I have to admit that Supermassive Games are great storytellers. The Dark Pictures anthology is proof of that, and the fact that year after year they have presented a new episode as different in theme and characters as they have been, is cause for praise. But similarly, perhaps due to production schedules, or perhaps a lack of technique or resources, technical advancements on the base formula take a lot longer to be noticed. As I noted in my last review, The Devil in Me is more The Dark Pictures, for better and for worse. But “let’s break it down little by little”.
As I’ve already said, The Dark Pictures is known for touching on all sub-genres of horror in their games. From ghost stories and haunted ships (Man of Medan), to dark magic, the occult and deep America (Little Hope), to war and monster stories (House of Ashes). The Devil in Me is a sticking point, not because it strays from the horror story genre, but because this time it is based on real and documented facts, like the story of HH Holmes, considered the first serial killer (and also the most “prolific”) in the United States. This bloodthirsty individual is said to have killed over 200 people in the late 19th century across the country. A figure who has inspired fear as much as fascination throughout history, and who inspires the group of main characters to embark on an adventure.
We play as the crew of Lonnit Entertainment, a small, dilapidated production company trying to save their business by filming the latest installment in their serial killer series starring HH Holmes. A mysterious individual, Charles Du’Met, invites them to spend the weekend at his old house on an island off the East Coast, where he apparently lives. The building is a fairly faithful recreation of Murder Castle, a hotel that Holmes used as a cover for his crimes, and which he modified to fill with traps and deadly instruments for guests. Recording the episode there could mean the difference between keeping the job or not, so everyone agrees to attend the mystery date.
This is an announcement:
Once at the hotel, they gradually discover that what seemed like a strange fascination becomes real, and blood and murder begin to follow one another. Gradually, they discover that this deadly game they are trapped in has many layers, and that it has been meticulously prepared for them. If we want our characters to survive the night, we will have to make choices, which can cause a butterfly effect and trigger several possible outcomes (and most of them aren’t exactly good). This is the premise on which the series is based, and in The Devil in Me it is just as present. They also introduce the factor of character relationships, and they intend for that to be an important variable in the story, but the truth is that most decisions about them come naturally, and with the exception of a few moments reviews with each, there’s no need to worry too much about that either.
But survival is not only due to our teammates, since we will also have to take the initiative and solve puzzles, perform quick events (QTE) and obtain all possible clues from the environment. Even the slightest overlooked clue can mean a team member lives or dies, so take it easy…as long as there isn’t a scare that will have you hanging from the ceiling.
This is an announcement:
One of the new features The Devil in Me introduces to the series is vertical exploration. environments and the use of objects to reach otherwise inaccessible places. These are classic puzzles box moving, so if you’ve ever played The Last of Us or Uncharted, you know how they work. None of them are particularly difficult, and the times when I felt slightly stuck it was because I hadn’t noticed the solution was in a gap in the wall or somewhere I didn’t. didn’t realize I could cross. Now the areas through which we advance are larger and, in this case, more complex, as the corridors and rooms of the hotel rotate at the will of our mysterious captor.
This changing landscape also means that we are always on edge, on the lookout for leftovers or lights that seem to point the way. We don’t know what’s behind the next door, but we have to be prepared, and that’s where the second major addition to the title comes in: the inventory of characters. It’s very basic, and it only allows a maximum of four items at a time, one of them being a light source such as a lighter or a torch. Another of the spaces will almost always be assigned to a key that opens a particular door in the same area, and the others range from temporary consumables to the signature item, as I called it. Each character has one and they’re extremely useful, like a map to pry open drawers, a selfie stick to reach high objects, or a multimeter to check voltage and collect electrical current.
When I played the preview, I was only able to enjoy a small portion of the game, and assumed that those puzzles and inventory dynamics would carry more weight in the plot. But now that I’ve seen the game credits, I feel like none of them are really exploited, and that they have less weight than they should have in the story. In the end, they turned out to be more a few isolated moments than another twist in the game’s loop, and I’m a little disappointed.
The story of The Devil in Me could easily be the best of the four we’ve seen so far. The inspiration from cinematic sagas as important as “Saw” and the recreation of a real historical figure set it apart from the previous ones (although there is still the supernatural element, of course). But even a great story loses its strength if the technical capabilities are not up to par . And there are countless errors in the tech section: characters teleporting and levitating, lighting blackouts, error not marking a wanted item as unlocked (this error carries over throughout the series, it seems). it), not to mention the terrible sound profile. I tried playing the game with the original English voices and Spanish localization, and I say-I almost wish this was the first time I found a video game dub to be better than the work of the original actors .
And these bugs are not the ones that were fixed in the day one patch (although some were marked for it), I must confess that I didn’t notice any drop in frames or performance and the game runs perfectly on PC and consoles, and my PC is starting to get a bit outdated (an Intel i5 processor with an Nvidia 1070). Just in case some of the issues I mentioned were due to my hardware, I played with a PC and a PlayStation 5 console simultaneously, and the errors I am referring to were present in both.
I hope and pray that Supermassive Games will continue to work to deliver experiences as immersive and exciting as The Devil in Me. It’s clear that when it comes to visual storytelling, they have very few rivals in the industry, but maybe it’s time, now that this first season of the anthology is over, to put aside the release of the annual installments and sit down and think about how to fix the problems that are still recurring and even. Because in the end, even a good story, no matter how good, can’t save mediocre gameplay.