The Devil in Me is a terrific spooky chance to play a Saw-style game full of booby traps, devilish tests, split-second decisions, and more. Nobody is ever truly safe here unless you’re Kate, who can’t actually die until about halfway through the game. The narrative opts for the slow-burn approach, where murderous intents don’t get going until over a third into the game.
Some things after here work wonderfully, and others highlight areas that could be hugely improved for season two of The Dark Pictures. Nothing is ever perfect, and you can always find something worth improving; these just so happen to be features that could be stronger in The Devil in Me.
8/8 More Use Of The Inventory
The inventory is an entirely new feature to The Dark Pictures. Before, when picking up something like a weapon, the most you could do was either attack or do nothing during fights. And while here, the inventory doesn’t bring too much to the table, it does present opportunities to act in specific scenarios. Either Jamie or Kate can use the screwdriver at multiple points, like during the glass trap, where placing it up against the glass as it pushes forward will cause the glass to shatter.
Mark also has moments where he can save himself with inventory items, though aside from that and light sources, not much is explored. The items set a decent groundwork for how season two may improve the series’ gameplay, so we can hope more implementations happen then.
7/8 A Shorter Story
The story The Devil In Me is by far the longest game of the first season coming in at an average of seven hours long. Over two of these are dedicated to introducing the characters and the hotel, another three take place inside the hotel, and the remaining two are saved for the outskirts of the hotel. However, if both an hour at the beginning and an hour towards the end were shaved off, it would still essentially be the same experience.
Chapters where you play as Charlie are the most significant drawbacks since they’re just not as interesting as those with other characters. In particular, Kate’s and Mark’s sections always have an eerie feeling, whereas Charlie’s chapters are just walking from one area to the next.
6/8 More Chapters Like The Workshop
The Workshop chapter begins once Mark falls through a trap door while the crew is franticly running through the hotel halls. Through the trap door is a small room that looks like the hotel’s lower floors. There’s an acid bath, shelves with paint thinner, and a door to the next room. Once you’re in the next room, you’re told to hide, which, if you fail to do, you’ll be captured and locked out of the entire area.
If you hide correctly, there are still two more hiding sections to do throughout the workshop. There are a lot of creepy pieces to find here, like the room of mannequins, including the mannequin head with real human teeth attached. Exploring this area is the scariest part of the game, and it’s a real shame the story never reaches this level of fear again.
5/8 Less Backtracking For Achievements
Backtracking has always been a staple of getting the full house of achievements in The Dark Pictures games; however, a few specific achievements make it particularly frustrating this time. The first is Crime Scene Photographer, requiring you to get all of Mark’s photo opportunities. These are almost impossible to detect, not only since many of them are finicky to interact with but also because getting them yourself without a guide is no easy feat – and some are only available in the Curator’s Cut, so prepare for another playthrough.
The second is the Handy achievement, where you must collect every inventory item at least once, meaning you need to replay chapters multiple times to determine which ones you’re missing.
4/8 Additional Ways To Use Mark’s Camera
Mark’s camera is one of the more interesting new mechanics, as it’s something we’ve never seen in a Supermassive game before. Unfortunately, the most you can do with it is take photos for the Crime Scene Photographer and Say Cheese achievements or for zooming into areas to grasp a tactical advantage.
Nothing else is ever done with the camera or much of the crew’s technology, which is a huge missed opportunity since there are bundles of tech to mess around with as a documentary crew. This also happens with Erin’s sound equipment which sees no use outside of a couple of chapters, yet it still sits in her inventory to the very end.
3/8 More Hiding Opportunities
Manually hiding from Du’Met was an unexpected choice, given all other games in the anthology automatically hide you and then give a don’t breathe prompt. Giving the player a chance to screw up entire moments by not hiding in time is an entertaining concept, and failing these sneaky prompts in the Workshop chapter proves it works. So why is it that hiding like this is rarely a factor in other parts of the game, especially with how much running away you’ll be doing?
Including more moments where you choose between hiding or running gives you extra chances to mess up and potentially get a beloved character killed, which would’ve aided in keeping the game at the same level of horror and entertainment.
2/8 Greater Consequences If Erin Doesn’t Use Her Inhaler
The first time Erin’s inhaler is usable is when she drops her lip balm under the bed, struggling to breathe once reaching for it. Whether using it or not, Erin will catch her breath, and the story will continue. Throughout the game, you’re once again given the option of whether Erin uses her inhaler, but there are never any lasting consequences for not using it aside from momentary visual differences on-screen.
Using all the inhalers puts you in danger later in the game when Du’Met attacks the boat, but it’s the moments after deciding not to use Erin’s inhaler that need to be explored more. Maybe she struggles to run while chased by Du’Met, leaving her to fall behind the rest of the crew. Whatever it is, it’s certain the drawbacks of the inhaler were never utilized enough.
1/8 Consequences For Traps
Traps were the primary marketing strategy of The Devil in Me, letting those interested in the title know what kind of horror adventure to expect. What many might not have anticipated is how unlikely the characters are to die in these traps. Take the suffocation chamber, where you must save either Kate or Erin. If you save Erin, then poor Kate will die, except she won’t really because she’ll realize that air is leaking through her window, causing Mark to break it and save her life.
This same thing is true for all the traps, where everyone can be saved in some way; there are no real life-and-death choices. It would’ve been a strong message for only one character to be able to survive a trap, forcing you to sacrifice someone, no matter how this would affect the game later down the line.