The survival horror games of today take on many forms. While the likes of Resident Evil Village are on the action end of the spectrum, we also have Alien: Isolation and Outlast pushing the boundaries in different directions. And now it’s the turn of Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil. A thoroughly indie title that has taken inspiration from the many to deliver a short and impacting experience. This Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil review will tell you exactly how.
Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil tells the tale of a priest called to a murder house in the 1980s. The game begins as you arrive. Exploring the house for the first time, you learn the basic mechanics of the game. Of which, there are very few. You have a cross that you can use to exorcise evil, and a very limited sprint. These (and your health) can be recharged with items you will find scattered around the area. However, they are decidedly limited in volume, so you’ll learn to use with caution.
The game makes clever use of the limited environments. The core experience takes place in a single location; a small house in a rural community. You must solves puzzles around the house to open up new areas. This largely involves collecting item A to connect with location B to access path C. Yes, it’s very Resident Evil, but there’s no shame in that. Capcom’s survival horror franchise leads the genre for a reason. Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil puts to good use the lessons learned there. It borrows what’s good, and ignores the bad.
One of the puzzle mechanics is that of the above mentioned exorcisms. These aren’t elaborate sequences involving chanting and reading scriptures, throwing out holy water or summoning hellish gateways. In Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil, it’s simply a case of holding a cross to an inanimate object for a certain amount of time. However, it’s also a means of combat.
The enemies are few and far between until later in the game. They require the use of your cross (or shotgun, which also uses your Faith meter, later in the game) to put down. However, your exorcism capabilities are controlled by a meter which recharges painfully slow. As stated above, you can immediately fill it with the use of Rosary Beads you find throughout the levels, but they are few and far between considering how much wear you’ll get out this ability.
Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil is an atmospheric experience throughout. There’s a bit of a reliance on jump scares at times, but this is not the core of the game’s appeal. Sadly, one the weakest parts of the game is that this thick atmosphere is laid on for such a brief period. Our initial, overly cautious playthrough of the game for this Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil review clocked in at around three hours. If you’re speed running a second time to find any missing secrets, expect to be done in under an hour.
But of course, being good doesn’t always equate to long. Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil is an enjoyable game that exercises the limits of the survival horror genre by adding in a touch of What Remains of Edith Finch. There are action sequences. But these are by far the less impressive moments of the game. Instead, Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil is a game about cautious progression. About being aware of your surroundings, and finding changes that reveal clues. If you’re looking to become a detective with the might of God on your side, Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil offers a role to play.