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The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me Review – Holmes Sweet Holmes

That promise was immediately apparent when The Dark Pictures Anthology was announced. Take the team that delivered the excellent ‘Until Dawn’ and have him tackle the new horror subgenre with a clip or so a year. The four games released have had mixed results, but the latest efforts are on a steady, unabated trajectory. the devil inside me Supermassive’s latest slasher, surpassing its predecessor with a more cohesive plot, best-in-series characters, and clever gamification infused into the cinematic experience.

“Devil in Me” takes us to Chicago. At first he introduces H.H. Holmes, who is sometimes referred to as “America’s first serial killer,” at the turn of the 1900s. Holmes’ “murder castle” was actually a hotel he outfitted to operate as a maze of horrific contraptions that could make Jigsaw’s creations look like mousetraps. Jump into the present and follow an indie film crew making a documentary about Holmes.

To their excitement, they were invited to a scale replica of the killer’s terrifying hotel. Approximately 5 hours of high-quality slasher material will be deployed.

Who will survive and what will remain?

Each game in the series puts a familiar face into its small cast, and in the case of The Devil in Me, it’s Jesse Buckley, fresh from Alex Garland’s body-horror film Men. You could call it “advanced horror,” but The Devil in Me, like all The Dark Pictures, is a more traditional blood harvest, and it works because Supermassive understands that. To do.

Devil in Me solves many problems that its predecessor struggled with to varying degrees. The characters are likable, but this is not always the case. More importantly, it gives them time to breathe early in the story. I found myself taking care of them. As a result, the game’s tough decision points become more important. Unlocking trophies for everyone to survive is one thing. Persevering is more fun and rewarding because you really want them to do well.

The Devil in Me also hopes to bring you closer to the characters by remembering what you’ve learned about each character. A character’s asthma has been used many times to great effect in many different ways, requiring constant reminders of her illness and understanding of how it changes her life-or-death situation. The game does have some very clever kill scenes, but Supermassive continues to make them feel fair. In a good horror story, probably not everyone survives, so when I lost characters, I was happy to feel as if they were my fault, rather than the result of a bleak winning scenario.

Another improvement is that The Devil in Me is an unexpected step back from the series’ usually grim cinematic quality. A large part of the gameplay is a very cinematic game where you make choices with little time to think things over and succeed in QTEs where failure often means death.

However, this has some puzzles mixed in, allowing for more traditional gameplay and solving problems, such as scavenging items that could save lives at some point in the unknown future. Each character has one or more unique features, such as an audio technician who can use a portable boom mic and headphones to hear things better, or a cameraman who can film a crime scene. There are even items. survive.

The scene using Erin's unique boom mic function is especially exciting.
The scene using Erin’s unique boom mic function is especially exciting.

The series took a half step away from its cinematic origins with last year’s House of Ashes when it transitioned to the typical over-the-shoulder camera, so this year’s installment of the spooky series seems to be the other half of that step. It feels like… it incorporates a more videogame-like quality without losing its cinematic intent. But it’s starting to show its age. Given the visual feats of The Quarry, a horror game released in Supermassive’s 2K since earlier this year, The Devil in Me certainly isn’t as appealing to look at, so we’re going back to the less detailed world of The Dark Pictures. I’m not saying it looks bad, but playing on the PS5, the higher framerate options alone gave me the impression that the game is current generation. Pictures will benefit from technical upgrades.

This applies not just to how it looks, but how it plays. Simple actions, such as opening a drawer using the picking mini-game, newly found in this latest sequel, are almost comically slow in the way they divide the action into a series of small movements. For example, to open a drawer, grab the handle of the drawer, pull it to make sure it is locked, wield and use the unlocking device slowly, put it back in your free hand, then pull it out again. pull the It feels like a laundry-folding robot performing overtly segmented instructions.

Sometimes hesitation is necessary, such as when the best way to survive actually requires doing nothing, but it is common for these reactions to be blunted. Supermassive wants their characters to feel heavy, and with that comes vulnerability, so I think it’s the right move, but there’s a middle ground that makes the game more controllable while salvaging the vulnerabilities it needs. .

This sequel doesn’t solve these long-standing problems, but it does tell an overall better story than its predecessor. Devil in Me certainly has the best lore in the series. As usual, you might miss a lot of it if you don’t take the peripheral route before mainlining for the next murder stage, but every frantic note, police report, or cryptic recorder you find Players who find themselves picking up add an extra layer to the story that elevates it beyond simple slashers. As a big horror fan, I love it.

All characters can die in a very unfortunate playthrough.
All characters can die in a very unfortunate playthrough.

With so many branching paths, even within this series, the modular parts of the game aren’t always versatile enough, and the ending is nowhere to be found as a result. I haven’t gone all the way down, but I was happy to find that it wasn’t at all when I was playing the game. But in past games, it was often the character’s entire arc or motivation that bothered me.

The Devil in Me is the best game in the series. Supermassive provided a nice script this time around. Easier than some other scripts that tend to rely on in-game twists, but not without surprises.The second season of The Dark Pictures needs and deserves a technical overhaul. I strongly feel that. If that can be matched with another story that’s as fun as this one, I think The Dark Pictures will finally live up to its full potential. For now it’s still climbing towards that peak, but it’s going in the right direction. The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me Review – Holmes Sweet Holmes

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