The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me review (PS5)

Supermassive’s latest entry in the Dark Pictures Anthology surprisingly came out just after Halloween, and The Devil In Me wraps up the first season (!) of games in the series. We checked out the PlayStation 5 version of the game, which is also available on last-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles and PCs.

As with other games in the series, The Devil In Me features a new cast, premise and location – which in itself made us curious about Supermassive’s plans after this one. If this wraps up the “season” and these cast and premise aren’t constant factors, will their next game feature a wholly original gameplay take, different from the cinematic horror tales they’ve been giving us in the past few years? Time will tell, but if you enjoyed the existing formula then you’ll be pleased to know this one doesn’t stray too far from it.

The Devil In Me introduces us to Jamie, Mark, Charlie, Kate, and Erin, who work for the struggling business Lonnit Entertainment and are setting out to film a documentary about a murder hotel that was modeled after the crimes of H.H. Holmes, dubbed America’s first serial killer. They’re chasing a paycheck after a somewhat ominous invitation, and even though it doesn’t sound like the best of ideas it makes for an intriguing horror concept.

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As with other games in the series, the narrative regularly jumps from character to character to show you their perspective on the unfolding story, although their interpersonal relationships are mostly left unexplored – which is a wasted opportunity as the game can almost feel like five individual stories because of it, even when two or more characters share a scene.

The cast is an interesting one though, and individual personalities are distinct and well explored – and as before you can steer their direction through the story with impactful choices. This once again adds replay value as well, but for us this mostly came from selecting the least intuitive choices on our second go-around to see how different things would turn out – and how unlikeable some of the characters became because of that. At least it makes it easier when they bite the dust.

But while the overall formula is very familiar, The Devil In Me adds slight tweaks to the gameplay with character-specific tools that give each cast member unique skills and thus mix up the gameplay somewhat as well. They’re not major game-changers, but where one character will have a flashlight, another acts as an audio tech and can pick up auditory cues. All of these feel organic and never forced, so they’re nice additions to the formula.

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Another small change is that The Devil In Me is slightly less linear than previous games were, and it offers more freedom of movement as well. Where earlier games could feel like “walking around a horror story”, this time you’ll be climbing and jumping around the place at times. The puzzles still feel like they’re mainly designed to make sure you’re not stumped for long and keep going, but we liked having less of an “on rails” sensation this time around.

Cinematic flair is something that the games in the Dark Pictures Anthology are known for, and The Devil In Me is no exception. From lifelike character models and jump scares to impressive details and lighting effects, this is one of the best looking horror titles you can find. At the same time, the visuals don’t wow as much as they did when Supermassive first launched their brand of horror titles, and facial animations don’t stand up to the likes of The Last of Us Part 1. Still, that shouldn’t stop fans of this franchise from diving in again – it’s a fitting finale to the first season that makes us curious about what’s next.

Score: 7.5/10

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