The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes reviewed by Ricky Frech on PlayStation 5, also available on Xbox, PlayStation 4, and PC.
The newest Dark Pictures game is developer Supermassive’s best horror game since Until Dawn made it famous.
Similar to its predecessor, the game is an interactive drama. The player controls 5 characters who are trapped under an underground Mesopotamian temple during the 2003 Iraq War where they are stalked then hunted by monsters awoken by the chaos. The 5 characters include CIA officer Rachel King (Ashley Tisdale), her husband, US Air Force lieutenant colonel Eric King (Alex Gravenstein), USMC Force Reconmarines first lieutenant Jason Kolchek (Paul Zinno) and sergeant Nick Kay (Moe Jeudy-Lamour), and Iraqi Army lieutenant Salim Othman (Nick Tarabay). Throughout the game, players need to make different decisions which can have long-term consequences as they influence how characters perceive each other and the course of the narrative. All five characters can survive or die depending on the player’s decision. As a result, the game has multiple endings.
House of Ashes introduces several gameplay changes. The game camera is no longer fixed and is replaced by a 360-degree player-controlled camera. Each player character is also equipped with a tactical flashlight on a specific firearm which can be used to illuminate dark areas and discover new paths. The game also introduces various difficulty levels for the quick time events. The game features 4 main modes. In addition to the main theratical mode, players who pre-order the game also gained access to the Curator’s cut, which allows players to experience the story from the perspective of another character. “Shared Story” and “Movie Night”, the two multiplayer modes from the previous games, also return in House of Ashes.