After the crummy Man of Medan and the better-but-not-quite-there Little Hope, The Dark Pictures Anthology has finally started hitting its stride with House of Ashes.
Set in Iraq in 2003, the invading United States army is looking for weapons of mass destruction wink wink. Satellite imagery has alerted them to a potential hiding spot for some of Saddam Hussein's nastiest toys, and so they send in a small unit to investigate who quickly run afoul of some Iraqi soldiers and soon both sets of troops are trapped in an underground facility with something far more sinister than chemical weapons. Hint: it's monsters.
These monsters don't really care what uniform their lunch is wearing, and so working together may be the only way any of the soldiers can survive. The narrative is quite predictable and heavy-handed, but it's tightly paced and builds to a satisfying conclusion which makes it the best tale of the series so far.
Horror is the big loser here as House of Ashes isn't remotely scary, but there's an underlying tension that keeps things interesting throughout. This is for all intents and purposes an interactive action movie with a horror twist rather than a title that aims to have you jumping out of your seat — think Aliens rather than Alien.
The creatures, it should be said, look pretty ridiculous, and a particular variant of monster introduced toward the end actually had us guffawing to ourselves rather than shying away in terror.
Gameplay-wise, not much has changed since Little Hope. You'll spend much of your time walking about, inspecting objects, talking to people, making decisions, and taking part in quick-time events. The formula works, and the six or seven hour running time means that the rudimentary controls don't outstay their welcome.
Hmmmm, Oh boy, I sure do hope they don't kill a million innocent people while fighting the "monsters" (this makes me depreseed)
Edit: I also really hope that they don't find a way to make money out of it (like companies making weapons/vehicules/ammunition)
@lolwhatno maybe it turns out that humanity was the real monster all along.
@johncalmc Nah, I ain't no monster (I mean I steal the cold milk in the morning and dump it in my cereals but still, and my lil bro puts the cold milk in the fridge every night, he ain't no monster). Are you a monster John?
The most unrealistic part of this game is satellite imagery hinting at WMDs in Iraq.
I enjoyed playing through this with my brother, but I think it’s the weakest one in the series.
@nessisonett I put this down to artistic license.
@Bentleyma- Me too. I’m enjoying it but not nearly as much as the others. I think Little Hope has been my favourite of the three so far. Really missing the horror element in House of Ashes.
I absolutely LOVE this game. I just finished my second play through this morning. I rate it up there with Until Dawn and Man of Medan. Way better than Little Hope
Haven’t read the review yet, but that is an outstanding sub-header. Bravo 👏🏻👏🏻
@HUMPERDOO Honestly I'm glad someone came in to congratulate me on it because I think it's a solid 9/10 headline pun. I'm giving you gold here people.
@johncalmc Genuinely grade-A wordplay, man 😆 If it was the only thing you wrote all year I’d still say you’ve earned yourself a raise!
Yeah, another vote in favour of the sub-headline here. Brilliant stuff.
It would have been a full blown review but so much time was spent thinking up the brilliant sub heading.
You need to do a poll on the greatest ones
Does Israel win in the end like in real life ?
better than until dawn? I may have to pick this up
Little hope was amazing, which me and a friend play in one sitting, so this sing and praise gives me hopes
Found man of Medan quite good but too short , thought little hope was absolutely rubbish especially the ending , I wish they'd made a sequel to until dawn instead of these
My copy arrived yesterday so I think I'll save this for halloween.
7/10 Through the star power of Ashley Tisdale 😂
This game was absolute garbage, the characters are next level tear my face off annoying, and that's before they start chanting hooraa jarhead crap.
No story except there's vampires/aliens in a cave with the most the most powerful sticks of dynamite ever made and that girls face is the most jacked up thing I've ever seen along with the thunder birds animations.
Until dawn was great but the first and third part of this series are just bad.
@Mgene15 its not even close
cracking game. love the plot cleared it in one sitting gona play through again and see the other outcomes. well done guys im looking forward to the next game 10/10. a fan since until dawn love spending Halloween playing these games, been amazing each year THANK YOU! i grew up watching hammer horrors big horror fan here!
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