Since the Xbox One launch, I’ve questioned “Where the hell is D4?” as no information, trailers or anything were revealed about the game till the actual release. I thought it was dead but out of nowhere the game was announced during TGS 2014 and all of a sudden it appeared on the Xbox Live Marketplace. So why does D4 really matter to me? Well I was one of that ‘niche’ group of people who actually enjoyed playing Hidetaka Suehiro’s (aka Swery65) cult classic title – Deadly Premonition which can be considered one of the best worst games ever made. So I really assumed his next title that’s exclusive to the Xbox One will be somewhere along the same lines and boy was I right.
D4 follows private investigator David Young whom is a former detective of the Boston Police Department obsessed with solving his wife’s murder, which happened a few years back and is suspected of committing. David however is no ordinary detective, with objects or ‘mementos’ linking to the scene of the crime – David can utilise the object and dive into the past to that exact moment, recreating the scene in that present time. The story pushes forward using this segments and with little to no information given about the characters or yourself – the player must explore the past to piece together the present story.
If I was to compare D4 play style to any other game, it would be Telltale’s episodic style structure and even looks almost the same with its vibrant comic/cel-shaded visuals. What really makes D4 stand out its how the Kinect integrates into the gameplay. Using the Kinect is highly recommended with D4 as the game is built with the device in mind. You still can play with a controller but it doesn’t really feel quite as natural and immersive as it does with the Kinect. Players will use gestures with their hands to navigate around the scene, finding clues and interacting with other characters. Dialogue will appear on the screen and players must pick and say the response accordingly to the conversation. There are QTE combat scenes as well utilising the Kinect, where you’ll pull and whip yours arms to the instructions on the screen.
The game also revolves around points collected from exploring the nooks and crannies of the scenes, engaging in other cases or by simply doing stupid things like slapping an object… or a cat. Points are important to collect as you’ll need them to spend on items so David can regenerate his stamina, vision and health. Stamina monitoring is important as each move or step you take in the game chews up stamina so you’ll be forced to keep an eye on that bar if you want to continue doing your investigation. Vision usage is also important if you do get stuck finding clues as it works more like x-ray vision, helping you pin-point the locations of where you need to go – which I used often because I totally sucked at being a detective.
What really sets D4 apart is the way it’s presented and created. The story of your wife being brutally murdered is quite a serious tone but we are talking about Swery65 here and less than 10 minutes into the game, players will simply go …’umm what the…’ after the introduction of a weird woman named Amanda who apparently believes she’s a cat, and it doesn’t stop there. D4 is not meant to be too serious, while the murder investigation is there – it’s more drama wrapped with comedy which often involved humorous scenes plus weird yet interestingly voiced characters.
“10 minutes into the game, players will simply go …’umm what the…”
D4’s first season (which consists of a prologue and 2 episodes) was quite an interesting ride. The Kinect integration really felt natural to the game and since the Xbox One launch, I’ve yet to play any other games that do this quite well. While the mechanics resemble quite closely to other story-based point and click style adventures, D4 shines through with it’s quirky often weird take on that segment and is possibly one of the best game I’ve played on the Xbox One so far this year.