Supermassive Games present the next story in their The Dark Pictures Anthology following-on from Man of Medan which released in August 2019. Welcome to the rather foggy, and not so deserted Little Hope where five new characters come together to survive some rather strange happenings. Is this interactive story worth your time though? Take a look at our The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope review for the full picture.
Without giving away too many story specific details, the game starts with a rather dubious house-fire, killing an entire family. This is the basis of the story as the characters reprise roles as students and a professor several years later, and again as characters from the 1600s. Confused yet? Well, there’s quite a bit of crossover, to the point the main cast see their period doppelgangers for some hefty bouts of confusion. In fact, the relevance to some old witch trails seems somewhat an unusual layer to the story. However, as you take control of each character you’ll begin to understand their torment and why they are being chased by some rather spooking beings. It’s a bit of a mish-mash of events which sadly makes little sense and takes quite a bit of time to really find its feet.
The story pacing might be off-putting for some players as it takes several hours of play to really ramp-up any interesting actions, and the point where you might start feeling something for the characters. That said, there’s some really dodgy script-writing at times and totally illogical actions which will have players looking-on in disgust. It’s not only following typical horror tropes, but gunning for some new ones along the way. Player input remains the same as Man of Medan, that means dialogue choices to create affiliations with other characters, QTE moments, and some mild investigations as you move characters around locations in real-time. It works, but this is full-on interactive movie territory.
As mentioned, you’ll get plentiful moments where as a group you move together, but separate all too-easily. Perhaps they should have grabbed the chains from one of the pursuing creatures and tied themselves to it. There’s also no real sense of loss either when one person gets taken out of the equation. Losing characters seems to be inevitable which is another of the game’s oddities.
The story twists and turns kind of make some sort of sense at the game’s concluding chapter, and once the credits roll you contemplate the last 5 hours or so and what it all meant. Suffice to say, the ending is a little disappointing to say-the-least. There’s certainly potential here for something far-greater, but never fully realised unfortunately.
Visually, Little Hope looks the business, with some neat spooky locations and interesting but life-like realisations of the characters. Special note to most recognizable character from the roster, English actor – Will Poulter. Some facial animations look a bit too-exaggerated at times though, especially from the Professor character. Still, it’s all good and movie like. Audio is also very good with solid performances all round. It’s just the script lets things down considerably at times. The game runs very well and in some cases doesn’t need to ramp-up to 4K and looks just as good at lower resolutions. There’s some options to tinker with but for the most part this should run well on most systems.
The game beckons players to replay again when completed for a first time, but once you witness the final revelation, it seems pointless to do so. Therefore, expect 5-7 hours of gameplay for a first play or a little less if you speed run through it. There are collectibles and of course alternate choices to make on subsequent plays, alongside the option to play co-op for a different spin. So increase the play hours considerably if these are compelling enough to replay.
It’s hard to say whether this game is better than Man of Medan, but in terms of story and ending Little Hope feels like a step-backwards. The characters were also not as interesting, despite having some cool moments. Where Little Hope excels is with its varied spooky locations which lend themselves far better to the horror experience than the gloomy and often confined ship interior of the previous game. The idea of pursuit by grotesque creatures is exemplified here and works well as a basis for jump-scares and sheer terror. That said, it’s more of the same and if you did enjoy the previous game, then you’ll most likely enjoy this as well even if in some ways it’s not as good. If interactive movies aren’t really your thing, then this won’t change your mind unfortunately. Maybe, when all four games are available and you can dive-in for a marathon session will this offer the best way to experience this series. Until then, the choice is yours, and it’s fairly cheap as well so not so damaging on your wallet considering how much potential play time there is here.
Score 7/10 – Review code supplied by publisher.