how devs keep thinking online only downloadable games on a console are a good idea. The turnaround for all but the top handful of games is depressingly fast, yet we constantly see these games released. I guess devs are able to make profits with these releases, but with my limited money having at best a few weeks of gametime before 99% of the players move on is a really tough sell.

This sucks even more so when the game as as good as Monday Night Combat is. It's a game that deserves a lot more attention than it got, which is why I bought it. Even though I was going to be away from any sort of gaming for almost a month, what with a cross country move and PAX coming up, I still bought it. And I had a few very fun nights until I got sick of trying to find a match. Even my friends who piss and moan about how nobody will play it find excuses to play CoD instead when this comes up. Hopefully the PC version finds a more stable and sizable fanbase.

Hello Giant Bomb!

Hello world! ScottyGrayskull here. Long time lurker / first time poster, just thought I'd post a failblog to introduce myself. 
I'm... well, not young anymore and I live in Vancouver, Canada. I used to live on the other side of the country but decided right before PAX to finally move, so I packed up my car and spent a week driving across the country. Now here I am in Vancouver, trying to meet people and make it work.  
... well, I would be if I didn't spend all my time playing the vijyas. ^_^ 
Been a gamer for 22 years. At the tender age of 7 I finished piano lessons, and while waiting for my mom to pick me up watched her sons play Super Mario Bros 2, which had just come out. I was blown away and begged my parents to get me an NES, and needless to say I never learned how to play the piano very well. Since then I've flip/flopped between being a console gamer and a PC gamer, attempted to be a collector, and gotten involved in too many online communities. Some of my favourite games of all time include Doom, Team Fortress 2, Terranigma, Mega Man 2 and Donkey Kong 94.  
Other than that I've been enjoying exploring Vancouver. I do Taekwon Do and got my black belt over the summer, really hoping I'll find a club soon and can get back into it. 
Currently playing Bad Company 2 and really want to play more Monday Night Combat, feel free to add me on 360! You can add me on Steam too, but the only computer I have here can't play much for PC gaming. See you on the site! <3