The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me (PlayStation 5) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 17.11.2022

Review for The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me on PlayStation 5

Supermassive Games has been riding the interactive horror train for a good few years now and their latest series, The Dark Pictures Anthology, published by Bandai Namco, gets its last entry The Devil in Me. This caps off the quadrilogy of games that started with Man of Medan. Each game has advanced the series in terms of tech and ambition and this new game is offering a more exploratory system and some physical puzzles. Without further ado it's time to enter the world of cinematic horror.

The Devil in Me is focused on serial killers. The story rotates around a group of show makers investigating H.H.Holmes, America's first serial killer. In this version of the story, he is suspected to have killed hundreds of people as opposed to his real sentenced 10-ish (which is still a lot!). The intro sets the scene with a historical moment where two newlyweds visit the Worlds Fair Hotel, aka the Murder Castle. Naturally, it ends as expected (with murder) and then the main cast gets introduced, now set in present day-ish. The main cast consists of a small film production team which is composed of the 5 eclectic playable characters. They are all well fleshed out and believable, important for making the player want to protect them. They are quite interesting and their relationships take some work to maintain as the game progresses. They get drawn into a harrowing world while making an amateur H.H.Holmes documentary, drawing the attention of a sinister Mr Du'Met who invites them to a replica of the Murder Castle itself. The focus on serial killers, real and fictional, is very unsettling and runs throughout the game. The story is slightly longer than previous anthology games and packed with choices, endings and oddities to discover.

Screenshot for The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me on PlayStation 5

The setting this time is Du'Met's hotel where not everything is as it seems in fact, it contains the partial recreation of the original Murder Castle but graciously expanded. Everything feels uncanny and uncomfortable, keeping players on edge. It's a fantastic setting for the theme of the game as it can be very liminal. It never feels quite safe. With the focus on traps and warping familiar locations, the hotel becomes an entity of its own. Visually, the heavy dark furniture, patterned walls and floors alongside the dim, old-fashioned lighting lend it a familiar but eerie feeling. The lighting in this entry is spectacular and with the new found freedoms it highlights the strengths of the visual advancement the development team have implemented.

Due to the increased interaction it's fair to describe the game as having levels. The design of these levels is far more complex than previous games in the anthology and requires players to complete actual problem-solving activities. Similar to old style adventure games, players can hunt for clues, collectables and notes that further their understanding of the plot. Some of these items hold clues for things like door codes, which means that players need a little more environmental awareness this time round. Levels also play with all sorts of new mechanics. This time it's possible to climb, use light sources and some characters have character skills, a bit like some sort of tabletop adventure. For example, Jamie, the lighting technician, can rewire electronics.

Screenshot for The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me on PlayStation 5

Gameplay itself heavily relies on the usual choice-based archetype the series is known for and this time the choices are intense. So many ways characters can be killed off; drowning, being cooked, getting stabbed etc… and the intensity never lets off once the game gets going. Exploring and interacting is simple but helps in expanding the sense of place; for example, players can sometimes drag climbable objects to open up paths which feels very adventure-y. The choice mechanics use the same template as the other games in the series and almost always result in frantic reactionary gameplay that has players second guessing their choices at every turn. Quick time events are also similar but depending on difficulty can be on incredibly short timers. Also new in this title are puzzles like rewiring fuse boxes and tracing sounds using a directional microphone. These new activities offer great variety, majorly expanding the appeal of the game while making sure players are engaged in the world.

For those who need it, there are plenty of accessibility options such as pausing timers or replacing multitap quick time events with holding a button. These options feel crucial for some people's enjoyment of the game and it's excellent that they're there. Additionally, as a new element there is now a currency to collect during gameplay that can be used in interactions with the series' Curator. He also tries to guide players who need hints and offers insight between chapters. It's a familiar pace for those who played the preceding games but it's oddly comforting despite how bizarre he is.

Screenshot for The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me on PlayStation 5

The atmosphere is thick with intrigue and heavy with dread. Visually, the game is designed to have odd shadows, moving in peripherals and all sorts of horror tropes that lend it an indescribably palpable feeling. These are achieved alongside new techniques like improved lighting, particle effects, and advanced facial animations among many new tweaks. It's the best the series has looked and feels more in line with Supermassive's higher budget experiences. This is intensified by the sound design which is dripping with eerie ambience and highlights excellent voice work. As with most of the games in the anthology, The Devil in Me shares some cast members and they absolutely kill it most of the time (pun intended). Returning once again is also the theme tune for the series, "Oh Death", which is as epic as ever an introduction.

There are a few slight hiccups with scenes loading in oddly or visually stuttering but swapping the game into its performance mode fixes a fair bit of this. It may be fixed soon but there was one instance of a subtitle staying on screen after the dialogue finished and then interrupting other dialogue scenes. Aside from this the game feels more solid than where the series started, highlighting Supermassive's mastery of the software.

Screenshot for The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

A great stride for interactivity, The Devil in Me propels many aspects of the Dark Pictures Anthology forward, while retaining the choice-based storytelling that made Supermassive Games so popular. The setting, visuals and atmosphere are thick with horror and the story is full of curiosity and terrible darkness. This reviewer was so tense during the game he had to take breaks every few chapters... It's a masterful way to end off this set of games and for fans of horror media, add this to your library!

Developer

SuperMassive Games

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Horror

Players

6

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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