With The Dark Pictures games so far it has seemed like Supermassive has got more daring as each one has come and gone. From adding a third-person camera you could control, to expanding combat options. But, The Devil In Me, is the conclusion to the first season of the anthology series and it is fully embracing the fact it is a game more than ever before.
Quicktime events have been the backbone of Supermassive’s games since Until Dawn, but now they are less prevalent than ever before as the studio seeks to push away from the familiar gameplay of their brand of horror. This is being done in The Devil In Me in the form of more advanced stealth sections, where you have to crouch, hide, and crawl to safety, puzzles to solve, and even character classes for each of the playable characters.
Set on a modern recreation of the H.H. Holmes ‘Murder Castle’ you play various members of a film crew who are trying to save their struggling TV Show by producing frights and scares that people will watch. But, after they discover they are being hunted by a serial killer the crew has to try and escape the maze of corridors and hotel rooms surrounding them.
Being hunted by a serial killer is what gives way to a lot of those new mechanics for the franchise. Having to hide from a threat is more engaging in The Devil In Me as you choose where to hide and how long you want to hide, rather than just pressing a sequence of buttons.
Similarly, as you are trapped in a murder house, the serial killer has set up all kinds of puzzles for you to solve so you won’t just be running away or trying to survive. This makes the latest in the iteration feel far more evolutionary than Man of Medan, Little Hope, and House of Ashes. It adds another dynamic to the gameplay and after seeing some of them it shows that Supermassive are keen to expand what they do with its specific brand of horror games and it sees The Dark Pictures as the vehicle to do that.
Finally, the most interesting and potentially the most impactful update to the formula are the character classes and items all of the members of the TV crew have.
Equipped with gear when they came to film inside the replica murder house, each one has a tool they can use to help them out. For example, the sound engineer has a microphone that can hear through walls, which completely shifts the limits of what is possible in the series.
You are no longer just thinking about what is on screen but also how you can make use of those tools to get the leg-up on any threats, traps, or dangers lurking behind walls or around corners. It really left me impressed at just how complex this cinematic brand of horror has become with Supermassive’s constant iteration and evolution from Until Dawn to Man or Medan, to this year’s The Quarry and now The Devil In Me.
And the possibilities gameplay-wise for the other characters have me intrigued as to just how complex and meaningful the choices here could be. As if one character dies early on, you can no longer use their tools and items which could potentially prevent you from going down many different routes if implemented well.
After the success of Until Dawn, it felt like Supermassive were heading down a path of churning out horror games one by one, all virtually the same gameplay-wise.
But, as The Dark Pictures has pushed on from game to game, Supermassive has cleverly realised that they need to build upon each game and add new ideas that help shake up the formula. And, after getting a look at The Devil In Me at Gamescom 2022 it seems like this is their most interesting game yet.
They have a perfect setting that rewards the expanded gameplay like stealth, hiding, and puzzles, and a classic terrifying real-world story to put their own twist on. The pieces are all here to make The Devil In Me the studio’s second great horror experience of the year, and possibly their most innovative as well.
The Devil In Me is set to release on November 18, 2022, on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.