Devotion is a first-person psychological horror game from Red Candle Games, who previously developed a horror game called Detention. I loved Detention, so I was eagerly awaiting the launch of Devotion in 2019.
When it came out, I decided to wait until closer to October to buy it. That was a mistake.
Devotion was pulled from Steam after images were discovered making jokes about the president of China, and it looked like it was never coming back. (You can read about the incident here.) Last year, I woke up one day to the exciting news that Devotion was being re-released on GOG, only for GOG to backtrack within hours due to “many messages from gamers.”
(Because GOG has never sold controversial games, right?)
But this year, at last, Red Candle Games began selling Devotion on their own website, and I immediately bought a copy to play this October.
Now that we’ve gone through the history of Devotion, let’s talk about the game itself. Devotion takes place in an apartment complex in Taiwan. In fact, most of it takes place in a single apartment, with the main character visiting and revisiting the same location seen at different points in time.
(Ironically, given the controversy, its story is not nearly as political as Detention’s. It’s really a personal tale.)
Devotion makes great use of the trick where you enter an area and the environment behind you changes when you turn around or leave the room, and the early parts in particular have a dread-filled atmosphere and some well-placed jump scares.
As you get further into the game, it becomes more focused on the personal horror and tragedy surrounding the main character and his family. It’s less horror in terms of scaring the player, and more the horror of the story itself and what happened to the characters.
Early on, it is fairly linear, but the middle of the game opens up more with puzzles for you to solve by visiting the apartment at different points in time and taking items from one to another as you learn more about the family’s lives. I felt like the ending’s impact could have been stronger, but it was a good, disturbing journey to reach it.
I enjoyed Detention more overall, especially for its exploration and puzzles, but I appreciated Devotion and its haunting tale. I look forward to playing whatever Red Candle Games makes next.---
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