Several years ago Deadly Premonition released, which had a largely mixed reception. While a number of fans and critics loved the game, others simply didn’t get the appeal or simply thought it was stupid. A few years later, Deadly Premonition Director’s Cut released on the PlayStation 3, which featured a lot of the DLC and various additional scenes. With some fans still wanting more, Rising Star Games came up with Deadly Premonition The Director’s Cut: The Official Visual Companion for the iPad. Given the cult status of the game, is the book a must for true fans or is it trying to cash in on the success of the Deadly Premonition name?
As the name might suggest, Deadly Premonition The Director’s Cut: The Official Visual Companion is something of a fan/data/art/guidebook, combined with the OST and topped off with some documentary elements. If you’re not thoroughly confused by this statement, it’s basically a lot of different things, without actually being any of those things.
The book starts off with a brief explanation of how to use it, though it’s not entirely useful. The page itself actually explains what gestures work (standard fare for touchscreen devices) and tells you to explore each page for possibly hidden interactive elements. Some of these are clever; where as most of them are fairly obvious.
Once you get a feel for the book, you can continue onto the preface section. Here you can jump to a certain part via the table of contents or continue on to see Swery 65’s nice little thank you for buying the book. After this you get to the main attraction, which starts with the obvious, Welcome to Greenvale section.
From this point forward, you can tell a lot of effort went into making this book. While the previous pages look like your standard book, the rest of them are quite stylized and really stand out. While this attention to detail is appreciated, be warned that many of these pages simply look this way and don’t seem to be hiding any secrets.
With that being said, the first section is an introduction to Greenvale. The first real page is a map of the town, with a few icons you can click. One of them plays some music, another explains the start of the game, two of them are videos, another has an audio clip, so there are several things to play around with. The next page is a picture of Snoqualmie Falls, which was the inspiration for Greenvale. Clicking the postcard will show you its location via Google Maps and clicking Swery 65’s image at the bottom shows a brief clip of the game and him driving. The following page covers Swery 65’s photoblogs from Snoqualmie Falls and contains a number of pictures of various things from the area. There is also another thank you from Swery 65 for playing. The final page is another map of Greenvale, but with pictures of various locations and some theme music to go with it.
After you get reacquainted with Greenvale, you can move onto the character biography section. Here you can read up on seven of the games characters, which include basic information like name, age, job and a small biography. Additionally, these pages do contain spoilers, but you need to touch the spoiler label to read them. This was a nice touch, since it prevents accidental spoilers.
The next section covers secrets and collectibles, though this section is just an interactive map, all the card locations and a card checklist. Following the collectibles section, is the inside access section, which is really the heart of this book. Here you can find Swery’s notebook, though be warned the notebook is almost completely in Japanese. Please note, I could not find a way to change it either, so you might not be able to read much or any of the information found on this page. The remaining pages give you some additional information about Swery and is an interesting read if you want to know more about him. If not, you can continue to the last page containing various storyboards. These are extremely interesting if you want to know more about the game design process, just be warned that these are also in Japanese.
To continue on with this theme, the next chapter covers concept art and is your standard fare. If you’re not tired of seeing Deadly Premonition artwork, you can check out some fan art in the next section or take the 10-question “super fan” quiz. Just keep in mind that the questions don’t seem to change, so you don’t expect different questions.
Breaking off from the rest of the book, the next section is a lot more interactive and starts with a section devoted to music. Here you can listen to 15 of the games songs, though keep in mind turning the page or closing the book will also stop playback. If music isn’t your thing, you can check out some of the trailers or turn the page for a number of sound clips from the game.
The rest of the book is devoted to highly interactive elements. The first element is a wordsearch, followed by a page to color, slide puzzle, maze game (like you would find on a children’s placemat) and a make your own scene game. If none of these things strike your fancy, you can continue to last section, the credits.
While this is a pretty basic overview of what to expect, the book is still quite far from perfect. In addition to maybe not covering what you were expecting (it mostly covered the making of Deadly Premonition), the book can be very laggy at times. For instance, going from character biographies back to welcome to Greenvale in page view mode, was roughly a 40 second load time. Other times, simply loading a more complex page like Swery’s Photoblog froze my iPad for the upwards of 30 seconds.
In the end, Deadly Premonition The Director’s Cut: The Official Visual Companion is a very interesting book that might not appeal to everyone. Most of the pages are merely images, as only roughly 79 of the quoted 352 pages are “unique” in the sense that they appear on the bottom, not to mention the OST/games/soundbound/movies make up 15+ of those 79 pages. This means the remaining 200+ pages are things like the photoblog, concept art and Swery 65’s journal. All of these interactive elements also makes the book a whopping 1.14 gb, which might be more space than you want to devote to this sort of thing. Still, it’s worth a purchase so long as you’re part of its extremely small niche, as the visual companion gives fantastic insight into the type of things that go into making a game and it acts as a handy tool to go along with the game.