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The Devil in Me is the most recent installment and season finale of The Dark Pictures Anthology games. The Dark Pictures Anthology games take inspiration from various real life historical events.This game follows a documentary film crew that are invited to an exact replica of America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes’ murder hotel. However, something far more sinister is going on behind the scenes than filming a documentary.
Every single little detail in this game is phenomenal, the studio has always had incredible attention to detail. It is like Five Nights at Freddy’s meets Saw meets American Horror Story: Hotel. The atmosphere and scope of the game’s various locations is absolutely incredible and the best in the series. Each room, corridor, and secret detail are rendered in such a way that feels both inviting and terrifying. The game is not afraid to outright reference its inspirations like Saw in its story and embrace cheesy, slasher, B movie tropes. The Devil in Me is at its best when it is presenting choices, paying homage to its references, and showing everything it has to offer.
The Devil in Me is a genuinely scary experience and has some really tense moments and morally tough decisions. The Five Nights at Freddy’s feel and Saw-like traps are fitting given the situation and killer’s motivations, which add to the atmosphere. The killer is an ever present, very real, and mysterious threat. There is a back story there, but not everything is shared. There is also a sense of dread that lingers throughout the runtime due to the killer and story that exists under the surface told through collectibles, clues, and other secrets. The killer is unlike anything these games have presented before and fits in well thematically.
The Devil in Me is an extremely grounded story. This is due to interpersonal connections, little to no supernatural events, the choices you can make and their impact on the story, and the setting of the hotel replica. Everything feels very real, which is largely because this is based on an event that really happened and has been retold in other media. The hotel is a very real location and tangible.
The story is interesting, the characters are well developed, the lore is well thought out, and the themes presented work well given the plot. The atmosphere in the series is great, but the hotel is definitely a character in itself. The whole storyline with Du’met, Lonnit Entertainment, the mannequins, Hector Munday, Joseph Morello, and traps are engaging and the choices you make keep everything going. This is longer than other entries, but it needs the length to tell the full story. Length will also slightly vary on the player’s choices. The intrigue is constant because of all the plot threads. Du’met is a great villain, though his motivation could have been explained just a bit more.
Gameplay: New & Old Mechanics
The gameplay is the same as always with some new twists introduced. It is still largely exploration of linear areas, finding items, hidden lore, collectibles, and making choices. There are some new mechanics present, being each character’s special abilities and the new puzzle solving elements. The puzzle solving was a welcome addition, some really make you think, but some became repetitive. Overall, the puzzles were a nice change of pace and served the story as well as fit in with the never ending maze of the hotel.
This time around, the film crew is a very well rounded group of characters with compelling interpersonal relationships. We follow Kate, Charlie, Erin, Mark, and Jamie. They all have defining personality traits that affect all of their gameplay respectively. The voice acting was strong and it was refreshing to see how each of their roles in the crew were reflected in their dialogue, choices, and gameplay.
The Devil in Me’s take and commentary on art, how art is consumed, the lengths people will go to in order to get their art seen, true crime media consumption, surveillance, and the lengths people will go to when facing your interpersonal demons work well within the circumstances of the game and characters’ motivations.
The game does not shy away from the fact that art is important and is something ever present in our world. People really will go to intense lengths to make, share, and consume it. The true crime trend is something that has gained more popularity in the past few years and The Devil in Me has a specific and smart take on it.
We are in a world full of more surveillance than we know. The Devil in Me shows this in a very literal sense and leans into the control angle. The cast of characters all face or talk about their own demons at some point and it is presented all very relatable, making the cast feel more real.
Bugs & Negatives
Unfortunately, I encountered the most bugs I have ever seen throughout this entire franchise. Nothing was game breaking, and they were mainly annoying audio and visual bugs.
At points, the game feels too “gamey” – like a level out of Uncharted, which does have platforming mechanics because it was programmed to in order to serve the story. With its amazing vast story and grand setting, there is a trade off with some of the exploration. This game could have easily cut half of the exploration and platforming to help the pacing not dip as much. As important as the collectibles, locations, and lore are, at times the overall narrative and storytelling can be a bit confusing. The pacing was a bit hit and miss due to seemingly random plot points and choices. It starts off taking its time introducing characters, new mechanics, and the grand locations. However, it drags a bit into the middle and final act.
The Devil in Me is a great bookend to a great set of games. The story is well done, the voice acting and cast are strong, the game is very replayable, and engaging. It takes a well known story and puts a new fictional twist on it. Fans and gamers will appreciate the direction they went in and will be excited to see where the next season goes. The Devil in Me is available on PlayStation and Xbox.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me (2022) Official PlayStation Trailer
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