The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes Review - Horror Nuances Combination of Action and Mystery

Fans of horror and streamer games are certainly no stranger to The Dark Pictures or horror games like Until Dawn, of course. Success works on Man of Medan and Little Hope, Bandai Namco and Supermassive Games released the third series of the Dark Pictures Anthology titled House of Ashes. This game was launched for Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4, PS5, and PC on October 22, 2021.

the dark pıctures anthology

Supermassive Games are indeed famous for presenting famous actors and actresses in the spotlight in every game. If previously used Will Poulter at Little Hope as Andrew, Hayden Panettiere (who also filled the crazy of Kingdom Hearts and the famous American actress) as Sam at Until Dawn, now they recruited high school musical stars, namely Ashley Tisdale as Rachel King at House of ashes. What is the role of Tisdale at the House of Ashes?

This time, ExGamesplay gets the opportunity to play while reviewing more complete supermassive newest games. Curious? Directly: Read the House of Ashes from Us Here.

Stuck in mysterious temples

If the Man of Medan is set in a haunted boat that stores dark history, Little Hope who tells the death of the family and its relation to the Witch Court, the House of Ashes took the battle settings between Iraq and America in 2003. Little Hope, the House of Ashes also uses events Real and myths and history, which have a supernatural element.

The story begins with life in an ancient Mesopotamia city in 2231 BC, namely Akkad. This region became damned according to the story inspired by the "The Curse of Agade", after their king, Naram-Sin took power by being a god and looting the head of the God of Enlil. The story of the House of Ashes itself is a little deviant from the myth of Akkadia. The temple built caused a greater threat, with the emergence of a terrible underground creature.

Moving to 2003, where the Marines were assigned to look for biological weapons belonging to Saddam Hussein in the Zagros Mountains. Under the leadership of Eric King with his wife, Rachel King assigned two Marines, Jason Kolcheck and Nick Kay in the investigation of the weapon. When it was targeted, they were suddenly mired and stuck in the ruins of the Sumerian temple and were haunted by a terrible underground creature. This is where the real adventure begins.

Gameplay that is not much different

Mechanically, the House of Ashes is not much different from its predecessor games by supermassive games. Most of the developer games carry a strong narrative and interactive genre through the QTE mechanism. 

QTE or the extension of Quick Time Event is the main key to the gameplay at the House of Ashes such as Little Hope, Man of Medan, and Until Dawn. There are various intense QTE moments and affect every aspect of their character and fate. Here, players are required to respond quickly to every action. But players don't need to worry or panic when QTE will appear. The player will be notified before when QTE appears to the type of upcoming QTE.

This QTE does not only determine the fate of the character, but it has an impact on the storyline. Many choices will face players when talking to other characters in several scenes. However, every choice is taken certainly has its consequences. Some affect the story in the future or even result in the direct death of a character.

However, the QTE that is present here will always be stressful and all are not easily guessed with consequences. No wonder if there are often some players or streamers who play the Supermassive Games games to find out the storyline or other ending.

the dark pictures anthology house of ashes release date

Determination of character characteristics is present back here, which is certainly based on the player's answer choice. Starting from convinced, fearful, brave, responsible, trust, and many more. This answer will determine whether characters can work together, cause disputes, and so on. Not only faced with two choices, but players can also choose not to answer at all about certain situations. Even choosing "Say Nothing" also impacts the end of the story of course.

Besides QTE dialogue, players will also be faced with other interactive types. For example when characters must hide and do not speak so as not to be discovered by other characters and terrible creatures. That's where the player must press a few buttons like playing the Rhythm game to keep silent or sneaking depending on what situation is being faced. Just like a choice of dialogue, if the player is caught or managed to silence also affects the end of the story.

In addition, there is also a QTE that allows players to react faster when they are in very intense moments. Somehow was chased by a terrible creature or saved someone. The player is required to press or hold the button that appears at the moment. It is always a moment of intense interaction and we like it in every supermassive horror game. Because this is the QTE that makes the game like House of Ashes feel tense and more alive.

Like in the Dark Pictures games, the co-op mode is back again at the House of Ashes. This game provides an opportunity for players to choose which mode is desired. Can be played in single-player or solo, and can also be local and online co-op. For difficulty level, House of Ashes presents three types, namely forgiving (easy), challenging (medium), and lethal (hard).

Developing character and tense jumpscare

In House of Ashes, five characters can be played. Each character is told to jump from one scene to another scene. Among them is Rachel (starring the actress of High School Musical, namely Ashley Tisdale), Eric who is the leader of Rachel's group and husband, Jason and Nick who is a Marine, and Salim. Their task is almost the same, which is survival and saving each other from the horror experience at the underground temple.

The construction of our character admits is still the weakest point along with the Dark Pictures Anthology, including the House of Ashes. Such a moment of Eric and Rachel are separated for more than a year, hoping to improve relationships.

Supermassive should be able to build more characters than that, so it doesn't look like a drama that is too stiff. Players can also guess what happens if one of the Iraqi soldiers meets Marines. But back again, it depends on the choice of players, of course. But behind it all, Salim became a favorite character by many players.

Salim is one of the Iraqi soldiers who can be played at the House of Ashes. He was reluctant and hard as Lieutenant Iraqi Ground Forces. However, the character is described in the House of Ashes. Supermassive works well in humanizing Salim, even though he is on the opposite side of America. Salim's interaction with other characters also produces good moments and is certainly ready to make players keep it until the end of the story.

Besides character, we also appreciate how supermassive always provide attractive surprises throughout the game. The Jumpscare element offered does not seem cheap and appears for certain reasons.

They have also worked well in building tensions along the best moment. Starting from taking a camera point of view, especially when in a narrow tunnel, which is ready to add fear to the players.

Graphic quality has increased

There is one thing that distinguishes the house of ashes from previous games is the camera settings. Exploration feels more fun because now players can set a camera point of view up to 360 degrees as desired. It seems that supermassive changes this based on feedback from several players against the Dark Pictures series. In addition, players can also turn on the flashlight along the game to sweep the whole darkness of the place.

man of medan house of ashes

While in terms of graphics, the Dark Pictures series never disappoints by displaying realistic and stunning visuals. However, the House of Ashes was seen presenting better and more seamless graphics compared to the previous generation.

The realistic level of graphics in the game experienced an increase and the movement of objects and characters also improved. With improvements such as graphics, features, animations, we hope the anthology of The Dark Pictures does not stop in this series and developers can continue the development of subsequent titles in this anthology.


The Dark Pictures: House of Ashes became one of the series of the anthology, which certainly made us back to the result of the hard work of supermassive games. This series is like its predecessor, which does not disappoint us in terms of the story. You could say we are satisfied with the answer choices of each character and linkage from the combination of the damned Akkad mythical with the real world.

The House of Ashes reminds us of Until Dawn or Alien vs Predator films compared to the previous two games, because here players are more confronted with creatures with the form of monsters. Remember like Wendigo at Until Dawn, right?

Although the House of Ashes presents an element of horror and tense atmosphere, for us this series is not too thick with horror nuances such as Man of Medan and Little Hope. Even with the shooting scene based on QTE, making us think that the House of Ashes is more suitable to be called a game with a combination of action and mystery.

What's more, the supermassive also managed to bring updates in this game based on the results of the feedback from the previous series. Just say it is removed Fixed Camera and replaced with a camera angle that can be rotated according to the wishes of the player.

In addition, graphics are also further enhanced to seem realistic with neater polishing. But it is a bit unfortunate if the PS5 version does not present Adaptive Trigger and Haptic Feedback, which can improve the playing experience to feel more immersive.