Jav reviews House Of Ashes – Spoilers, big fat SPOILERS
I was a huge fan of Until Dawn and was unfortunately a bit disappointed by Man of Medan, I think it’s really because I kept taking ages to complete it and I didn’t get a great ending…anyway I didn’t then play Little Hope until this weekend just before playing house of ashes, making a bit of a horror weekend out of it. Let me tell it was damn awesome, They’re both very different games with Little Hope being way more horror focused and House Of ashes being more action horror……I recommend playing both if you haven’t. Anyways here’s my review/thoughts on House Of Ashes. Please beware there are lots of spoilers ahead because this game is impossible to really talk about without spoiling it. If you’re here for my score only…..I give it a 9! Read on to find out why. Obviously this is just what happened to me and the whole point in these games is that they’re all different but I really did enjoy the storyline and ending I got.
!…….Final Spoiler Warning……!
If you’re interested in these games you’ve probably seen the trailers for this game, it’s a kind of descent-esque story set in Iraq. Where our team of unaware folks get sent underground into mayhem! The characters are 4 American soldiers and 1 Iraqi soldier, (who deserves his own game). Straight away it felt different because you have 1 character on the other side of the war. After an intro scene set way in the past which teases the monsters you then play as the various new characters as we’re introduced to them all, obvs. Immediately this has a hugely different vibe to the previous entries in this series (and I do include Until Dawn) as you’re discussing invading Saddam’s weapons silo! Shortly into the game you’re involved in a fire fight and are very early on given the choice to kill a character with another – I chose not to btw – and obviously things go tits up, a big hole emerges and everyone falls into a big pit of doom, definitely not a weapons silo.
What’s really quite different is that the characters spend fuck all time together. As soon as you’re put down they’re split up into 3 groups, I had an ex(ish) husband and wife, 2 badass jarhead soldiers (HOO-RAH) and the men of all men, Salim.What’s quote funny is there main ‘star’ in this one, who is Rachel played by Ashley Tisdale, really doesn’t seem that significant. So anyways you’re all split up in a big scary pit trying to work out WTF is going on. VERY shortly after being put down Jason and Nick (the jarheads) have to fight off some ‘creatures’, queue some fast paced QTEs and quick shots as to not give the creatures away too much. Cut back to Salim who gets separated from his captain and really quickly realises that the creatures are in fact vampires, he of course knows you need to stake them in the heart and soon equips himself with a massive spiked pole. Salim from now is the man of the hour killing everything in site, unfortunately he’s such a bad ass he also killed Nick (one half of the couple in trouble) in our play through….first character lost.
From here on out there’s loads of tense action, investigations into how these vampires came to be, and lots of relationship building between Salim and the americans – which was obviously a challenge given that he killed Nick! Anyways out story ended up with Ashley Tisdale getting bitten and turned, and of course killed by Salim, and the 2 jar heads and Salim having an all out war with the vampire hoard. This all comes to a head in a very, very awesome ‘just before dawn’ scene of them taking down countless vampires just outside of the hole in a little hovel. It’s then all tied up telling you what happened to them all depending on the choices you make! There are a few more surprises in store which I won’t spoil for you any more, but I really enjoyed the story for this one, and the gameplay.
I’ve spoken a lot about the story here because that’s ultimately what these games are all about. This story is exceptionally different to the other 3 as I’ve said as they just went balls to the wall action horror, and pulled it off exceptionally well. I actually did a back to back play through of Little Hope and then House of Ashes with Mike, so the differences were very easy to notice. LH is really classically scary where it messes with your mind and creeps you out with jump scares, whereas House Of Ashes is more Dog Soldiers…. So really if you prefer the creepy style of the others it might not be for you, but I really can’t let you miss this one! As always the awesome Curator is on hand to taunt/guide you through this story and drop tiny hints at who he might be and what may happen (my guess is he’s death or a soul collector), I really do think he’s one the coolest characters in gaming!
The other thing I really want to point out is just how good this game looks, I found in previous game the mouths could sometimes look a bit odd but they’ve definitely nailed the facial animations in HOA and just in general the textures and backgrounds look sharp as fuck, and really help with the immersion. Also the vampire design is really creepy and definitely makes you want to avoid them! No twinkly vampires here.
As you can probably tell I fucking loved this game, and it’s probably the only story choice game I’ve played that I wanted to play again immediately after. Do not miss this game, it’s an absolute triumph, and I am so excited to see what they do next. I’ve already told you my score but here it is again: