The Dark Pictures Anthology

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Supermassive Games
Release Date: Oct. 22, 2021


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PS5/PS4/XSX/XOne/PC Preview - 'The Dark Pictures Anthology: Episode 4 - The Devil in Me'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Oct. 24, 2022 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

The Dark Pictures Anthology is a series of stand-alone, cinematic horror games, designed to present a new terrifying experience on a regular basis.

Previous games in the Dark Anthology series have largely focused on supernatural horrors, ghosts and monsters. The latest game deviates from that to focus on a more human kind of horror: serial killers. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Episode 4 - The Devil in Me is set in a "murder castle," which is said to be a replica of the infamous H.H. Holmes' infamous murder house. The plot follows a group of television personalities who are desperate to get a hit before their show gets canceled. Of course, it turns out that going into the spooky Murder Castle all by yourself is not a great idea, as the unlucky group members are stalked by a mysterious killer. That's when the "fun" attraction turns deadly serious.

Like the prior games in the series, The Devil in Me is set up as what amounts to an interactive horror movie. Players can play either by themselves or with friends and go through the events of the story. Depending on their choices, certain characters may survive or suffer a terrible death. The basic gameplay hasn't changed too much from the previous titles, and if you've played any of them, you'll have a pretty good idea of what awaits.

Probably the biggest change to the overall gameplay loop of the Dark Pictures games is that your characters are significantly more mobile and complex than they were in any previous title. While the previous games could be summed up as interactive movies, The Devil in Me seems to go a bit harder on puzzles. There are actual puzzles to solve now, which plays into the Murder House concept quite nicely. It doesn't appear to go full bore as a full adventure game, but you'll need to put thought into progressing, rather than most of your efforts being spent on QTEs or dialogue choices.

To go hand in hand with this, you also have a more detailed inventory. Your characters can hold multiple items and even trade items amongst each other, something that is certain to contribute to who survives and who dies later in the game. Each character also has a unique tool that is exclusive to them. For example, Charlie has … a business card. It might not sound like much, but within the context of the game, the business card functions like a lockpick. You can carefully slide it into certain areas to unlock a drawer to find necessary items or collectibles.

In addition, the characters are more mobile than they were in previous games. Again, this isn't something that drastically changes the game, but it changes how you look at things. You're able to climb, jump, and even hide from danger, which means paying closer attention to your surroundings is an absolute must. After all, knowing how to escape might be the only thing stopping you from becoming the latest victim of the "good doctor."

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Episode 4 - The Devil in Me is interesting not just for its spooky concept but because it shows the franchise is slowly advancing, with new ideas and new concepts to keep the core idea fresh. I'm genuinely curious to see how the puzzles and greater interactivity play alongside the "watch a movie with a friend" concept, especially since I'm sure that successfully solving puzzles will be a must if you don't want your entire cast to die horribly. I look forward to seeing how this latest entry pans out when it hits Nov. 18, 2022, for the PC and all PlayStation and Xbox consoles.

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