If someone asked me to describe The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me in short, I would say it is a complete emotional rollercoaster. The prologue gave me a good idea about how brutal the game would be with its character deaths. However, players will have the opportunity to save everyone if they wish to.
All of the characters have their own flaws, as all of us do. Regardless, I started developing soft spots for some and their relationships. With a playthrough of roughly seven hours, depending on your playstyle, The Devil in Me delivers the longest and arguably best installment in the entire franchise.
The game successfully presents a story worthy of competing against today’s horror genre movies. Supermassive Games has already made a name for itself by creating one of the best interactive movie experiences in the form of an anthology. However, with the release of their most recent title, the developers have taken the cinematic gameplay to another level.
With the introduction of new mechanics and an inventory system, players can now squeeze through places, climb, jump over gaps, shimmy along ledges, push and pull objects, and much more. However, not everything is butterflies and roses. There were moments when I encountered glitches and other minor issues that slowed down the gameplay. Regardless, I couldn’t get the controller off my hands.
In the words of 19th-century criminal Henry Howard Holmes, also known as H.H Holmes:
Whether John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killers sure are creepy and say weird things while on trial. Likewise, infamous serial killer H.H. Holmes declared to the world that he was “born with the devil in him,” which inspired the developers to create their final installment of the Dark Pictures franchise.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me follows the story of a group of documentary filmmakers named Lonnit Entertainment. Players can take on the roles of all the members, namely Charlie, Erin, Kate, Mark, and Jamie.
Charlie, the director of the company, is contacted by a person called Grantham Du’ Met, who claims to be the owner of a hotel that perfectly replicates H.H. Holmes’ “Murder Castle.” While it sounds too good to be true, the man offers the crew a visit to the mansion for any documentary-related purpose, all for free.
With no further hesitation, the team packs up for the trip to the mansion without realizing what fate has in store for them.
The Devil in Me mainly takes place inside Murder Castle, with some gameplay set in surrounding areas. When the crew first reached the mansion, I discovered that the developers gave players the freedom to explore outside of it. The game introduces all the mechanics during this part, as you control the characters to take on different tasks.
I remember one specific part where I controlled Kate and had to cross a log while maintaining balance. There are multiple such moments where players need to climb, move stuff, and solve small puzzles to reach a certain place. Sometimes, it feels a little forced, but mostly, it adds to the gaming aspect of the interactive movie experience.
Everything changes once the crew enters the mansion. The story starts taking a quick turn as its pacing shoots up.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me has improved over its previous installments by a huge margin. One of my favorite features from the game is the option to run, which was missing from the previous titles. The developers also added an inventory system, which makes use of several objects that can interact with the environment.
Items like a torch or a lighter can produce light in dark places and help the characters navigate the dark halls. I found myself getting lost in the hallways of the mansions quite often, returning to the same spot in a circle. This is because the game is built like that. Certain walls and corners appear to be dead-ends at first but can be found leading to another location later.
This adds to the horror element of the game and creates a sense of confusion in the player’s mind.
However, there were times when the game glitched and slowed down the walkthrough pace. While nothing was game-breaking, I found the characters either stuck in place or vanishing in thin air. The jumping and running animations look funny, and there’s plenty of room for improvement in that aspect.
Another thing that bothered me was the random and clunky transitions between two cutscenes or a dialogue scene and the gameplay. Again, this did not ruin the gameplay experience in any way, but it does take away some points.
I started the game with one thing in mind – to try my best to end the story with everyone alive. I had second thoughts about Charlie, but he does not deserve to die because he acts like a jerk half of the time. It’s easy to like or dislike certain characters, and props to the developers for writing them this well.
Most of the combat in The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me comes in the form of QTEs (quick time events). Players must always be alert since they can appear out of nowhere. I remember losing an important item just because I slacked off for a second. I had the option to go back and try again, but I also wanted to see how it would affect the gameplay.
The premonitions were my favorite horror element in the game since they give players a glimpse of the potential deaths. I looked for more of them along the way and hoped to see one while I interacted with every object, painting, or document I came across.
Even though The Devil in Me follows a more linear approach to storytelling, I was excited to see how different the endings could turn out to be. Play the game to discover all the possibilities that come with the title.
Overall, The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me packs a strong punch when it comes to giving chills or creating gory deaths, something I’m a fan of. It has a strong story with well-written characters, bonds, and traits with which I can connect well. The facial expressions are well made and communicate a lot of emotions, whether it’s a feeling of happiness, warmth, or terror.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is a season finale to the Anthology, and without a doubt, it meets most of my expectations from a game of this genre. I’m done with my first walkthrough and can’t wait to hop back in again to check out all the alternate routes I could’ve taken to see how they affect the story.
Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 (code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment)
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox X|S, PC (Steam)
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release Date: November 18, 2022
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