With Halloween this weekend, now is the perfect time to pick up the latest addition in the horror video game anthology from the Dark Pictures Anthology, House of Ashes. As the newest survival game in the hit series from developer Supermassive Games, House of Ashes brings refreshing scares, characters, and storytelling to the fun series of cinematic games.
Part of the appeal of House of Ashes is just how many horrifying scares it manages to pack into a relatively short runtime. Of course, those who have been playing these games know that one of the main reasons these games are worth picking up is their replayability.
House of Ashes, in particular, has a seemingly endless bounty of unique paths, choices and death scenes to give you a different experience every time you play. Who dies this time? Will you purposefully try to kill all your characters? Or are you a more benevolent God aiming to get each one past the finish line?
5 reasons you need to play Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes
5. The story is compelling.
It should go without saying that when you pick up one of these games, you’re bound to get a great story, but House of Ashes really has the vibe of your favorite Tomb Raider and Uncharted games and the film The Descent turned into something far more sinister.
The story begins in 2003 with American soldiers prepared to storm dictator Saddam Hussein’s place of operations. Yes, the game has a strong political bent, but don’t let that dissuade you from playing as it leads to an engaging story and genuinely complicated moral decisions such as whether you should use certain things as a weapon or not.
Not long after arriving, the mission goes awry as this new group of characters, led by Air Force lieutenant Eric King, fall through a crumbling ground into an ancient Sumerian temple where they soon come face-to-face terrifying creatures. Can they survive the night and get out alive? That will be up to you.
4. Multiplayer options
Another fun aspect of House of Ashes is the two multiplayer modes that let you play with fans worldwide or in a local co-op. Given the nature of the game, it becomes even more entertaining when you get to play with your friends. The “Movie Night” mode allows five players to play together, passing a controller between them with the game advising you when to switch characters.
In “Shared Story” mode, you can play online with two players going through the story together, each one responsible for who lives and dies. You can also play cross-gen, so if you have an Xbox, you can play with PlayStation players and vice versa.
3. Fun action sequences
Something the previous games sometimes lacked was great action sequences, but that changes here. I feel like there was some Tomb Raider inspiration in the way you’re given control to navigate your characters through a crumbling ruin. Between the dread-inducing scares, you’ll find compelling and adrenaline-pumping moments that force you to pay close attention as you try to get these characters across the finish line.
2. Excellent characters
It’s not too surprising that the characters in House of Ashes are well-defined and fun to play, considering that was always a vital element in the game’s predecessors too. Still, the characters here feel even more realistic than in Little Hope or Man of Medan. It’s great to see what relationships you can cultivate depending on your choices. Some of the characters include the aforementioned Eric, his estranged wife Rachel (Ashley Tisdale) and an Iraqi soldier named Salim.
1. Plenty to do
From the excellent level design brimming with fun easter eggs and horror movie references to explore to the various game modes and bounty of choices, there is plenty in House of Ashes to keep you entertained for hours. Even though the main playthrough might only take a few hours, the game has great replay value, giving you many options to stay in this world for as long as you want. There are also secrets and collectibles to be uncovered, so start exploring!
House of Ashes is out now on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.