DEVIL in Me is the finale of the first season of the Dark Pictures Anthology and the fourth game in the series.
The other three games were generally received lukewarmly, with fans wanting more from Supermassive Games’ hit title Until Dawn.
The devil in me was hoping to break this pattern by offering something different. Based on the infamous Murder Castle of real-life serial killer HH Holmes, something much darker and bigger was promised.
Exploration has been massively expanded and the new third-person view gives players better control over what happens to them.
The series started as a homage to old survival horror games, tank controls, fixed cameras and so on.
If you play the games back to back you will see how far this gaming genre has really come.
However, the characters can feel clumsy at times, which doesn’t quite meld with The Last of Us-style puzzle-solving that the team was aiming for.
There is still a lot of emphasis on Quick Time Events, but they are now part of a package and not the main event.
Luckily, these don’t seem to be the deciding factor in whether a character lives or dies, which is a welcome change.
However, when you lose a character, it becomes more difficult to know which part to redo in order to save them.
Sometimes it feels like a choice between two where saving them all seems impossible. A flowchart would have helped tremendously in this case, and hopefully we’ll see one in season 2.
The bigger annoyance is that cutscenes can’t be skipped even if you’ve already seen them. It feels like a game that the creators only want you to play once.
The checkpoint system also feels like it was designed to artificially lengthen the game, another relic of a bygone era.
Each character has a unique ability available to them, but is limited in how and when they can use it.
However, it seems like these mechanics are being kept in the linear order in which they’re introduced and won’t let you explore new areas, making losing another one disadvantageous.
As a result of adapting to the choices you make, the dialogue becomes stilted. Some characters will ask you a question that you have already answered in an earlier scene.
We mentioned in our preview that the facial expressions are awkward and it remains so throughout.
The roughness around the edges is saved by the storyline and overarching villain, as it explores the mind of a serial killer in an interesting way.
Despite being set in a hotel, the scenery is inspired and full of classic callbacks to popular horror films.
It’s a game made to be played socially, and as such doesn’t stray too far from the spooky ending. Anyone expecting Silent Hill will be disappointed.
The new mechanics need tweaking, but The Dark Pictures Anthology could bring that to the next season.
The series needs to expand on its key selling points, branching storylines, and meaningful choices to make it truly successful.
It’s a step in the right direction, and if you can see past the bells and whistles, it’s worth experiencing. But we’ll have to wait until next season to see if it ever reaches its full potential.
Written by Paolo Sirio and Georgina Young on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9748795/the-devil-in-me-review/ The Devil in Me Review: Gaming hits the cinemas