The Devil In Me is the last instalment of The Dark Pictures Anthology season one, but the game’s uninteresting story and janky gameplay make it a slight disappointment.
Supermassive Games have created a solid reputation for themselves as the creators of choice-based games. Instead of boss fights, combat and looting, the gameplay is based around the player making choices.
These choices vary from minute to potentially fatal. Choose the wrong reaction – run left instead of right, choose to grab a gun instead of a piece of pipe – and you’re dead. Supermassive Games really perfected the formula with Until Dawn, an ode to 80s slashers and a thrilling way for gamers to immerse themselves into a horror narrative.
Their The Dark Pictures Anthology has been an equally interesting, if otherwise lesser exploration of the form and The Devil In Me, brings the first season of these games to a close.
The story follows a film crew who are working on a documentary on serial killer H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer. They’re invited to an island by a mysterious Granthem Du’Met who offers them access to his large collection of real artefacts relating to Holmes.
The film crew excitedly accepts, although tensions are already running high. Kate, the star of the show, is considered a massive diva by Jamie. Their director, Charlie, is an egotistical jackass while Mark and Erin mostly stick to themselves.
Naturally, the household’s numerous secrets and soon the crew’s lives are in danger. As it usually is with these games, you can potentially save all the characters or perhaps they all meet their gory ends. Most likely, at least on your first play-through, you’ll end up saving a few and killing a couple.
The most rewarding and frustrating part of The Devil In Me are the choices. There’s not quite enough connective tissue between them and their consequences to feel enough satisfaction. Some deaths seem almost inevitable; I still can’t quite figure out what I could have done differently to save one character and the game doesn’t offer any clues or a path to see what decisions specifically led to the death.
The Devil In Me is also wildly uneven with its animation. Jessie Buckley, playing the bitchy Kate, looks ghastly and provides some of the worst cases of video game dead eyes known to man. It’s particularly disappointing when we’ve had some incredible games this year such as Elden Ring, God of War: Ragnarok, The Last of Us Part I and even Supermassive Games’ own The Quarry which is also based on choice-based gameplay. Rather than find a way around it, The Devil In Me really lets the budget restrictions show.
Although The Devil In Me has a painfully slow start, things pick up after the first hour or two. The rest of the game is satisfyingly tense and appropriately gory. You actually have to put in a decent amount of work to keep characters alive. The Devil In Me is clearly inspired by the Saw franchise as well as The Shining and I also picked up on a House of Wax vibe with the many mannequins dotted around the giant house.
The Devil In Me is a slightly disappointing end to season one of The Dark Pictures Anthology. The disappointing dead-ends (why make an area available if there’s nothing there, no collectibles or clues to find?), the jarring camera that’s constantly pointing in the wrong direction and completely unlikable characters make this a lacking entry into the franchise. It’s saved by the gory kills and great atmosphere but we can only hope season two does better with its individual games.
The Devil In Me is available on all platforms now.