The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes | PS4 Review.

Thursday, 28 October 2021


Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: Supermassive Games
PS4 Review

    Main Characters:
  • Rachel - Ashley Tisdale
  • Eric - Alex Gravenstein
  • Nick - Moe Jeudy-Lamour
  • Jason - Paul Zinno
  • Salim - Nick Taraby

Just in time for Halloween we have been given House of Ashes, it's the third installment from The Dark Pictures Anthology and so far my favourite. The game has a much deeper meaning and takes place about 32 years after the Twin Towers attack, it follows the US invasion of Iraq and the hunt for chemical weapons, the developers have taken real life and mixed it in with a terrifying evil that has been lying deep underground since the biblical times. The story is split into two different points of views with 5 different playable characters, on one hand we have the US soldiers and on the other we have the Iraq soldiers, when the US military arrive at the coordinates where the suspected chemical weapons are supposably hidden they're ambushed and things go from bad to worse. 

Rachel & Eric

An earthquake opens up a hole in the ground and suchs both US and Iraq soldiers into it's deep pits, what awaits them is the stuff of nightmares. Before all this happens the game introduces us to the monsters the 5 playable characters will be facing, it's clear these strange creatures are more like bats 100x their size and they crave human blood, they use sonor as a way to find their victims which is what gets them killed in the wink of an eye. The hole our characters have fallen in is an ancient Sumerian tomb where these monsters have lived and thrived for years, working as a team is the obvious thing to do but how can enemies come together in order to survive?

Your group of characters are as followed, Rachel King (Ashley Tisdale) there is a lot of focus on her character due to her being married to Eric, they have been having problems with their marriage and Rachel clearly isn't happy with him even though she's happy to speak about the good times to an extent. Jason and Nick are two of the other characters on the US side, Nick has grown close to Rachel and they have started a relationship but she is yet to tell Eric about them. Last but not least is my favourite out of the five, Salim, he is an Iraqi officer who knows his best chance of survival is working with enemy for his own sake.

Salim

Whilst making my way through the tunnels swapping between each character the game starts to reveal its secrets and lets us know that people have been in these caves before, not just once but over hundreds and hundreds of years and they have all met their demise. Unsure of what they face they make a lot of noise trying to hide from each other and carelessly causing echos to ring throughout the tunnel system. The learn an archaeological team had been down here and none had survived, seeing the old artifacts left there was both cool and very helpful, you see picking up a stone artifact lead to a memory being unlock, it showed what could possible happen with the choices you make on the lead up to that part of the game which is why I always try to pick carefully when I do my first play through of The Dark Pictures Anthology games.


I made sure I checked as many parts of the rooms I entered to see if there were any clues or anything I missed, when I made a certain choice it would unlock a bearing which can be viewed in the menu, it's handy for those who don't play the game in one sitting and need to refresh their memory on what their last choice was and how it worked out for them. The accessibility menu is a great tool especially for those who can't keep up with QTE, I never changed any of my QTE settings even though I knew my reaction times weren't that great. The timings seemed to be a lot better in this game than the previous two but i'm putting that down to how often they froze and how many issues I incurred with them, I luckily only had 2 glitches throughout my whole gameplay of House of Ashes, the swap over between characters felt a lot smoother too.

Camera angles annoyed me slightly which is why I ran into 2 glitches, one being rachel stuck in water unable to move and the other was a character stuck in front of a cell door and no matter how much my character pushed them they wouldn't move, this went on for 10 minutes but eventually I managed to nudge them. I'm assuming this isn't a glitch but Rachel seems to be expressionless her face just stays the same and it was slightly off putting and weird, i'm not the only one who had this opinion! 


The element of surprise worked well, there were some good jump scares one of which I knew would happen and purposely avoided it because I knew I would scream, interactive games like these often have a this power to put pressure on the player to do the morally right thing which guilts me into making the right choices this is a big reason why I choose the worst possible choices on second, third etc playthroughs, the guilt doesn't eat me up as much even though they are just video game characters. 

Jason & Nick

Speaking of characters, I would have liked to have seen a lot more of Salim and how his fear fueled him to betray his country, he stood out most to me I felt pretty panicked and wanted him to stay alive for the sake of his son. Eric annoyed me he seemed very full of himself but I'm not sure if it was a way of masking his emotions in front of other men. Rachel deserves to be happy and Nick makes her happy, I do think it's wrong that she can't be open and honest with Eric about the situation but alas I don't know that other outcomes there are to my choices I made when she spoke to Nick. The one character I was most shocked with was Jason, he let down his guard and showed a vulnerable side towards Salim, they worked well together as a team and because of my choices they both survived, the only character I ended up getting killed was Eric.


It's worth using a headset to play, the games music/sounds around you within the walls of the tunnel sound a lot more scary with them on and brings the hell hole to life. Some of the dialogue felt like it was lacking and a bit like a filler, the story however flowed a lot better than the previous two and I was wanting more even after the game ended, I didn't like how they left things but we will see how it turns out once I film my second playthrough for a lets play series. The Anthology is heading in the right direction, the next installment is called The Devil in Me and is the last in the first season of the Anthology, I'm assuming that all 8 games have been split into two seasons that have four games each which I was only aware of when they showed the trailer at the end of House of Ashes, which you can watch below:

 

Do I recommend this game? Of course I do, it's coming up to Halloween which makes it the perfect spooky game, does it beat Until Dawn in terms of how scary it is and the storyline? No but that's ok because it's unique and one of them games you will want to play even after completing it.