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The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me Preview

Since we were in the midst of spooky season, it made sense Super massive games and Bandai Namco will be giving people a hands-on experience of the upcoming The Dark Pictures: The Devil in Me. It made even more sense to me that I would want to learn this after playing all the previous TDP – and other Supermassive – titles (links to my previous reviews: Little Hope, House of Ashes, Career). So, after a little early time with the upcoming finale of the first season of The Dark Pictures, let’s take a look at the first impressions.

If you’re like me, you’ve played previous Supermassive Games releases and you’ll be very familiar with what to expect here. For those who don’t, these are story based games. They are almost similar to adventure games in structure and gameplay, but the choices and consequences tend to be much more ramified than other games usually allow. Such a choice will invariably lead to death; it’s just a case of how many deaths you cause.

Previous titles from Supermassive Games have navigated various parameters. However, apart from the two more famous titles (Until Dawn, The Career), I don’t believe any of the Anthology of dark paintings was as focused or had a setting or location that seems to be such a vital element of the game. The town of Little Hope was interesting enough, but I can’t say it felt like an integral part of the game. Ditto for the Medan Man’s ship. I loved the setting – or twist – of House of Ashes; it was probably the closest Supermassive ever got to making a scene feel like a key to horror.

Even though I only practiced an hour of The Devil Within, I feel like the environment is part of that horror. Inspired by the real world XX Holmes“The Castle of Assassins”, the Devil in Me Hotel has many secrets for you to uncover. You’ll even be able to use some of these secrets to your advantage, a notable extension of The Dark Pictures Anthology’s gameplay. Of course, some secrets will be used by whoever is killing the cast of characters – in this case, the film crew – to aid in that killing.

The time I spent with The Dark Pictures: The Devil in Me showed just enough of the tension – and other features – that Supermassive Games has always been good at building into a game. In the time I spent, Supermassive does a pretty good job of creating atmosphere. I can’t say I felt on edge, although the jump scare is effective enough – even if it’s a false exit. Spoiler, by the way.

I can’t say that not being in the mood is a negative. Supermassive builds horror pretty well, and it built it up here. I believe it will continue, but since I don’t have much to say about it, let’s talk about the gameplay. What is worth noting about The Devil in Me is the inclusion of new aspects such as simple puzzles, even if one of them is “move this bookcase so you can use it as a bridge”.

I’m not sure if this will expand into even more survival horror puzzles like Resident Evil or Alone in the Dark, but if done right, the settings definitely have the potential to be right up there with Spencer’s Mansion . You will need to find secrets that will help you survive. Secret passages and secret rooms, other hidden elements, are all for you to see in the touches of exploration added in this new entry of The Dark Pictures Anthology.

In addition to this new research element, there is also a small inventory system. I can’t say for sure how effective it will be yet. Each character has specific items and can be found around the hotel, but the ones I’ve had so far have been pretty specific and linear. For example, you have to find a key to enter a door. The game will force you to find this key. This is very important for progression. I hope some additional items will help you survive, but they are not fixed steps along the way, but ones that can be found as a reward for interesting exploration. Only time will tell.

Serving as the finale to the first season of The Dark Pictures Anthology, it’s hard not to see The Devil in Me as the culmination of what Supermassive Games has learned over the past four years. From what was undeniably slow and sluggish, you have some speed. The characters’ relationships and how their interactions change them are less obvious, making them feel more organic. Supermassive even introduced puzzle elements and an (albeit limited) inventory system here, giving The Devil Within Me (and by extension, The Dark Image Anthology) its first proper steps into traditional Survival Horror territory.

We’ll find out how good The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me is very soon when the game releases on November 18th. Only time will tell what happens after that and how long we’ll have to wait for season 2.

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