Exorcisms are events in which a religious Elder performs a series of rituals to help exorcise a demon that has taken host in a person, practised by many religions for thousands of years. The 1976 film The Exorcist is the most famous example of those events in fiction and has become the go-to material for all manner of games and TV offerings since.
In Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil we play as a Catholic priest whose main purpose is to protect us from some evil entities. But will he succeed?
Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil is a first-person puzzle adventure where, for the bulk of the game, you are put in the shoes of a priest in the Autumn of his life. But keep in mind that sprinting we tire you out, requiring some caffeine pills to keep going. I can relate to this character more than any other I’ve played recently.
The story starts in 1984. You are Aughust Heyel, a priest who is investigating a house for nightmare goings on. When you arrive at the house things start to move into a horror dimension and you are attacked by a demon. Fast forward some thirty years or so and our devoted priest is found travelling back to the house to investigate a whole new nightmare.
The writing and story found in Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil are both extremely intriguing with some lovely scenes played in flashback via hand-drawn images. The documentation lying around gives you a massive insight into the world and the events surrounding the house. The journey takes you into the real – and the very unreal – with nightmare scenarios that are part of the priest’s Medium skills. Personally, I very much enjoyed playing a 74-year-old priest, a guy without any real special powers except his faith. It’s very unlike any other game that I’ve played before.
It all takes place in the first person and one thing I noticed straight away is that there aren’t any instructions as to what to do in Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil. Admittedly it’s not mega complicated, as the route is quite linear, and there is little that will see you lost. Basically, you enter various locations and look for notes around the place. And to do so you have four options for exploration at your disposal – a flashlight, some caffeine tablets for when you get exhausted from running just a couple of metres, health kits and rosaries which leads us to the closest thing it gets to combat.
See, with the pull of your RT button a cross can be used to expel demons that attack you, letting you exorcise objects in order to aid progression in the story and the game. This power isn’t unlimited though and you’ll need to utilise the rosaries to bulk up your faith power. This works fine but during my playthrough I quickly found myself running out of faith. There is some trap avoiding to partake in too; something which is pretty tricky for an old priest. That said, whilst I enjoyed the more action-focused parts of the game, Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil did prove to be more frustrating than exciting.
Visually the game presents itself well, but – as you may expect of this type of game – can be very dark in places. The locations are good and the mixture of the real world and the more imagined demonic places is excellent. I’m also a big fan of the hand-drawn cutscenes as well, helping fill in parts of the story. The voice work is great too, while the soundtrack is equally menacing and dramatic.
Play through Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil and you’ll discover many ‘firsts’. You may never have played a game in which you take on the role of an ageing priest, and rarely will you be found using a cross to expel the demonic world. But it mostly works well, especially when you are exploring the world and the story. Less good is the battling of demons and the need to go avoiding traps, however everything is nicely presented both visually and aurally.
Devil Inside Us: Roots of Evil is different, but it’s an admirable adventure that is worth taking in over a couple of hours.