The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes

Horror from below

The House of Ashes accompanies a US special unit on a secret mission during the Iraq war in 2003. The goal is to track down a suspected chemical weapons depot. But when the earth suddenly opens up during a firefight with enemy troops and pulls both parties to the conflict with you, they encounter a completely different threat …

As in Man of Medan and Little Hope, the plot illuminates more than just one level of time. At the beginning you are even transported over 4,000 years into the past, where a completely different war, namely that between Akkadern and Gutäern, is raging. In addition, on their search for a way back to the surface of the earth, the soldiers discover traces of an expedition that had already ended up here shortly after the end of the Second World War. But why did the researchers never return?

Ancient prehistory: At the beginning of the game you travel 4,000 years into the past.

In order to find out the reason and to survive – as in the previous Dark Pictures episodes – difficult decisions have to be made, clues examined and reaction tests passed in a kind of interactive film adventure. This time you enjoy a little more freedom in the exploration passages and can often control the camera completely freely. Potential interaction options light up as usual, which is practical, but cannot be switched off.

Trimmed for action

When there is an upcoming reaction test, as in Little Hope, you will be briefly warned so that you can be ready – but not always. As before, the tests consist of harmoniously embedded quick-time events, in which you either have to press a displayed button in good time, hammer it repeatedly, tap in time with the heartbeat or aim and hit a target with crosshairs.

Firearms are used much more frequently in House of Ashes - also in the action sequences.

Firearms are used much more frequently – also in the action sequences.

Incidentally, the latter occurs much more frequently than before, which is not surprising in view of the militarily trained and appropriately equipped emergency services. As a result, the course of the game is of course much more action-heavy. Hobby shooters will be happy; those who prefer the rather quiet thrill from Little Hope, on the other hand, will be less happy with the realignment. However, it fits the scenario that there are significantly more moments of terror than goose bumps. However, there is no simultaneous movement and aiming like in a shooter.