“The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes,” a newly released horror game, is not for the faint-hearted. It follows an investigative journalist named Peter who stumbles upon some suspicious activity in his old family home. The story unfolds through exploration and conversation with characters that are only visible when supernatural events occur or objects are brought into focus, making it one of the most distinct games on Steam today.
The “house of ashes review ign” is a book and game. The book tells the story of a girl who is trying to find her missing brother in an abandoned house. The game is a first-person horror adventure.
Supermassive Games has reached a stalemate six years after the release of Until Dawn. Its dedication to The Dark Pictures Anthology reveals a long-standing problem, one that cannot be resolved owing to the franchise’s production timetable. House of Ashes, three games in, doesn’t do much to correct its predecessors’ flaws, lingering in a state of stasis.
There’s nothing wrong with the studio enjoying B-movie clichés in the first place. The Dark Pictures Anthology, if nothing else, demonstrates Supermassive’s appreciation of all horror genres. Unfortunately, this enthusiasm isn’t enough to save a standard interactive horror game.
Set the clocks back.
The setting of House of Ashes, which takes place during the 2003 Iraq War, is potentially dangerous. There’s a risk of mismanaging its cultural portrayals by putting American and Iraqi troops against each other to the tune of a horror-infused background evoking the conflict between the Mesopotamian-era Gutian and Akkadian civilizations. Surprisingly, it’s within this larger context that House of Ashes shines the brightest.
The core narrative revolves on an American military unit being alerted to the possibility of a chemical weapons plant in Iraq, which leads to an invasion. House of Ashes deceives players into thinking it’ll revert to the genre’s usual tendency for exploitation as a means of masking its supernatural happenings.
By making Salim a playable character and putting him in close proximity to his American assailants, Supermassive puts a kink in the scenario. The title, which Rachel, Eric, Nick, and Jason first despised, now gives serious moments of meditation. Of course, Salim may be slain before important moments of insight in an interactive narrative experience. Seeing him through to the end, on the other hand, reveals a degree of subtlety in its characters that has yet to be seen in a Supermassive Games effort. From Until Dawn to Little Hope, the company has relied primarily on tropes, but we’re now seeing them spread their wings a little more.
Characters who you’d expect would have the same point of view from beginning to finish exhibit signs of maturation. A character doesn’t perform a 180 because of an abrupt changeover or a particular incident. Rather, as the playable cast is forced from perilous position to dangerous predicament, you’ll observe these folks reflect on their own biases over time. When confronted with a danger greater than themselves, the folly of the Iraq War becomes clear. To be clear, the writing in The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes will never win an award. With that stated, it’s an intriguing step in the right direction for this subgenre of horror anthology films.
The Dark Pictures Anthology hasn’t evolved beyond boredom because Supermassive Games hasn’t been able to reproduce Until Dawn’s appropriate combination of exhilarating action, horror, and camp. To elicit the campiness that makes these sorts of horror encounters charming, B-movie shlock must strike the appropriate balance between its various parts. Without that combination, the franchise’s chances of surviving for another five installments are slim. With its focus firmly fixed on the area of bigotry and neocolonialism associated with a post-9/11 America invading another country, House of Ashes at least presents a light at the end of the tunnel.
If only the compelling subject matter could compensate for the absence of personality. Supermassive isn’t making the best use of its archetypes once again. There are a few real laughs and thought-provoking discussions, but they are few and far between. These characters don’t mesh in ways that help House of Ashes achieve its campy goals. Its action-horror fails to straddle the line, and it is played a touch too straight to create a lasting impact. Rather than invoking visions of the Slumber Party Massacre, it reminds me of the clinical presentation of the remake of The Amityville Horror.
There is a lack of interaction.
The Dark Pictures Anthology is ultimately at the mercy of its disconnected gameplay, even if Supermassive nailed every other aspect. Playing games like these may be a lot of fun. Quick time events, despite the abstraction of its interactive features, provide intriguing pathways within the genre. Despite its flaws, Heavy Rain managed to make every action sequence tense by increasing the intricacy of its button prompts. Aside from slamming buttons and completing a series of events in fast succession, players were forced to hold unpleasant combinations of buttons in particularly perilous scenarios. Further, sustaining the previously difficult button combination while dexterously handling another input was occasionally necessary as a follow-up action.
Every edition in this franchise fails to enthrall because of this level of participation. Because quick time events are so rare, you’re more likely to miss an action because you lost track of time rather than because the prompt was tough. Even when they do appear, they are seldom difficult. Players in House of Ashes are usually prompted to hit a single button seconds apart, with an indication flashing on-screen before to the request. Button mashing is seldom employed efficiently, despite the fact that most chances provide plenty of room for error. Even scenarios where players must maintain their composure by timing button pushes with a pulse monitor are devoid of anxiety.
Despite a training popup warning that hitting Y instead of A during the Keep Calm moments might result in a game over, this never happened on either of my regular difficulty playthroughs. It’s particularly odd since the buttons for Man of Medan and Little Hope alternated.
When you consider how much more action-oriented House of Ashes is than prior anthology editions, the game’s passive nature becomes a specific death knell. Its action-adventure horror is more concerned with nail-biting set-pieces than with creating mood. The act of playing House of Ashes seems insignificant since it relies so heavily on the intensity of an action film without any of the underlying suspense.
House of Ashes, on the other hand, caters to handicapped players with a variety of accessibility features, including the ability to replace button mashing with a single button hit.
The approach to multiplayer in The Dark Pictures Anthology adds an intriguing aspect to the proceedings, but its unbalanced emphasis seems wrong. Until Dawn unintentionally became a popular party game among customers and internet streamers, building a community that Supermassive Games had not anticipated. Following its initial popularity, it has attempted to replicate the sentiments evoked by Until Dawn. That is the problem in and of itself.
The multiplayer, like the horror parts, seems coldly constructed to the point of missing the aesthetic goal. Because there is no quantitative method for creating the ideal artwork or product, art is difficult to measure. In their quest to accurately depict precise sentiments, artists occasionally overlook details that give an otherwise clinical product a human touch.
House of Ashes has an intriguing online multiplayer component. Players often engage in fight with one another, and they may even be playing separate chapters at the same time. Because you’re at the whim of an unpredictable and fallible human person who may turn on you or miss a simple button hint, online multiplayer adds to the thrill. Its innovation is laudable, but it’s so laser-focused on the Until Dawn charm that it loses sight of it. No amount of multiplayer-specific tweaks can compensate for the dull gameplay and uninspired horror cliche execution.
The Final Word
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes makes a little step forward while persistently staying stuck in its rut. Its unexpectedly sympathetic portrayal of racism isn’t enough to save a tedious experience that lacks the humor and fun that makes B-movie schlock so memorable. The studio’s control structure has to be overhauled after failing to nail horror movie conventions in an engaging way. Nothing seems significant without the dexterity of so many contemporaries.
Supermassive Games is oblivious to the fact that they cannot guide their work with such venom. Rather than allowing customers to enjoy their games in unexpected ways, publishers have begun to restrict the gaming experience in order to maintain control over the community. In the process, they’ve stifled any potential debates, with House of Ashes serving as just another mediocre product devoid of the spirit that creates a lasting impact.
|+||Surprising reflection on a difficult topic|
|+||Multiplayer provides some excitement.|
|–||There is no strain in the passive control method.|
|–||Too much emphasis is placed on horror cliches and character stereotypes.|
|–||The emphasis of a solo experience is skewed.|
|–||Until Dawn’s multiplayer mode is still lacking in excitement.|
The “house of ashes review reddit” is a game that was released on Steam in 2015. The game has received mixed reviews, with many praising the graphics and story, while others criticizing it for its lack of gameplay.
- house of ashes release date
- the dark pictures: house of ashes – playstation 5
- house of ashes ps5 review
- house of ashes review metacritic
- the dark pictures anthology