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The most divisive horror game ever is yours for less than $2 right now

Deadly Premonition is one of my favorite games ever, and while I can’t really recommend it you can get it for under $2 in this Steam sale.

From Balatro and Helldivers 2 to Last Epoch and Dragon’s Dogma 2, 2024 is a year already stuffed full with some of the best new PC games you could ask for. Ahead of us lies the Elden Ring DLC, Manor Lords, FF14 Dawntrail, Frostpunk 2, and more. With that in mind, returning to a cult classic 2010 survival horror game probably isn’t top of your list, especially when it comes with a notable list of caveats. Yet here we stand. I can’t really recommend in good conscience that you buy Deadly Premonition. What I can say is that it’s perhaps one of my favorite games of all time, and that it’s currently 95% off in a Steam sale, meaning you’d pay less than $2 if you decided to pick it up right now.

Deadly Premonition follows the tale of FBI special agent Francis York Morgan (call him York, everybody calls him that) as he investigates the murder of a young woman in a small, rural American town called Greendale in the Pacific Northwest. It’s an open-world survival horror game that draws very clear inspiration from the likes of Silent Hill and Resident Evil, but is perhaps most immediately aligned with surreal television drama Twin Peaks.

The setup, from the location and early cast through to the initial plot threads, so closely resemble David Lynch’s beloved series that you might at first assume Deadly Premonition has little more to offer than simple pastiche. But as things progress and a series of gruesome incidents raise questions about the local legend of a ‘raincoat killer,’ the story of Deadly Premonition very much grows into its own, with instantly memorable characters and moments that will stick with you long after you’ve solved its mysterious tale.

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Unfortunately, that’s where the problems begin – indeed, Deadly Premonition actually holds an official Guinness World Record as the ‘most critically divisive survival horror videogame.’ It doesn’t play well; awkward tank controls and sluggish shooting certainly evoke that early era of 3D survival horror, but fall far short of the standards of the time.

Its menus are awkward and confusing, the driving handles terribly, the map can’t be zoomed out enough to ever make it particularly useful, the combat sequences are overly long and laborious, some of its more sensitive topics are handled with a less than subtle edge, and the PC port has enough issues that you’ll probably want to grab the ‘DPfix’ patch made by the creator of the Dark Souls DSfix mod, Peter ‘Durante’ Thoman, before you start.

On top of all that, the last time I played it I ran into a progression soft-lock that essentially put a premature end to my adventure. And yet, in spite of all that, I can’t help but love it. Deadly Premonition is a game with an incredible heart; it charms and delights in its weirdness. Its story is a genuinely compelling mystery that will keep you guessing at every turn without feeling cheap. Its fantastic, esoteric soundtrack and disconcertingly paced dialogue are flashes of brilliance that leave you wondering if perhaps every problem it has are actually intentional design choices.

Deadly Premonition - FBI Special Agent Francis York Morgan and Sheriff George Woodman interview the mysterious Mr Harry Stewart.

As mentioned, Deadly Premonition is very much a distinct tale from the one told by Twin Peaks, but director Hidetaka ‘SWERY’ Suehiro captures that sense of Lynchian unease astonishingly well in a more effective manner than almost anything else I’ve experienced. For all its flaws, Deadly Premonition feels unique and special in a way that’s worth seeing, especially when a Steam sale discount means it’ll cost you less than a burger.

Deadly Premonition: The Directors Cut is on sale for 95% off on Steam until Friday April 26. That means you’ll pay just $1.24/£0.99 for your copy, or $1.49/£1.24 if you buy it with the soundtrack, which itself is probably worth more than the price of entry – it’s opening song, The Woods and the Goddess, has been my alarm ringtone for probably going on the past five years now.

If you’d rather play it safe and stick to something more traditionally “good,” here are the best PC games in 2024. We’ve also picked out the best story games if you’re looking for something that’ll draw you into an exciting tale.

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