The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is the third game in this anthology horror series by Supermassive Games and publisher Bandai Namco. Read on to see what the game has to offer and whether it’s worth buying.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes follows the story of five different people each of them trying to survive the horrors that await them. The story follows Rachel, Nick, Eric, Jason and Salim. Their relationships and stories intertwine in this claustrophobic inducing nightmare in the ruins under the Zagros mountains.
As with every game in the The Dark Pictures Anthology series, it starts with a Prologue. A story from the past that sets the history of the game. This time around the story takes us during the era of Sumerians in a time where the nation is at war and an eclipse marks the awakening of unknown beings.
The Prologue teaches you the basic controls in the game. Movement and the use of a light source is a major component the entire game. Every decision has consequences and it’s up to you to decide where the story goes and who lives or dies. Even thought the game gives you choices, you can also choose not to choose by either letting the timer run out or choosing to say nothing.
There are even parts in the game where it tells you to either touch or shoot at something. However, you can still choose not to do anything by either cancelling the action or letting the timer run out as well. It really truly is a game that lets you do whatever you want to and not feel like the game is forcing you to choose an action.
Each of the five characters that you control, have their own reactions to any of your actions towards them. So it is crucial that you pay attention to who you are talking to and anticipate how they might react. But in a game that is as wide open as this one, you can’t really predict how they react to you. It may or may not lead to dire consequences that can be fatal towards your characters.
I really love the freedom that this game gives in terms of choices. It just gives you a lot of room to craft the story that you have in your head. It opens up doors and doors of opportunities for your survivors and sometimes they can lead to surprising results.
Aside from choices and actions, there are also QTE (Quick-Time events) that your characters will have to do in order to complete a scene. I always try my best to press the right buttons especially in action scenes where your character might be in danger. There are three types of QTE events, first is pressing the correct button or continuously pressing the button, the second is aiming your cursor to your target and the third is a button sequence that mimics the heartbeat that is a staple in the previous games.
There are also some big cinematic moments here that really made me feel like I’m watching a movie just like in the previous games. There were parts in the game where you had to control the actions of multiple people. That to me was very exciting and had me at the edge of my seat as I want to make sure each of my character was alive.
Scattered throughout the game are collectibles that you can interact with. Some of them are notes that activate a series of videos that lets you in on the lore of the story. Some of them are items that when you inspect them, you are able to pick them up and keep for later. I really like that the game really uses every part of the story that even the collectibles has its own purpose in the grand scheme of things. Some will require you to take more than just an inspection though to trigger the collectible. So you need to pay attention to these things.
Another staple of the game are the pictures that serves as a peek to the future. Premonitions of what is to come in the game. This time around, they are in the form of stone tablets. They come in two kinds, the good and the bad. I can say that they really serve their purpose in helping you make the right decisions in areas you believe the scenes were taken from.
For a horror game though, I didn’t feel like the House of Ashes is something that will scare the beejezus out of you unlike the previous entries in the series. In fact, there was not a time in the game that I felt scared or creeped out. I think it’s mainly because you are dealing with highly trained soldiers that have weapons so it feels like they are not afraid of anything or anyone.
Overall, I really enjoyed House of Ashes and the story it provided. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a horror game thought but rather I’d call it an action game. If you are a fan of the series or are into choice based games, then I would definitely recommend this for you.