The Dark Pictures Anthology, let's sum up the first season

The Dark Pictures Anthology, let's sum up the first season

The Dark Pictures Anthology

It's easy to judge the work of others by picking up a pad, without trying to understand the difficulties and hitches of a multifaceted production. Then when a particular experiment such as Supermassive Games' Dark Pictures Anthology is on the plate, everything is amplified with often exaggerated volumes. The team that awakened the desire for teen horror with Until Dawn tried to go down a difficult path, both from a creative point of view and from a construction point of view, still managing to complete the climb. If you have not yet read our review of The Devil in Me , the last chapter of the first season released in recent days, we invite you to retrieve it. With clearer ideas along the way and with season 2 already officially announced via a teaser, it is however time to sum up and also some ears.

Man of Medan: a start in tiptoe

Man of Medan: we are to see the truth among the abyss When during the torrid August of 2019 Man of Medan arrived on the market, the curiosity towards the Dark Pictures Anthology project and the new course of Supermassive son been able to channel the attention of a large audience. Hollywood actors, a particular and different story from the usual and such an ambitious project sponsored by Bandai Namco have generated really high expectations both for the public and for the specialized critics.

As we know, not everything has fully convinced and the fluctuating result of the narration, as well as the lack of interactivity and freedom for the player have contributed to diminishing the enthusiasm of many, now convinced that they are faced with titles offered at a budget price, short and of dubious substance.

The adventure of the five protagonists in the waters of French Polynesia in search of clues to the mystery of the SS Ourang Medan does not start from erroneous assumptions. On the contrary, the desire to play with myths and legends more or less taken from the past represents one of the successful choices by the team. What unfortunately worked less was the plot. The deepening of the psychologies of the characters, the need to use such a repetitive location as a cargo ship and some gaps in the writing phase made Man of Medan a mediocre title, unable to captivate to the end despite its short duration.

Little Hope: the witch hunt that improves the formula

Little Hope: a sad chapter in human history, the witch hunt Just over a year later, at the end of 2020 was the time of The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope , the second chapter of the anthology and the first to adjust the shot of a formula that was perhaps already stale at the time of its launch. No particular revolution, only a better awareness of the work that is being carried out and the reuse of many of the assets that we will find for the rest of the season have helped to focus on the most important aspects for the public.

The setting of Little Hope, the name of the small village that forms the backdrop to the events, in itself represents a good percentage of the interest generated in the public. On the other hand, the witch hunt that led to the Salem trial at the end of the 1600s is still today one of the darkest moments in human history, as well as a fascinating starting point so dear to the horror genre.

Little Hope is still today for many the best chapter of this first season, thanks to its setting, better written characters than Man of Medan and a story that - although not free from holes and not always successful narrative joints - was able to really make you feel the player master of the destiny of the five protagonists.

House of Ashes: the gamble that raises the bar

House of Ashes: courageous and artistically spot on the third installment of the series Still four more seasons and digital shelves saw the arrival of The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes, the most controversial but perhaps the most interesting of the anthology's first season chapters. The third attempt is also that of maturity, of risk, of trying to modernize some now anachronistic mechanics and House of Ashes in this sense deserved its attention.

The Twin Towers fell a couple of years ago and the war in Iraq is more alive than ever. Against the background of the conflict, however, entities far worse than our automatic weapons are moving and a group of soldiers from both factions finds themselves wandering through an ancient Sumerian temple where sacrifices and atrocious gestures were carried out.

House of Ashes does not it is only the most successful chapter from a narrative point of view, so capable of being based on strong cinematographic references like The Descent, but it is also the one that tries to rejuvenate the formula, to finally give the player freedom to move the protagonists in slightly more great, without confusing it in the progression.

Free camera, dark environments to light up, fast passages between one character and another during excited moments and an artistically impressive final phase made it what for us remains by far the most successful title of the anthology, while still not exciting from a playful point of view. The action phases are in fact very insignificant and the choices are not always clear in their progression, but it is always a fast-paced journey until the light of day is found again.

The Devil in Me

The Devil in Me: ambitious, but successful in the middle of the last title of the season Fresh from its release and reviews, The Devil in Me was supposed to represent the title of the consecration. Announced for some time as the final act of the first season, however, it was not able to surprise us despite the good narrative premises and the work done with House of Ashes.

Once again a historical cue, this time that of the first serial killer Documented American - H.H. Holmes - who in the late 1800s repeatedly defrauded the US state and even ended up killing a number of people that some would swear were close to two hundred. Exploiting his "Castle" in Chicago, Holmes tortured, strangled, gassed and burned almost anyone in his vicinity, eventually himself dying on the gallows by suffocation after slow agony.

The Devil in Me is a strange title, which brings into play a similar formula, but also profoundly different from the past and far from successful. It takes up the claustrophobic setting of Man of Medan, the gruesome atmospheres of Little Hope and the freedom of movement and management of House of Ashes, but also chooses to get out of the linearity of the past, ending up toppling over on itself. The substantially longer duration is the daughter only and exclusively of the insertion of puzzles and searches for objects that tire soon during the adventure and the writing of the characters, thanks to their total ignorance of the events they are experiencing, ends up being sluggish and relegated to a handful of dialogues here and there. Too much confusion about the subplots, too many elements that are revealed and never explored and a constant feeling of confusion in the design have not helped a story with an interesting incipit.

Directive 8020: the road to the second season

Directive 8020: what will the second season have in store for us? If you have not yet concluded your adventure with The Devil in Me perhaps you have not yet had the opportunity to see the short trailer which historically launches the following title in the series. In the specific case, Supermassive decides to drop the joker and announce the second season by totally changing assumptions and moving us to a space setting always with horror hues.

We know practically nothing about the next title, except that something is making There is an important mission to presumably find a new home for humans far from Earth. It is not known if the new season will start as early as 2023 or if the team will decide to take more time, but what really interests us is to understand if the change of season can also bring about a net change in the gameplay and structure of the games.

As interesting as the spatial setting may seem and, in this sense, the anthological formula allows us to play a lot with inspiration, this historical moment is also the one in which we are once again bombarded with stories sci-fi tints and the risk is of colliding with a bulimia that may not reward this Directive 8020. It is clear that everyone's expectations, where it was decided to continue with this project, are to deal with titles that are a bit braver and less conservative and who maybe can start telling better written and more original stories.

We remain at the door waiting to find out how Supermassive will characterize this new goes season. In the meantime, for those who still haven't had the opportunity to enjoy the first four chapters, now you have no more excuses to immerse yourself in the anthology.

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