It’s that time of year again! The Dark Pictures Anthology released their latest title, The Devil In Me.
This one is special because it ends the anthology’s first season. While there’s no official release date for future content, The Devil In Me ends with a tease about what’s to come next, so it looks like we’ll be getting more from Supermassive Games in the future.
Is this year’s installment worth checking out now? And how does it compare to the other three this season? Let’s jump into it and find out.
The Stars of the Show
The Devil In Me has us following around a group of five coworkers working on a true crime documentary. Everyone has their own unique personality and role within the show. Charlie, the owner and producer, is hard on his crew, causing internal conflicts within the ranks. Kate is the show’s star, creating some resentment from Jamie that will be revealed later in the story. Erin, the quiet sound engineer, tries to keep the peace. Mark is the cameraman who’s afraid of heights. Finally, there’s Jamie, the lighting expert.
Much like the other games, it’s up to you to keep each character alive or have them meet their ends if you fail a quick time event or make a poor decision.
What I like most about this cast of characters is how they get fleshed out throughout the story. We didn’t always see that in Supermassive’s previous games. Erin and Jaime’s work and personal relationship, Kate and Jamie’s rivalry, and even Charles becoming less of a boss and more of a leader by the game’s end had the characters feel less two-dimensional. You have to keep all characters alive to see how their story arc finishes, for better or worse, depending on the dialogue choices you make.
A stunning re-creation of H.H. Holmes’ “Murder House” is the main location our protagonists find themselves in. Much like the original house built in the 1800s, this hotel has confusing hallways that trick and trap its unsuspecting victims.
My main issue with this part of the game is it’s a bit too long. The entire playthrough took me about five and a half hours, which makes this the longest in the series to date. After the great intro, there are about ninety minutes of world-building where nothing really happens. It’s important to show this part of the story, but it could have been condensed down quite a bit. I wanted to start actively playing the game.
The Saw Inspired Traps Are Terrifying. The Puzzles, Not So Much
The Murder Castle has about a dozen rooms meant to kill our lovable cast.
I won’t spoil these rooms as I wouldn’t want to give any hints to first-time players looking to escape with the most survivors they can.
While all the rooms are survivable, it will take some quick thinking, not just button mashing, to figure out how to escape each room with their lives. One thing that stood out to me was one of the showpiece traps is pulled directly from Saw 3D, the franchise’s seventh film.
Not inspired by, but a literal copy.
Two Mannequins are attached to a chain with a spinning saw blade in the middle, and they are forced to pull the other one to their side to free themselves.
Beyond the narrative-driven gameplay and quick-time event style decision making, there is only a handful of what I would call puzzles. They usually require you to find a well-hidden code for a keypad located somewhere in the immediate vicinity of the pad itself. I’ll admit some of them did take me five to ten minutes to find, but I wouldn’t call this a good puzzle.
The other type of puzzle is the fuse boxes. There will be a diagram of what order to flip the switches to restore power. I did find this kind of fun to do, but I wouldn’t call them hard, either.
Also littered throughout the game are collectibles called Obols. For those unfamiliar, Obols are ancient Greek coins that would be used to ferry the dead into the next life. You can use them to unlock extra content in the game.
The Devil in Me Is Far From a Perfect Game
I did notice some buggy cutscene transitions during my playthrough. Some were so abrupt that I thought my game skipped over the content.
There are a few graphical bugs in which doors were being closed by a character, only to remain open during the rest of the cutscene. Apparently, the Day 1 patch wasn’t pushed out in time for, well, day one of release.
The bigger issue is multiplayer at this time appears to be filled with bugs. There are numerous occasions of players being unable to connect with friends and disconnecting, killing the momentum of their campaign playthrough. It creates a frustrating experience that breaks the immersion Supermassive Games is trying to develop.
At the time of release, this is far from a flawless experience. For some, it will affect your enjoyment of the experience. Others may be able to look past it, though.
So where does the Devil In Me rank in The Dark Pictures Anthology? I would say House of Ashes is still the best of the bunch, with Devil in Me in second. Man of Medan is a close third, and Little Hope brings up the rear. It falls short compared with Supermassive’s other 2022 release, The Quarry. It’s clear that The Quarry had a bigger budget and longer development time, and honestly, it shows.