Fans of cinematic horror games have surely heard of The Dark Pictures Anthology. With 3 games already under its belt – Man of Medan, Little Hope, and House of Ashes – the series is looking to cap off its first season with The Devil in Me.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is the latest entry in the anthology by Supermassive Games and will serve as the “season finale,” if you will. From what we’ve seen so far, it sounds and looks quite promising.
Ahead of its November 18 release later this year, Bandai Namco Entertainment has been so kind to invite us to a hands-off preview of the game, which showed off a good chunk of gameplay along with some insights into the game as narrated by Director Tom Heaton.
First off, the premise of the game is inspired by a real-world figure – Herman Mudgett aka H.H. Holmes was the creator of the World’s Fair Hotel in Chicago, which eventually became known as the Murder Castle. He set out to murder his guests through secret passages and hidden rooms in his grand structure and was later put on trial.
Holmes became the first American serial killer, and during his trial, he uttered the words “I was born with the devil in me, I could not help the fact that I was a murderer.”
The Devil in Me, then, tells the story of the Lonnit Entertainment TV Crew, comprised of Charlie Lonnit (Owner and Documentary Director), Kate Wilder (played by Academy Award nominee Jessie Buckley), Mark Nestor (Cameraman and Kate’s ex-boyfriend), Jamie Tiergan (Chief Grip), and Erin Keenan (Intern).
The crew is on the last episode of their documentary series, Architects of Murder, with the finale focusing on H.H. Holmes and his murder castle. They receive a mysterious phone call from one Granthem Du’Met, promising a tour of a faithful recreation of the infamous structure. After much thought, they agreed and set off on an excursion they won’t soon forget.
One thing that The Devil in Me nails right off the bat is creating an atmosphere of helplessness and dread. As the characters walk through the halls of the hotel, you’ll immediately notice faded walls and dilapidated decorations, which is a great recreation of the 1890s structure.
The feeling is further enhanced by camera angles that make it feel like the crew is constantly being watched, treating players to a deeper level of immersion and a constant sense of paranoia.
From what we’ve seen, there’s a good mix of places with varying levels of lighting, and they all reflect on the screen well. The setting is not limited to only wooden hallways and rooms, but players will also get to explore poolside areas, a basement, and the hidden corridors of the Murder castle where dangers abound.
Of course, depending on how you play the game, each of the characters can live or die. This mechanic carries on from the previous games, and The Devil in Me promises the most gruesome and extravagant deaths in the series.
The Devil in Me will introduce significant gameplay improvements such as climbing up or over places to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Exploration is bumped up a notch as characters in the game will also be able to shimmy across ledges, jump over gaps, and even manipulate certain objects like boxes to create new paths.
Players will also be able to pick up the pace as running is now allowed in the game, but if needed, they can also hide from looming threats.
The Devil in Me won’t reinvent the wheel but will aim to provide players with a familiar yet improved experience, all while giving them a new layer of freedom to create their own story.
Another improvement will be the addition of a simple inventory system that will hold tools that players can use to survive the Murder Castle. Because the characters have different occupations, they will also have tools that are unique to them – Charlie has a business card he can use to open drawers, while Jamie has a multimeter that lets her rewire circuits.
Taking it a step further, these tools can be broken, lost, or even given to other characters, which can directly impact how the story progresses in The Devil in Me.
All of these improvements add up to creating a setup that favors puzzles, which is a specialty of the Murder Castle. These gameplay additions in The Devil in Me were not added just because, but come as a result of thoughtful design that weaves itself well into the narrative.
Included in the preview was an extensive look at gameplay, showing off all of the said improvements. Based on what we saw, there was very little use of cheap jumpscares, something that was used very often in the previous games. Whether this turns out to be a good or bad thing, we’ll have to wait and see.
The Devil in Me will be the longest game in the series thus far, running at around 7+ hours, almost double that of Man of Medan and Little Hope. While longer doesn’t always mean better, the setting makes everything quite believable, and should hopefully translate to a scarier and more immersive playthrough that will make every hour of your stay at the Murder Castle worth it.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is scheduled to launch on November 18, 2022, for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.