With The Devil in Me the Dark Pictures Anthology comes to end of its first season (we already know something about the next title though, which will be set in space). After Man of Medan, Little Hope And House of Ashes let’s abandon witches and supernatural for a horror adventure more realisticbased on nothing less than Henry Howard Holmesthe one who is still today referred to as the America’s first serial killer.
Supermassive Games will she have succeeded in her intent to pack a slap-top season finale? Let’s find out together in this review of The Devil in Me completely without spoilers.
Version tested: PS5
Welcome to the World’s Fair Hotel
There fascination with serial killers it never fails, especially among lovers of horror or stories based on true crime. They know it well too unfortunate protagonists of The Devil in Me, five members of a broke television crewwho desperately try to recover by turning the life horror documentary: when a wealthy tycoon invites them to film in the faithful reconstruction of the Castle of Death by HH Holmes, the offer is too good to refuse. Once on the spot, however, the protagonists soon understand that there is something strange and not everything is the result of suggestion.
There history of The Devil in Me part with some excellent premises: the game of cat and mouse is soon put on the plate and the fun is all there, in figuring out who will be able to get the better of the crazy psychopath who is trying to emulate the legendary serial killer. The horror therefore begins in 1892 (the year in which the prologue is set) but continues up to the present day, in a macabre game of torture and death that recalls Saw at times.
Despite the good intentions, however, The Devil in Me it never really manages to impress the viewer: with these premises, one expects a very macabre story, sadistic games, an iconic assassin. You will find very little of this throughout the adventure. The characterization of the characters is not sharp at the right point, there is little empathy: even when you find yourself choosing whether to help one or the other victim, the decision is rather random. The narrative plot is repetitive and almost non-existent. In the end, the real fun becomes the exploration: thanks to the documents and clues scattered around the hotelthe player pretends to be an investigator who has to reconstruct, piece by piece, the identity of the murderer.
Innovation or crap?
If you are familiar with the Dark Pictures Anthology or Until Dawn, you know that Supermassive games are self-contained narrative adventures where the player decides the lives of the various characters through multiple choice dialogues, QTE (quick time events) and based on what you choose to do in the most excited moments (do I hide or run away? Do I help my friend or do I attack the aggressor?).
The gameplay of The Devil in Me does not revolutionize these styles at all, but add some elements that were not present in previous games: each character has a small inventory (it’s all very limited) that can contain objects to make light, keys and other unique tools. Pity though that there is no freedom to use them at all and some objects are really useless outside of very few occasions in which we are forced to use them by the game.
The other novelty lies in the character mobility, who can now climb ledges, climb and descend ladders, move trolleys to jump on them. In this way, the Supermassive team has included some very simple environmental puzzles in the adventure that serve a bit to lengthen the broth. Nothing sensational, also because the movements of our crew remain rather woody. On the other hand, the use of QTEs is good, which help to raise adrenaline and restore attention.
We weren’t overly impressed however choices that The Devil in Me offers to the player: we try to think to make the story go in the desired direction (do we save one or the other character?) but sometimes the outcome of our actions seemed a bit too unpredictable . Truly a lottery.
Darkness, darkness… and more darkness
With regard to the technical aspect, The Devil in Me isn’t exactly doing very well (yes: that’s an understatement). We encountered small bugs that dirtied the whole adventure, from the dubbing which, although set in Italian, magically became English on dozens of occasions, up to the jerky animations: the biggest problem remains the expressiveness of the protagonists, which is more fixed and lifeless than usual (the typical fish eyes…) and makes it really difficult to immerse yourself in the story. Not to mention the murderer, mute and devoid of personality (much less scary than the mannequins scattered around the setting)…
The most charismatic character remains the Curator.
The hotel of horrors is an intriguing setting, cured in the furnishings and very atmospheric in its long claustrophobic corridors, but it does not reach the fascinating peaks of House of Ashes. There are a couple of well-crafted jumpscares, but it’s thedarkness the real protagonist of the game: the almost total darkness of some sections helps to keep the tension, it is true, but it takes a moment to get lost in a tiny room if you can’t see from an inch from your nose (especially if you play with daylight on the screen… resign yourself there).
- A charming and well-kept setting
- It is intriguing to reconstruct the details of the story thanks to documents and clues
POINTS OF WEAKNESS:
- Technically it remains a sieve
- Little horror and little plot: we expected more from this serial killer!
The Devil in Me, despite you try to innovate by introducing little new elements into the gameplaydoes step back as compared to House of Ashes as for the settings, the plot and the horror in general. If you are a veteran of the Supermassive anthology, gather your friends, join the television crew (or the killer) and you could even spend a few hours of fun in company… provided you are passionate about the genre and don’t have too many pretensions.