Supermassive Games has been delivering horror narratives since the release of Until Dawn in 2015. The developer has used the lessons learned from that title to create The Dark Pictures Anthology series.
Aside from the choose-your-own-narrative horror systems, one mainstay of the series has been a fixed camera angle. As players navigate the world, they have slight control over the camera, but for the most part, it’s fixed to corners so players can see everything the developer needs them to see.
When it comes to the newest entry, House of Ashes, players will have full control over the camera for the first time. This is needed to navigate the dark caverns and investigate areas easier. Further, players can control their flashlights to see even more of this dark world.
This new way of traversal may take some getting used to fans of the series, but I think it shows a natural evolution of the developer’s abilities. This entry will also include a curator’s cut which gives players access to the point of view of a different character. This option allows for 2 players to navigate and see new events as well.
For added accessibility, the difficulty can be adjusted to fix the QTEs and allows players to simply get through these moments of the game with ease. The choices are still present and will test the player on morals and survivability. Not every character won’t be well-liked as they may prove beneficial during some situations. Players must work with the other survivors to make it out, but it seems like the game can be completed with only one last person alive.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is set in Iraq, 2003. Players are introduced to a CIA operative named Rachel King, played by Ashley Tisdel, who prepares for a raid on an underground chemical weapons facility in the Zagros Mountains. Upon arrival, the crew is ambushed by an enemy patrol led by Sergeant Salim Othman. As the fight breaks out, an earthquake opens sinkholes, and both sides are sent underground and trap.
The lore runs deep in this title as players will learn about the path of Naram-sim, who angered the gods and was cursed. The temple was built to free him from the curse, but it didn’t work, and the temple was buried. When it comes to the monsters, the developers have taken inspiration from movies such as Alien, Predator, and Decent to give the player a feeling like they’re always being watched.
The new systems introduced in this title have us interested in seeing just how horrific this game can be.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes is releasing in 2021 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC-via Steam.
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