Video games have been an excellent medium for heavily interactive horror and thriller experiences. Supermassive Games, who understood the appeal to fans, has embarked on a lengthy journey that will hopefully surpass many years, and nearly a dozen different titles. Published by Bandai Namco, The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope is the second installment in The Dark Pictures Anthology series after the much-loved Man of Medan, which launched August of last year.
The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer(s): Suppermassive Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Genre: Interactive drama, survival horror
Modes: Single player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Horror is Everywhere in Little Hope
This second installment in the Dark Pictures Anthology saga is set in Little Hope, a long abandoned town in New England. Like Man of Medan, the story is told by the Curator (voiced by Pip Torrens), but unlike the previous adventure, this story is incomplete. It is up to the player to help finish the story, ultimately landing one of three possible endings.
The game’s story centres around 4 college students Andrew, Angela, Taylor, and Daniel. Who, along with their professor, John, are stranded in Little Hope when the bus they are traveling on crashes. The bus driver goes missing and the group of five must travel around Little Hope looking for anything that might lead them home.
In the process of exploring the town, the group begins to see various haunting things, most notably seeing themselves in characters from the past. You see, Little Hope has a long history of witch hunting. Although the story is not as popular as the Salem Witch Trials, it does become very real for this group of friends. Too intrigued by what they say, the group attempts to better understand their connections to Little Hope. What has happened to the town over the past decades and what has caused an eerie evil to haunt the town.
The choices you make shape your adventure
Like in Man of Medan, a branching storyline is utilized here to encourage multiple playthroughs, albeit with different outcomes and endings. At various stages throughout the experience, you will need to select one of two dialogue options, or choose to stay silent. Your responses, or lack thereof, slowly begin shaping the characters you are playing as, fleshing out their personalities and their character traits.
It is worth noting that despite jumping between the past and present day, you only control the present day characters. There are limited controls for you to worry about here, which aids in keeping the focus on the story. You are able to move your characters around Little Hope, while aiming your flashlight around to lighten your path.
It’s about enjoying the story and less focus on the controls
Quick time events are littered throughout your journey and are a tad more forgiving than most titles that utilize this feature. Given that, this means you spend less time worrying about perfecting button presses and more time enjoying the story. Buttons appear on the screen in direct relation to where they are on the controller, which takes a lot of the guessing work out of things. You are prompted just slightly ahead of when the button needs to be pressed. This gives you a few extra seconds to “lock in” your selection.
Another key part of the games mechanics are attributing various traits to characters as they make decisions. The more you make the same decision, perhaps acting recklessly time and time again, the sooner you lock in that trait. Sadly, this mechanic isn’t really explained well and caused me more confusion that it probably should have.
Regardless, if you opt to play through multiple times, these little hiccups you encounter during your first play through are generally ironed out by the second or third. As a result, this makes the game increasingly more enjoyable the longer you play.
An Eerie Look and sound
Little Hope looks and sounds like a typical horror title. Everything seems to be covered in a haze, the streets you traverse are desolate, dark and the eeriness around you grows with each step you take. The visuals aren’t mindblowing but it’s better than most games in this genre. Like in Man of Medan, there is an attention to detail here that could easily be overlooked.
For the most part, character animation is smooth and lifelike. However, there are instances that the frame rate dips, which cause jitter and quirky animations briefly on the screen. While they don’t hamper gameplay, it’s something that you will definitely notice.
The voice acting, for the most part, is superb, with the various characters delivering lines of text with emotion. While certain points of the story do come as a let down, others are delivered so magnificently, that it more than makes up for the shortcomings.
More Fun With Friends
In reality, Little Hope is much more enjoyable if you access the game’s multiplayer options. With five playable characters, up to five friends can team up together to maneuver through Little Hope’s story.
My multiplayer review experience was limited to three players. However, making the jump from one to two players and two to three players, was an improvement each time. Five friends seems to be the ideal game play experience here. If playing locally, only one controller is required. It can be passed between players as each person makes their own dialogue selections.
The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope offers a decent horrifying experience at a value price
In my opinion, The Dark Pictures Anthology Little Hope‘s story doesn’t quite reach the level of Man of Medan. While the overall story is good, there are parts of it that will make you frustrated, rather than scared or intrigued. At best, it’s average. By and large, a story based game needs to have a fantastic story, as opposed to a good one.
A few gameplay tweaks have been made that make the overall experience more enjoyable. All things considered, at roughly half the cost of a traditional game, Little Hope does provide quite a bit of replayability for the price. If you enjoyed Man of Medan, then you will probably want to check Little Hope out.
+ Budget friendly price
+ Quick time events have a warning added to make it easier
+ Improved animations and walking speed over previous game
+ Great amount of replayability for the price
+ Fun to play with friends
– Story can be frustrating at times
– Some may the game length too short (4-5 hours)
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE DARK PICTURES ANTHOLOGY LITTLE HOPE
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 3.6/5 (72%)
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