The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me (DLC) Review

Kevin 'Berserker' Hall
In Short
The Devil in Me livens up its gameplay with new mechanics, but the game is overall not as solid as House of Ashes.
The Devil in Me

Player(s): 1 (single player), 2 (online co-op), 2–5 (local)
Extra Features: Download Content

The Devil in Me is the fourth game (and season finale of season 1) in the Dark Pictures Anthology. The game is an interactive cutscene-driven survival horror (much like Until Dawn, Man of Medan, etc.) developed by Supermassive Games. Just like the rest of the Dark Pictures games, if you enjoyed them, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in The Devil in Me. At this time, I’ve played Man of Medan, House of Ashes and have recently started on Little Hope and I find The Devil in Me to about the “middle of the road” game among them. Once again, we have some great characters and a pretty good overall story.

After a grim opening prologue that introduces us to the type of murderer that the game is based off of, we join up with a group of five documentary filmmakers that are invited to a replica of H. H. Holme’s “murder castle” by a strange benefactor named Granthem Du’Met. The filmmakers were already filming a documentary on H. H. Holmes, the notorious serial killer that claimed to have the devil inside of him. Once the filmmakers meet up with Du’Met, they are led into the castle and the crew starts to realize that they are being watched and manipulated behind the scenes as they start to encounter hidden dangers that may cost each of them their lives. The most intriguing part about The Devil in Me is the subject matter that the game has in it. This title is more of a thriller/horror rather than just a flat-out horror like Supermassive’s other games. Love them or hate them, the game is still loaded with random jump scares.

Just like all of the other Dark Pictures games, the Devil in Me features five protagonists that can live or die based on your decisions and other choices throughout the game. It has a sort of “butterfly effect” that all Supermassive games share. The game has some overall good characters in it. Each character is fleshed out rather well and I do care about most of them. I do feel that Mark is a bit too boring to really care much for, but I don’t absolutely hate him. The decisions in The Devil in Me are some of the hardest and stressful choices that I have seen in the Dark Pictures games yet. These choices make it seem like there is no good decision to make honestly.

While not engaged in cutscenes that have quick QTEs or choices, you’ll get to explore your environment. This time, while looking for items and other clues, the game isn’t all about walking and running around an area. The Devil in Me brings in a character inventory, tool-assisted gameplay and platforming. Each character has their own inventory where they can store collected items. When you grab a key, you’ll have to actually “use” the key on the door by pressing a certain button that corresponds to its quick selection icon. All characters gain some sort of tool that they can use to help get items as well. Mark carries a tripod that he can use in order to reach far away items and Jamie has a mechanism that helps her to solve electronic puzzles. All of these are some minor but very helpful additions to the gameplay segments.

The game also has platforming this time. Instead of switching to a cutscene when you go to lift-up onto a higher platform or shimmy across a ledge, you get to do it in real time now. The majority of the platforming is similar to something you’d find in Uncharted or Tomb Raider. The platforming does help-out the gameplay when done in small segments, but The Devil in Me abuses platforming in its outdoor sections. It’s very noticeable that the platforming is sometimes used to simply make the gameplay segments longer rather than offer up some unique gameplay. Just before you get to the hotel in the game, the characters decide to climb up a mountainside to get a good view of the harbor below, which is alright, but then you get to the island with the hotel in the next scene and guess what? Even more platforming up the ledges along the side of the hotel. This platforming is great when done in small segments around the middle and end of the game, but the developers really abuse it in some sections (outdoor areas).

I found a lot of framerate problems in all the other Dark Pictures games that I have played, but The Devil in Me seems to run quite smoothly. You can choose whether to place emphasis on more detailed graphics or the overall framerate in the settings menu. Unlike other games in the Dark Pictures Anthology, I did find a few bugs here and there. There was one time where my partner character got stuck in a T-pose while I looked around the area. I had to wait until a checkpoint for the bug to fix itself. I have seen other graphical glitches for this game while watching it online but this was the main problem that I had with it. From what I have seen, the game seems prone to a lot of randomness.

The overall look of the game is a bit more detailed than previous installments but hasn’t changed all that much. I’m really glad that Supermassive decided to not make the graphics way better though. Since this game is still a part of season 1 of Dark Pictures, it would have looked odd for the final game in the season to look drastically better. I have a feeling that the next season will offer many graphical improvements. The voice acting to the game is fantastic as usual. Each actor plays and motion captures their parts rather well. One thing I really do like about the cast is that no character really stands out as being more interesting than the others. They are all just as good. Like I said earlier, Mark seems like the weakest link, but I really can’t pick out much of a favorite.

The overall story is really good from the beginning. It has some incredibly stressful situations that the characters are put into and your choices can really matter in most scenarios. It seems like the game overstays its welcome however. The game is only about 6-8 hours like the rest of the series, but this one noticeably loses it thunder toward the end. It never does get boring, but it was easy to notice that it’s just not as exciting the further I got. I would have liked to have seen more traps in the game. It only really has a few before it gets into the usual running and hiding that we know from all the other games.

And just like clockwork, once again, the Curator’s Cut (full game from another viewpoint) is tied to the game as a preorder bonus and will be released for free in about another three months to those that didn’t preorder. This marketing of the DLC is highly annoying, but at least everyone gets it eventually, I suppose... right? I will argue about this annoying preorder bonus manipulation on the review for every installment in Dark Pictures until they change it!

If you’ve played a Dark Picture Anthology game, you know what to expect with The Devil in Me. This one ups the ante when it comes to gameplay, but as I’ve pointed out, the new gameplay mechanics aren’t always welcoming, but for the most part, they are an improvement. Other than the change in gameplay, the game plays very similar to the other Dark Pictures games. Whether the story is good or not, or characters are interesting or boring is all left up to opinion for the most part. I’d say that The Devil in Me is about mid-range when compared to the rest of the series. Honestly, from the beginning it seems like the best one, but then the story starts to drag toward the end and it suddenly doesn’t seem as good anymore. I do feel it’s better than Man of Medan, but the other problems bring it down to Man of Medan’s level.

The Good:
+ Very suspenseful and engaging horror game with mainly good characters
+ The game has new platforming mechanics that liven up the gameplay
+ Local and online co-op play
+ The game has a good bit of replay value

The Bad:
- The game spams its new platforming mechanics during outdoor sections
- Odd bugs at times
- The story loses its appeal toward the end.
- Online co-op does not allow players to play with random players – it only allows you to play with friends

Final Rating: 75%

Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher. This game was reviewed on PlayStation 5.

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Transmitted: 6/17/2024 1:08:39 PM