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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope

Posted by GG Goblin On November - 11 - 2020

One of the coolest characters in gaming, the Curator, returns to have another stab at scaring us.

 
Halloween may have come and gone, but there is always time from a good scare. Supermassive’s The Dark Pictures Anthology recently dropped its second entry in the series, Little Hope, ready for the Halloween season of scares, but as with the previous title, Man of Medan, Little Hope is the gift that keeps on giving, with plenty of reasons to head back into the mysterious town and try to work out what the hell is going on.

 


 
While both games in the series have their secrets and surprises, Man of Medan was a much more straight forward ghost ship tale. Little Hope has an awful lot going on, and it may take several play throughs to actually get a handle on the goings on. There’s witch trials, ghosts, time travel and past lives, and that is just to start with. It may seem like a bit of a hodge podge of ideas, but the way the story slowly reveals itself is enough to capture the players interest, especially in the opening moments.

 
The game starts with a coach crash. However, before the player has the chance to get to grips with what just happened, they are cast to a different time and a family that is obviously having issues, mostly revolving around the young girl who seems to have an imaginary friend. Look, this is the very start of the game, but it was so enjoyable that I don’t want to spoil anything here. Let’s just say it is spectacular. Anyway, the action then pretty much jumps back to the coach crash. A professor and his four students are all trying to gather themselves after the crash, but the coach driver is strangely missing. Also, a heavy fog seems to have dropped that makes it impossible to head anywhere other than towards the town of Little Hope. So off the group head, into Little Hope, looking for help, answers and perhaps the missing coach driver.

 


 
Little Hope does a better job than the previous game when it comes to the characters. The cast is much more likeable, which helps when the player may be responsible for keeping them alive. The Professor is the figure of power, or at least he wants to be, while Taylor constantly opposes being told what to do, and often pulls the jock-like Daniel into her rebellions. Older student Angela is fairly abrupt, and finally there is Andrew, played by Will Poulter, who seems to have much of the focus. Also, Andrew happens to have suffered some form of memory loss in the crash, and, hang on, didn’t we see him in the troubled family section? The plot thickens.

 
The characters are mostly well written and, in Dark Pictures style, players will have a number of dialogue choices that they have to make. This pushes both the character making the choice in different directions, and also alter the relationships between the characters. This can lead to consequences further down the line and can push the story in one way or another. The conversations don’t always have a consequence, but it is difficult to tell which are important when playing. While they mostly slot into the direction of the game quite well, there are occasions where the player will make a choice and the reaction will feel opposed to how that character was feeling before, only for them to jump back to their original position straight after, which does break the immersion somewhat.

 
Supermassive certainly set the scene for scares in Little Hope. Much of the game will involve wandering around, usually along foggy roads, in dark forests or creepy derelict buildings, and trying to find the clues required to move the game forward. There is a slight pacing issue at times, with massive dumps of lore and information followed by stretches of slower exploration. While the game doesn’t really hit the mark of being properly scary, there are plenty of jump scares, a fair amount of gore, and some of those excellent “something moving in the corner of the eye” moments that will keep the player on the edge of their seat. QTE’s make another appearance here, but seem to be much easier than in the previous game and shouldn’t result in any frustrating game overs.

 


 
Pip Torrens returns as the enigmatic Curator. This well dressed individual will pop up in-between chapters of the game to comment on how well the player is doing, or not as the case may be. There is an easy style to the Curator that makes him instantly likeable yet mysterious enough to keep the player guessing about his overall role in The Dark Pictures Anthology, something which has not yet been revealed.

 
Little Hope is perfectly playable alone, but also comes with multiplayer options. Perhaps the most interesting way to experience the game with another is through the online multiplayer in which each player will take a different character and see the story from a difrferent point of view. However, if it is fun that the player is after, gather some friends on the couch for controller swapping action that will have players laughing and shouting in a proper party atmosphere.

 
The big star of Little Hope though, is the visuals. The game is incredible to look at, almost photorealistic at times, and this goes a long way to building that atmosphere of scares. Great choice of camera angle and lighting give the game a cinematic feel throughout. With the multiple different endings, choices to be made, and ample collectibles, there is plenty of reason to come back to the game over and over again, revealing yet more of the story and just trying to keep everyone alive.

 


 
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope plays in a much wider area than the first game in the series, and as such has more downtime. However, Little Hope still manages to outdo the first game in almost every other aspect. Anyone looking for a narrative horror game, no matter the time of year, should jump into Little Hope. The future of Supermassive Games’ The Dark Pictures Anthology is bright, while also being dark and creepy.

 

 ★★★★★★★★½☆ 



 

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