Supermassive Games’ horror experiences are one of a kind, and The Dark Pictures Anthology has taken us from ghost ships and Salem witch trials to the Iraq War to fend off terrifying beasties. Now, instead of ghouls, monsters, and trickery of the mind, The Devil In Me weaves a thrilling and compelling tale that involves a hellish hotel and a relentless serial killer who is obsessed with the real-life history of the notorious H.H. Holmes.

The Devil In Me is the finale to The Dark Pictures Anthology season 1. Although Man of Medan was an okay scary bedtime story let down by an underwhelming twist, Little Hope was an incredibly boring cure for Insomnia. House of Ashes was much better than both thanks to an exciting mixture of horror and action similar to The Descent, and fans will be pleased to hear that The Devil In Me is the best of them all.

There’s no doubt Until Dawn still remains Supermassive Games’ crowning achievement, but The Devil In Me is an attractive runner-up that horror fans will really enjoy.

The Dark Pictures Anthology | The Devil in Me Story Trailer

The Dark Pictures Anthology | The Devil in Me Story Trailer

America’s First Serial Killer

One of the evilest and most infamous serial killers in history is the ‘devil in the white city,’ H.H. Holmes. Widely known as America’s first serial killer, he was a sadistic fella who trapped and murdered unsuspecting guests in his house of horrors hotel. This is the inspiration and crux behind The Devil In Me’s setting, and this historical background keeps everything grounded and chilling.

Like all other Supermassive Games experiences, you play as different characters as part of one ensemble. The merry men this time are all part of a crew that film and produce cheap true crime dramas. There’s Charlie the director, Kate the leading lady, Mark the cameraman, Jamie the technician, and Erin the slave to Charlie’s whims. All of them are likable and none are thankfully annoying, but it’s Charlie who steals the show as a stereotypically temperamental British bloke with an addiction to smoking.

Instead of ghouls, monsters, and trickery of the mind, The Devil In Me weaves a thrilling and compelling tale that involves a hellish hotel and a relentless serial killer

Through convoluted means in pursuit of glory, fame, and creating the best H.H. Holmes television special ever, the crew ends up on a stranded island home to a replica of the Murder Castle. After a couple of hours establishing the characters and story, the goal quickly becomes surviving and escaping the world’s biggest escape room while uncovering the mystery behind the hotel and a Mr. Du’Met.

Inspired by true events as well as obvious horror phenoms like SAW, The Devil In Me manages to be captivating from beginning to end thanks to its likable cast, the unforgettable domain of doom, and a sadistic baddie. After the vomit-inducing cringe and awkward spiel of lovey-dovey speak in the prologue, the dialogue throughout is very strong, and over-the-top personalities such as Charlie work flawlessly because of the immaculate performances from the actors. Not wanting anyone to die keeps things intense, and the mystery of Mr. Du’Met is endlessly gripping thanks to wonderfully produced videos that accompany material such as tape recordings and newspapers.

The Dark Pictures Anthology The Devil In Me PS5 screenshot – Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe & Supermassive Games

The Murder Castle

The Devil In Me remains true to the gameplay formula of Until Dawn and other chapters in The Dark Pictures Anthology, but there is a tiny bit more than just quick-time events, dialogue choices, and walking down spooky corridors this time around. In what is oddly reminiscent of The Last of Us, there are numerous scenarios and environmental puzzles where you must push something heavy and climb it to continue trekking. Environments are also more open, and this makes it feel as though there are way more explorable avenues in pursuit of evidence and tomes of death.

A notable addition is an inventory for each character, but, unfortunately, this is simply superficial and pointless. It looks unique at first as each of the cast members start with a singular tool specific to them. Charlie has a card that opens locked drawers, Mark has a camera, and Erin has a device that brings to life disturbing noises from inside walls. However, in the end, the only tool ever used is one everyone has in their pocket: a source of light. This is a massively missed opportunity and it makes the system resemble a futile effort to make The Devil In Me look more like a game rather than actually play like one.  

Of course, aside from just walking down corridors and collecting evidence, the goal of every Supermassive Games’ spooky spectacle is keeping people alive. The Devil In Me has a few death rooms, but, considering the source material, there’s probably nowhere near enough. It’s also very easy to keep everyone alive on the first playthrough as the fatal choices are all straightforward, and mechanics like hiding and holding someone’s breath are a doddle. It’s definitely recommended to play on the highest difficulty setting if you want consequences and tension rather than a leisurely stroll.

The Devil In Me manages to be captivating from beginning to end thanks to its likeable cast, unforgettable domain of doom, and sadistic baddie

Similar to Until Dawn, other Dark Pictures Anthology games, and even The Quarry, everyone in The Devil In Me controls stiffly so it feels very cumbersome to move. The characters often feel as though they’re plodding along like a turtle with no knees, and they all take an age to climb anything. To make matters worse, accompanying companions occasionally get in the way and lack the function to move.

While previous flaws with the gameplay and movement remain, the level design is fantastic as there’s always a myriad of paths with lore to find. These pieces of lore come in the form of letters, pictures, tape recordings, and newspapers, some of which are accompanied by a stylish video that makes the words far more harrowing. Almost every piece of lore in the game is fascinating to read as it adds to the mystery of Mr. Du’Met while also unraveling how a hotel with the best of intentions came to replicate one that was home to the intentions of the devil. It’s possible to just run through the game with zero curiosity, but that would massively undermine the game’s narrative and result in a shallow experience.

This is the best-looking game yet from Supermassive. Warts, wrinkles, and unflattering grease are all visible to the naked eye, and the character’s hair looks immaculate with soft bounces and unkempt individual strands. But, most importantly, the inflections of emotions and the movement of lips and eyes are all-natural rather than off-putting like in The Quarry. This allows the performances of all the actors to shine, and everyone is fantastic from Jessica Buckley as the fiery Kate Wilder to scene-stealing Paul Kaye as the prissy director Charlie.

In addition to the amazing resemblance of the actors, the Murder Castle itself is daunting with its old-fashioned corridors and maze-like structure. It just happens to be populated with quite possibly the most grotesque mannequins and corpses in any horror game or movie.

The Dark Pictures Anthology The Devil In Me PS5 screenshot – Image credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe & Supermassive Games

I was born with the devil in me

The Devil In Me is a thrilling and gripping finale to The Dark Pictures Anthology season 1. It won’t woo detractors who felt Until Dawn was too much movie and not enough video game. Still, for fans of Supermassive, it is more of the same package only this time stuffed with an excellent story, enjoyable characters, and a serial killer way more unsettling than any supernatural creature of the night.

Alas, there are missed opportunities. The inventory system is a complete joke that offers nothing of value, there could have been more moments of dread and trepidation, and it’s way too easy to keep everyone alive on the first playthrough. With that said, returning to the Murder Castle to purposefully kill is delightful as some of the deaths are wickedly brutal.

It’s the best of The Dark Pictures Anthology, and it perfectly brings to an end what has been a middling first season. Man of Medan and Little Hope were underwhelming starts, but the triumphs of House of Ashes and now The Devil In Me should have fans excited for what’s to come next from Supermassive Games.

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