House of Ashes has a lot of scary moments, including some really scary plot holes.
The Dark Pictures Anthology is always a fun series to watch come back during the spooky season or anytime. The video game world always needs a good scary game to play alone or with friends. House of Ashes might be the scariest entry since things started in 2019.
As fun as it is to be spooked by the nightmares that await you in this game, there is something more unsettling: the plot holes. There are several things that don’t make sense in House of Ashes for one reason or another. To fully discuss the game in all its ramifications, there will be spoilers.
Why did the Akkad vampires attack?
Were the vampires hiding under the city of Akkad the entire time? It could be assumed that these vampires only come out at night or when eclipses occur. However, it is strange that they suddenly appear during the battle between the two empires.
This could be a coincidence or maybe some of the invading soldiers are vampires. Later in the story it is shown that vampires can go back and forth between demonic and human forms, as recorded by Mr. Hodgson. There are theories, but no direct answers.
Inconsistency of foreign language
Continuing with the Akkad theme, why is the dialogue here expressed in English? The reason should be simply because this is a mostly English dubbed game. However, there is an inconsistency in the game that makes things seem pointless.
When players take over Salim, he expresses himself in his native language and you will need to have subtitles enabled to understand him and his people. This detail can be appreciated for its authenticity. So why then did the ancient Sumerians speak English?
Nick doesn’t defend Salim?
The most logical choice for Nick to make when he meets Salim is to become his partner in killing the vampire. Once the battle is won, Nick hears his comrades coming. Players can choose whether they want Salim to stay put or hide. The choice of Salim to stand his ground seems to indicate to the players that Nick will explain the situation.
Actually, that is not the case if this option is chosen. When Jason sees Salim, he doesn’t give him a chance and Nick remains silent for most of this conflict. It seems unnatural for him not to immediately step in and explain the situation. They just killed a vampire for crying out loud.
Rachel and Eric don’t shoot Dar
There is a scene at the beginning of the ruins where Dar starts shooting and chasing Nick and Rachel. Finally, they hide in the perfect spot to throw a stone to distract Dar.
Once the stone hits, Dar immediately turns his back on them and shoots madly in the other direction. Nick and Rachel are soldiers trained with weapons. At that time, why didn’t they sneak up and kill Dar? Running seems like an odd choice right now.
How does Rachel survive her downfall?
There is another scene right after meeting Dar that seems illogical. No matter what you decide to do, Rachel will fall. There is a chance that Dar could shoot Nick while he’s hanging, but whether Nick cuts the rope or not, Rachel will survive.
This just doesn’t seem possible. She falls into a giant abyss and her only cushion is a shallow pool of blood. It doesn’t even appear hurt or upset from the fall. It’s like nothing happened, which could be more unreal than space vampires.
That preservative chemical
What exactly is this preservative chemical made of? It seems like pure magic to keep the ancient king or at least half of his body alive. Was this chemical created by aliens or did this substance come from parasites?
The answer to that is never answered in the game. It looks like a deus ex machina-like solution for players to find in case one of the characters, like Rachel, gets infected. Much of the science in the game is not explained, but this supernatural substance is perhaps the hardest thing to understand.
Randolph Hodgson’s Diary
One of the collectibles you’ll find in the game is pages torn from Randolph Hodgson’s diary. Finally, towards the end of House of Ashes, you will find his journal on the alien ship. The diary has all of its pages ripped out, which then explains why the characters keep finding them.
It was obvious before, but finding the book itself was a bit of a closing. However, who did this? Why would someone rip these journal entries just to leave them strategically around the game? It is very convenient for those who play House of Ashes, but it does not add up from a logical point of view in the story.
How do they all escape?
It doesn’t matter who reaches the end of the ruins, it doesn’t matter. The story will end with the remaining survivors climbing up the giant hand from the beginning of the ruins. One of the characters will exclaim that they see a way out. They throw a rope up and then everything turns white. This fading very obviously hides the fact that there is no way the rope can be anchored to anything to allow people to climb.
Remember that this entire area is full of sinkholes. Wouldn’t explosions below cause more landslides above? It would have made more sense if a helicopter came to the end to pull ropes. In fact, the helicopters arrive eventually, but after one more fight. This part that lasts until the final credit leaves a lot of questions on the table.