Preview: We played the first hour of The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes

Publication Cover

A new dark tale appears on the horizon! Continuing the great The Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive’s anthological horror game series with Bandai, House of Ashes is scheduled for release in October and looks very promising for fans of classics of the genre.

For those of you who love horror games or movies and want to know more about House of Ashes, the Legion had access to a preview of the game – the first hour – and I can already tell you if the Sumerian ruins hidden in Iraq are really to be feared.

Horror lurks in the depths. Grab your flashlight and come with me!

Minimum requirements:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-3470 or AMD FX-8350
  • RAM memory: 8 GB
  • Operational system: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Video card : NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti or AMD Radeon HD 8570
  • Video Memory: 2GB
  • HD space: 50 GB

Configuration used for review:

  • Acer Nitro AN515-54 notebook
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-9300H CPU @ 2.40GHz
  • RAM memory: 8.00 GB
  • Operational system: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Video card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
  • Video Memory: 4GB
  • HD: 500GB SSD

House of Ashes and the Satisfying Horror

The preview was pretty bloody, but don’t put all the blame on the monsters! (in game captures)

I always thought the series The Dark Pictures Anthology very interesting and important for the renewal of the horror and horror market in the gamer industry. If you don’t know, this is a saga of anthological games, created by supermassive games and distributed by Bandai Namco, where each title tells a different dark story, with gameplay based on exploration, choices and quick decisions.

Each of these games – House of Ashes is the third – it has about four characters interacting with a supernatural and very graphic narrative. You can play alone and control them all, in online multiplayer and share the adventure with another person or share control with four other friends. Your decisions influence the development of the story, the relationship between the protagonists and the end they will have.

While Man of Medan, the first release, tells the misadventure of a group on a “ghost ship” and little hope, the second chapter, takes you to a haunted city, House of Ashes follows a very different path. In the new game, you control American and Iraqi military during the Iraq war, in 2003, who ended up arrested in Sumerian ruins buried in the desert sand.

House of Ashes is cinematic in the right way

In the first hour, you can already capture the main feelings that the game wants to give you: paranoia and claustrophobia. The main inspirations for House of Ashes are clearly the highly acclaimed Abyss of Fear (The Descent) and The Exorcist, with a dash of alien. The fear of the unknown is always present, combined with the danger of the unstable environment and the feeling of vulnerability, whether for the monsters of the place or for enemy soldiers.

Exploring ancient ruins, especially Sumerian ruins, is nothing new in horror, but having control over the exploration of them is really cool. the game keeps the gameplay of the previous ones, with a third-person camera very “intimate”, which moves slowly, can be fixed at times and sometimes moves closer to follow the environment over the character’s shoulder, increasing claustrophobia and the feeling of danger.

It is important to highlight that this one, as well as the others, it’s a slow game, after all, it is not an action game but a narrative with exploration. This, however, adds to the mood the adventure creates and if you can’t run, any threat seems more lethal or frightening.

The game’s original camera is 3rd person, but it has really cool variations

This time you play with military at different levels. The characters are a sergeant and two American operators and an Iraqi soldier. Because of the time and place that House of Ashes takes place, the game makes you question what is the main danger in these ruins; would it be the lurking monsters or enemy soldiers that could appear at any moment? The human element is very present and welcome, leaving things less predictable.

Many players criticized little hope, the previous game, because the shallow characters and the choices in the game didn’t affect the story’s development as much. In House of Ashes, it is possible to notice that the production listened to the complaints and tried to elevate the new title. Of course, I only tested the first hour, so that might change for the rest of the narrative, but these protagonists are intriguing enough and the first choices, simple things, already show a lot of influence on the journey.

The coolest thing is that these characters are intriguing, but are not necessarily nice – it’s quite the opposite, actually. We are talking here about the American and Iraqi armies and a lot of violence and arrogance. They are protagonists who walk in a gray area and even arouse sympathy, but if something bad happens to them, it’s not a defeat for the player.

A preview of the monsters that will hunt you in the game

It’s that kind of satisfying horror, which happens to people you don’t like very much, it’s even a little pity, but only a little. That doesn’t mean you don’t care about the characters, but that you won’t be afraid to explore every possible ending.

Anyway, the biggest merit of House of Ashes goes to the ambiance. It’s hard not to be enchanted by the game’s ruins and cinematic shots. The very low lighting, together with the unstable and closed environment, contrast beautifully with large stone halls, giant statues and crevices where the sun invades. This menacing beauty makes you want to explore everything, to get to know up close the mysteries of this abysmal temple.

Absolutely, if you love horror, The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes is a title to keep an eye on in the coming months. The mysteries of the first hour were enough to make me super excited for the rest of the game and to know the end of the adventure of these characters.

The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes is scheduled for release October, 22 for Playstation 4 and 5, Xbox family and PC.

So, what do you think of The Dark Pictures Anthology? Excited for House of Ashes? Don’t forget to comment!

See now our list of horror games: