The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me (PS5) Game Review
A spectacularly excellent (but bumpy) final
The Dark Pictures Anthology has been an interesting ride through the years. Supermassive has been unable to maintain the lofty heights that were seen in Until Dawn, the previous games have been a mix of the best (Man of Medan) and the bad (Little Hope), and the unexpectedly amazing (House of Axes). This year, The Quarry came out with a promising plot and some excellent scares…but it was a disappointing character cast and a few technical glitches.
And as it comes to a close, as Dark Pictures Anthology draws its season 1 to a close is it ending on a high note? It depends… it could be, but not.
Positively, the game features a charming cast of characters with lots of depth and a rich history among the characters. The players that you control come with their own distinctive inventory items, and their tales can be incorporated into the overall story.
Our protagonists are the members of a documentary group of filmmakers who receive a strange message inviting them to the modern-day version of the serial killer H.H. Holmes ‘Murder Castle. A short introduction helps introduce the mass murderer, however, it quickly becomes clear that this replica is nothing more than a small museum exhibit.
When the filmmakers get settled in and begin to poke around the room, examining the many gadgets and scary animatronics, it could appear there’s some kind of copycat killer in the works and the filmmakers will soon be to be on the list.
The idea is intriguing and, after a slow-burn beginning, the story roars forward at a fairly good speed, particularly considering that the game’s an extended run-time of seven to eight hours. In that time, you’ll be confronted with many decisions that are either life or death which will either take your character into the crowds of death or propel them towards safety.
Similar to similar Dark Pictures games, the gameplay is essentially the same however there are a few changes, as described below. Long-cut scenes can be modified using a variety of dialogue options and can enhance or degrade your relationship with other characters. Additionally, you have your options for life or death that will freeze the scene completely and leave it to you to decide on the best path to take, however, it’s based on a timer, of course!
The game is fantastic in every way, but a few plot twists and issues are sure to leave you wondering. As an important disclaimer for this review, I played the entire game twice, with a variety of outcomes, before trying (and getting it right, hoorah!) to take down everyone with the choice of scene. Then it is possible to see some character development that feels like poor scripting.
It is revealed in the beginning that one of our characters Mark has a fear of heights. He is unable to walk across the bridge made of wood without assistance from the other crew members and it’s a momentous one for Mark… and afterward, it’s not discussed in the future. In reality, for all of the game, the player is cruising around high shelves and higher levels (that I’m not going to spoil here.)
There’s an additional Erin who has asthma. However, that mechanic was employed once in an anxiety state and then again a few scenes later…but it’s never mentioned once more. The mechanic is also not considered during an emergency situation in which it absolutely must be employed.
There are also some characters that do not have a lot of chemistry or interplay, particularly Mark or Erin. The storyline of her character is more direct to her sassy Jamie Tiernan, who comes to appear as an egotist early on, but she softens after you become accustomed to the persona she plays. The other two characters to be included in Kate Wilder and Charlie Lonnie.
The latter character is played by the charismatic Paul Kaye and he riffs brilliantly off the rest of the cast, particularly with Kate. Kate and Charlie are creatively divided over what direction to take for the business, and Kate is nearing the point of quitting this creates delicious tension-filled swells all throughout the initial moments of the game.
However, these points are hindered due to the technical aspect that is present in The Devil In Me. The game is plagued by glitches and bugs. At the beginning of the game, you have the option of opting for graphic quality or performance optimization. Even if you choose the latter, however, there are many problems.
Certain animations are completely missing and others are looped out of order and entire audio tracks are absent in certain scenes. In one scene within the area, I’ll refer to as “the hub, “the hub” There are approximately 2 minutes of silence between three characters that should have audio. Luckily, I had subtitles in place so that I could discern which characters they were speaking to!
I’ve also experienced, in an unintentionally hilarious glitch characters disappearing suddenly only to return by a character who was killed before in the game. I was convinced that it was a dream until the scene goes to the next chapter, and the character disappeared and is replaced by a living actor.
To be fair, the issue could be related in part to our review copies that we received prior to the launch without any Day 1 patch or anything however, if you do an online search, it appears that others have also been experiencing the same issues after the game’s launch.
It is my hope that The Devil In Me can put some patches in place quickly to fix the issues that are causing it, because the game’s foundation and the story is both very enjoyable, and I’d say that the narrative is among the top in the history of the series.
The Devil In Me should be an excellent entry into the Dark Pictures anthology, and it certainly has the narrative skills to be an excellent horror. However, the aforementioned glitches and bugs plague this book and prevent it from being behind from becoming a more enjoyable experience. If you can overcome these problems, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.
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