The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me
A group of documentary film makers receive a mysterious call inviting them to a modern-day replica of serial killer H. H. Holmes' "Murder Castle". As they film their latest episode, they slowly begin to realize things are not quite as they seem and that they are being watched and manipulated.
Jessie Buckley, Paul Kaye, Fehinti Balogun, Gloria Obianyo, and Nikki Patel.
Being the season finale game of Supermassive Games’ “Dark Pictures Anthology”, expectations were naturally set rather high for “The Devil in Me”—even if they were damped a little by the lukewarm, mixed reception of the other games in the series. While I was majorly disappointed with the first two games in the series—“Man of Medan” and “Little Hope”—the scares and twists in the flawed yet fun “House of Ashes” and non-series horror homage game “The Quarry” from the same developers had my hopes high for what seemed to be a “Saw”-type of game. Was it that? Not really, but that didn’t necessarily disappoint me.
The disappointment came more so from the game’s many bugs and weak script. While with Supermassive Games’ works you can suspend a little disbelief with a lot things, like the seemingly intentional cheesy dialogue and the way the character models have their trademark gaze in to the abyss, but here there’s simply so much wrong on a technical level.
With objects glitching in and out of existence constantly, quick time events lagging for no reason, characters clipping in to the environments and each other, and the game simply not reacting to certain choices made in tense sequences, “The Devil in Me” is dangerously close to being ruined by its horrific current build.
And yet, with all that said, I think this is easily my favourite game from “The Dark Pictures Anthology” so far. Where the game fumbles with a lack of character depth and those aforementioned abysmal mechanics, it’s thrives on being the junk food of media entertainment—it’s chock full of silly scares, an eerie setting, an invincible villain, and disposable yet likeable characters to play as. As per usual with Supermassive’s multiple choice games, you decide who lives and dies through your gameplay, and here that’s once again a lot of fun to experience.
There aren’t really any characters to get attached to, outside of the terrifying cold open detailing what I can only assume was a real murder due to the inclusion of real-life serial killer H. H. Holmes (whom our antagonist is a—ridiculously—seemingly immortal copycat of), but that weirdly helps make the occasionally cheap yet effective scares and stakes all the more fun. Because of how the game plays, that lack of connection to a lot of the characters means you’re just letting yourself laugh at the screen and have a good time like you’re watching a dumb B-grade horror movie from the 90s, and it makes for some solid entertainment.
It’s a great time that I respect largely on a subjective, entertainment level, but struggle to credit as a genuinely good game from a technical standpoint. When the quick-time events and chase sequences do work, they’re intense, terrifying, and sometimes gory, which makes for some exciting gameplay—and even when the game slows down in some segments, the lore and exploration of this investing and spooky setting allow for you to still be interested in what’s happening. I wish the killer was more than just somebody referenced a few times in that mentioned lore, but the game never really builds to him being more than that so it isn’t really a surprise or spoiler that that’s the case by the time the game reaches what is more or less a third act.
Overall, while “The Devil in Me” disappoints with its technical aspects and characters (much like other games in the series, like the boring characters in “House of Ashes” or weak, sluggish gameplay of the first two games in the anthology), it’s far and wide the most fun to be had with Season 1 of these games. It’s a silly bug ridden mess that somehow still allows you to be thoroughly spooked and entertained at the exact same time with a dumb popcorn flick of a video game that flies by.