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The Devil in Me review - a bit rough, but that’s what The Dark Pictures Season 2 should look like

The Devil In Me feels a bit unrefined, but it’s an evolutionary and captivating adventure
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The Guillermo del Toro-esque Dark Pictures Anthology is finally reaching the Season 1 finale with The Devil in Me, an episode inspired by the infamous story of serial killer H. H. Holmes. As the fourth chapter in the anthology – following Man of Medan, Little Hope, and House of Ashes – The Devil in Me is definitely trying something new, with mixed results, but is still tangled up in the old flaws we’d like to see fixed in Season 2.

The biggest news here is exploration has now been massively expanded, with a behind-the-shoulder, third-person view that really puts players in control of what happens in front of them. Considering the franchise started as some sort of tribute to old survival horror gems, including tank controls and fixed cameras, playing the entire anthology now truly feels like embarking on a journey across this genre’s history.


This evolution is crystal clear, and there’s even some environmental puzzles in the vein of the original The Last of Us to confirm just that. It’s rudimentary, and a bit of a remix of things we’ve already seen and played before but with a bunch of new visuals, which isn’t helped by characters that can feel clunky and clumsy from time to time. But still, the first half of the game feels pleasant and refreshing compared to the previous episodes.

The Devil In Me is still all-in on quick-time events, but the good news is that QTEs have become just another part of the overall package, and not the main event. This is especially good as many of these don’t feel like they have a real impact on the outcome of a scene.

It’s also hard to understand which sequence you should replay to change the fate of your characters, as it often comes down to a binary choice between two of them, and you don’t feel like you have a means to save both. This is where a Detroit: Become Human-like flowchart would prove tremendously useful, and why we hope to see something like this in Season 2.

On top of that, you can’t skip cutscenes you’ve already been through replaying those sequences, and this – together with a checkpoint system that feels entirely designed to artificially increase the number of hours you spend in the game – makes it quite tiring to try and keep all of your party members alive.


This time your characters have unique items at their disposal, but those are limited in how and when you can use them. You can turn on a flashlight anytime you want, and you’ll want it as the game is pretty dark, while another character can use business cards to unlock cash registers – however, these mechanics stay confined to the linear sequences they get introduced in, and don’t allow you to explore new areas or find something special after the abilities are unlocked.

The dialogue can feel rough too, and you can see scenes being stitched together as a result of your choices. Sometimes characters will even inquire about the whereabouts of other members of the party, despite being informed in a previous scene. It can be messy, and ruins the immersion.

As noted in our The Devil In Me preview, facial expressions are still awkward, as these characters’ expressions look like they come from an entirely different generation when compared to their models. Again, this breaks your immersion, and compounds the fact that no one in the party is especially memorable, perhaps with the sole exception of Charlie.

Story-wise, the game features an interesting plot and overarching villain, taking its time to look at the mind of the serial killer and explore it from the very beginning through a few illustrated cutscenes. Despite being fairly small, the setting and environments are inspired, and players will probably enjoy references to The Shining. There’s a bit of Saw every now and then, but not as much as we’ve been led to believe.


Seeing how this franchise is made for groups of players at parties and gatherings, it’s easy to see why Supermassive Games didn’t want it to be too scary – don’t expect a Silent Hill-like experience, at all. Most of the time, you’ll be going through often predictable jump scares, and that’s it. From that perspective, the plot is might be too convoluted, and in a group scenario, you just might miss some of those subtle revelations.

The Devil In Me feels a bit rough, unpolished, and unrefined when it comes to new mechanics, but despite that, these are things The Dark Pictures should keep and iterate on in future titles. The game still shows that the franchise needs to expand and refine its selling points, including branching stories and meaningful choices.

While the Until Dawn developer still has space to improve moving into Season 2, The Devil In Me feels like an evolution of the original formula, and can still manage to be a – quite literally – captivating adventure.