Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me Is A H-H-Holmesrun

The first game from Supermassive Games I had heard of was Until Dawn. From that point, I followed the game developer very closely. While cinematic games weren’t a new thing, Supermassive took the trend of games like Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls and made the idea of cinematic games feel fresh. After Until Dawn, Supermassive, for me, would really fall off the radar until one fateful day: The Dark Pictures Anthology. For some reason this idea was baffling to me, a developer committing to four games just like one of my all-time favorite games? Sign me up. Now we can go back and forth all day about whether or not all four entries were successful, but to an extent, I really enjoy Season 1 of this series.

All roads lead here, to the final entry in Season 1 of The Dark Pictures anthology. When I initially heard they were going to be taking this fourth game into true crime territory by covering H. H. Holmes I was nervous. See Man of Medan wasn’t scary, Little Hope wasn’t written well, and House of Ashes was, eh, fine. Even if I enjoyed these titles for what they were I was trepidatious at the undertaking of such a difficult topic. H. H. was one of America’s most prolific serial killers. While he may have only confessed to 27 murders, and only convicted of one, it is presumed that H. H. Holmes is believed to have murdered, at the very least, 200 people. Though his means were through an unusual method: a labyrinthian murder hotel.

H. H. Holmes welcomes his new guests with charm

Herman’s Hotel

The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me starts in 1893’s Chicago as a newlywed couple starts their honeymoon at the World’s Fair Hotel. Soon into their trip the loving couple becomes separated, trapped, and killed by the mysterious H. H. This leads us to the beginning of The Devil In Me. This opening is the only time we get gameplay for anything that isn’t present-day, which is the first thing I wanted to bring up.

I really enjoy the gameplay we get, I think it works really well for what it is. Now, I know writing/creating a game is a lot different than making a film or show. But I almost wish we got to play, or see, more flashbacks to the original hotel. This could have been through collectibles, or unmissable story beats. I would have liked to have been chased by H. H. in his hotel, which would later lead to mirrored moments in the present day. This has no effect on my overall enjoyment of the game, just something I wished we would have gotten.

The Whole Bloody Affair

In The Devil in Me, we follow the true crime documentary film group Lonnit Entertainment: Charlie Lonnit (Paul Kaye), Kate (Jessie Buckley), Mark (Fehinti Balogun), Jamie (Gloria Obianyo), and Erin (Nikki Patel). One fateful day Charlie gets a call from a mysterious man named “Granthem Du’Met” (Abdul Salis) in regards to his inch-by-inch exact replica of the Holmes murder house. Charlie decides the group will go, and thus kicks off the whole bloody affair.

The setup for this story is really solid and is a really good start to the whole web of mystery. One of my favorite things about Until Dawn/The Dark Pictures is how it’s not necessary to find every clue to understanding the base story. For those of us who aren’t great at finding every nook and cranny in a game that holds obscure clues, that’s definitely a plus. Now I was somehow lucky enough to find the specific clues to reveal who “Granthem Du’Met” is, but I think you would be able to piece together the puzzle of his character without finding every clue. To me, that’s really important in a game like this. Rewarding the hunters with the full story while giving casual players the base story.

Towards the end, the story does go off the rails a little bit, but it never ceases to be entertaining. The puzzles here are complex enough to feel a sense of accomplishment without seeming unattainable. I found myself stuck on a security code on the first floor for a hot minute, though after a few minutes of backtracking I found the respective code. Everything you need to advance the story is in plain sight, it’s up to you to find their context.

Mark finds a mannequin that looks like his ex girlfriend Kate

What’s New?

One of the most impressive aspects of Season 1, including Until Dawn and The Quarry, is how Supermassive learned and evolved with each game. Say what you will about some of these games, but you cannot say they didn’t take chances. Each Dark Pictures game tries something new, whether it’s good or bad, they TRY something. Rather than recycling the same mechanics over and over, like so many other games, Supermassive knows it has to reward fans of the franchise. As sparse as it may be, each character in The Devil In Me has a specific skill they must utilize to solve certain puzzles. This may seem fairly moot to many, but in the grand scheme of this franchise, it is a step in the right direction.

The big introduction in this game is the inventory system. A first for any Dark Pictures game. This completely elevated the gameplay to a whole new level. Each character has a specific light source on the top input of the D-pad. As you pick up keys and business cards they are also set with specific inputs on the D-pad. This really brings a whole new level of gameplay. The items you can pick up are limited, but still a wonderful addition.

Gotta Catch ‘Em All

One of the biggest aspects of each Dark Pictures game is the collectibles. From death totems to pagan effigies, each game has its own fun secrets to find. In The Devil In Me, we have a few different types of secrets and collectibles. The main one, without story consequences, is the Obols. Obols are an old type of currency used by many different groups of people throughout history. Each obol has a value of one through ten. The obols are used to unlock dioramas on the menu screen. These unlockable dioramas do not have any effect on the game, but it is cool to unlock and look at the character/set models. There is also an achievement called “I Like Money” that can be unlocked upon collection of obols valued at 200.

As with every Dark Pictures game you will stumble upon notes, letters, etc., that progress the story, so nothing new there. Where Until Dawn had the death totems, The Devil In Me uses three different types of pictures: white, black, and gold. White pictures are used as a form of premonition, giving you glimpses of situations that have life-or-death outcomes. Black pictures act similarly to white pictures, but rather than showing certain situations they show the outcome of the situations. Finally, we have the gold picture. As with most of the Dark Pictures games the gold picture acts as a glimpse of what’s to come. The gold picture here shows a brief clip of the first Dark Pictures game from Season 2, Directive 8020, set in space! These photos may be hidden fairly well, but you don’t need to be an achievement hunter to find them.

A dark room with hands hanging from the ceiling and mannequins strewn about

There Are Definitely Some Issues

I don’t think I have ever played a definitive five-out-of-five game, or at the least a game without its quirks and issues. What matters is if the issues negatively impact the playthrough. For me, I really think the pros outweigh the cons. The biggest issue I faced was hitboxes. A lot of times I would find myself trapped between a rock and a hard place, literally. Okay, maybe not a rock per se. There’s one room that has a few things hanging from the ceiling. Somehow I got trapped between a gurney and the things hanging from the ceiling. I’m not too sure how I got out of it, but for a good five minutes, I thought I was trapped for good.

When it comes to these games eight-ish hours feels like a proper length. It makes it seem attainable and makes the prospect of replayability reasonable. Either I was doing something wrong, or spent too much time searching (which I don’t think I did), but my gameplay the first time was nearly 12 hours. My second playthrough was shorter, though not by much, clocking in at 11 and a half hours. Granted I’m glad I got such a hefty playthrough for my $40, I think I would have appreciated, at most, a 10-hour game.

Some of the dialogue seems a little funky, and there are quite a few times when the dialogue is completely out of sync with the lips. But it’s a video game; that type of immersion breaking doesn’t really bother me. The dialogue at points feels clunky and overly expository. When you get the majority of your story from notes and letters I think it’s unnecessary to add as much exposition in the dialogue as they did.


A major appeal to the Dark Pictures games is their replayability. There are so many different endings to these games that replaying is a must. So how does The Devil In Me stack up? I may have said previously the runtime is a bit hefty, which could be a turn-off for a lot of players. Again unless I was doing something very wrong this game took me quite a long time to play. I just don’t necessarily mind that. I will definitely be replaying this game again with the hopes of getting every ending.

There were quite a few pieces of evidence I missed in my first two gameplays, and a few photos missed. I think there are enough factors of enjoyment for this game that I would recommend multiple replays. Out of all the Dark Pictures games, I think this has the highest replayability factor. Oh, and something I cannot say for any other Dark Pictures game is The Devil In Me did not crash once! Through two playthroughs!! That for me is enough to want to replay it.

a decrepit mannequin sits at a desk with its hand up

When the Walls Close

Out of all Dark Pictures games, I think I can definitively say The Devil In Me is my favorite in Season 1. Although if we were ranking Supermassive games it would be Until DawnThe Quarry, then The Devil In Me. The idea and concept of this game feel grander than all the others. It also helps that I’m a huge true crime fan. The game design is great, and there was never a moment where I was not nervous that a wall might close behind me, or I would trigger a trap door into a room of spikes.

I am 1000% on board for Season 2, but if they had to end the series here, I think The Devil In Me was the perfect game to end on. It takes the best part of previous games and expands on their ideas to create a larger experience. I was a little bummed to see the mixed reaction to this game, but not too surprised. There is a little less flair to this game than the other ones, but it carries a charm I don’t think the other three were able to create. I haven’t played too many games from this year, so for me The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil In Me would go down as my second favorite game of the year.

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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