Alan Wake creator Sam Lake has spoken openly of his game's debt to Twin Peaks, referencing David Lynch's ground-breaking TV series in interviews and paying subtle tribute in the game itself. By comparison, Ignition's Deadly Premonition feels like frenzied fanfic, pilfering elements left, right and centre as it relays the tale of a coffee-loving FBI agent investigating a ritualistic killing in a sleepy rural town. Crucially, though, it nails that Lynchian tone, aping the director's blend of the mundane and the surreal in what is undeniably one of the weirdest retail videogame releases for a long, long time.
Whether that's by accident or design, however, is open to debate. Certainly some of the oddness is intentional, but equally, Deadly Premonition's unique feel comes from a combination of budgetary constraints, uneven pacing and baffling mechanics. A blend of detective story and Siren-style survival horror, it's a game where smoking whiles away valuable hours, an "unbelievably delicious" turkey sandwich (costing just shy of a hundred bucks) is the ultimate in nutrition, and the hero's beard grows in real time.
Hero is perhaps the wrong word to describe Agent Francis York Morgan ("call me York"), an arrogant chain-smoking suit from the big city with a penchant for java, biscuits, and inappropriate topics of conversation over dinner. He's the kind of guy who smugly looks down on his small-town cohorts before regaling them with tales of a serial murderer who urinated in and then drank from his victims' skulls. He spends half his time relaying messages to the unseen Zach, who may or may not be a figment of his imagination, often during dialogue with other characters. Amazingly, no-one ever mentions this.