The Dark Pictures Anthology: The Devil in Me | Recensione – L’orrore del Dottor Holmes

Who I am
Aina Prat Blasi
Author and references

Supermassive Games has allowed us to overcome indemnify the Halloween periodyet it seems that the will to continue to scare and upset us is always high. The Dark Pictures Anthology arrives with its fourth episode, to be released on November 18 on consoles and PC, to continue that adventure inaugurated in 2019 with Man of Medan, the first iteration of the anthological series which with the chapter in question will close the first season . Keeping firm what are the pillars of the adventure, namely the horror theme and the ability to manage the entire experience with co-op multiplayer, Devil in Me tries to insert some new elements from the gameplay point of view, to pursue that innovation that has peeped into our living rooms from chapter to chapter.

The chameleonic Doctor Holmes

The events of The Devil in me unfold inside a hotel, where our newlywed couple, protagonists of the story, arrive to spend their honeymoon. To welcome them there is the manager of the structure, Mr. Holmes, whose name refers to noto serial killer statunitense Henry Howard, active between 1892 and 1894 with a rate of suspected victims that exceeds 200. The hotel in which we find ourselves arriving is the reconstruction of the Castle, the building that Holmes had erected thanks to income deriving from insurance fraud . Here the man gave free rein to his murders, using the second and third floors as a maze of rooms that created a labyrinth that allowed all the guests to get lost. Our newlyweds want to enjoy their honeymoon, but at the same time give free rein to their curiosity, to respond to the quest for risk and adventure. Emotions that, in this case, won't get them anything good in return.

With a flash forward that leads us to the present day, we have the opportunity to take over the crew working on a series dedicated to America's most famous serial killers and arriving at the Castle will allow them to build the most fascinating and concrete of the episodes of the their shows. Charlie, director and team leader not at all nice, Kate, Jamie, Mark ed Erin are the five protagonists of Devil in Me, intending to find out what is hidden in that kind of manor that Holmes had set up in an attempt to set up a theater of horrors for his crimes. The light-hearted tone of the first scenes and images turns into something more anxious, of melancholy and heartbroken, respecting what is the general tone of the series.

The Devil in Me and the dream of freedom

Being a graphic adventure in full style, The Devil in Me confronts us with the need to decide the future of our protagonists and also condition their life or death. If at the beginning the whole experience of the newlyweds will be limited to presenting us with the settings and deceiving our emotions into believing we are dealing with a happy and carefree story, we will then find ourselves called to make much more important decisions and to respect QTE much more intense than hitting our new husband with a pillow. With the choices available to us, we could even end the life of one of the protagonists, in full Until Dawn style, finding ourselves with a smaller quintet than at the beginning.

The slasher genre, with some initial references also to Psycho, with a bathtub instead of a shower in the key scene that reveals the cards on the table, climbs into the attitudes of Holmes, star performer not only of the scene, but of the whole story, protagonist of heinous crimes and terrible murders, which take hold before our helpless eyes, called to make decisions that could change the course of events, but not the substance. It is personal taste that prevails here, because depending on the player's preferences, it will be possible to decide whether to appreciate throats slain à la Sweeney Todd or deaths from asphyxiation, between blood and screams that spread and pervade the Castle.

We were talking about improvements from the point of view of the gameplay, in what is to all intents and purposes an interactive film in some cases, especially for how Supermassive Games presents us with the protagonists and the setting, with opening credits that compete with the best productions of Hollywood. The free camera continues to be in our possession, come era successo in House of Ashes, so that we can, in moments of exploration, move without any limits whatsoever and obtain a complete view of what surrounds us. Different speech, of course, when we are called to make timely decisions and choices. The return of The Curator has also been confirmed, the common thread of the entire series, ready to tell us the stories of The Dark Pictures Anthology.

Meanwhile, however, the five protagonists mentioned above have the opportunity to exploit unique objects that allow them to be characterized also in their playful aspects. Erin, for example, is equipped with a microphone that allows you to hear sounds in the distance while Mark can take pictures or use his tripod to be able to get to collect objects that are at a distance. Charlie can pick locks and so on. However, we must be careful, because the gameplay set up by Supermassive Games also leads us to the possibility of losing these objects and, consequently, also the possibility of using them.

Environmental exploration to increase anxiety

What we have been able to notice in The Devil in Me is that the QTEs are decidedly lower than in the previous chapters: mostly included in the prologue, to give us the opportunity to become familiar with the mechanics in case we were new to the series, they will eventually diminish over the course of the adventure. The intention, from what transpires, is precisely that of keeping a high concentration on choices that are not instinctive, but reasoned, to influence our future according to the reasoning that we are going to make. Similarly, Devil in Me has areas and gods environments that are less linear than in the previous chapter, which also increases the distribution of environmental puzzles and also foments the verticality of the scenarios, allowing us to climb raised floors, jump from one point to another and so on. We are not talking about an open world, mind you, because the pace of the narrative is always very intense and the desire to always keep the player on his toes is strong and constant.

With an engaging Spanish dubbing, able to keep us glued to the screen to witness what we cannot intervene and syndicate, the technical aspect of the last chapter of The Dark Pictures Anthology he is also exalted by the rendering of the models. All the characters seem like real actors and the events allow us to immerse ourselves in a context which, while not having to get excited about settings mostly concentrated on the hotel that acts as a stage, does not require immense production efforts, but rather well-constructed details . Something more could have been done on the facial animations, but overall The Devil In Me is a product of excellent workmanship, which also satisfies the visual aspect, in a graphic adventure that manages to disturb and tear us apart for the real events to which refers.

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