Ye of little faith in Little Hope.
As much as I enjoy horror games, they always seem to fall short when it comes to the narrative. Developers tend to nail the fear factor of these games flawlessly, but miss out on the part that matters the most in an engaging game.
However, in 2015 Supermassive Games gave us an incredible horror game called Until Dawn, that blew my expectations away. So when I got to review The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope, a game created by the very same developers that brought us Until Dawn, I was so ready to be spooked!
So without ado, let’s dive right in and see what it’s all about!
What is The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope?
Like it’s predecessor, Man of Medan of Dark Pictures Anthology, Little Hope is also an interactive horror survival drama game that takes form based on the choices you make. Developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, this the second game of eight planned chapters of the series.
Just like any horror game, Little Hope is riddled with twists and jump scares that forces you to play as though real lives are on the stake. Every choice made or not made could change the story drastically, which makes replayability not an option but a must if you want to uncover everything.
Why fix something that’s not broken?
Supermassive Games have taken that lesson to heart by bringing over their tried and true method of gameplay mechanics from Man of Medan to Little Hope, and I have no complaints about it because it works in favour to what the game is.
Characters, Choices and Death.
As I mentioned earlier, in Little Hope, the choices you make can have a massive impact throughout the game, but you won’t have a lot of time to decide nor will you know of the outcome until it’s too late. Given how anxious you’ll be throughout the game, it’s probably the most intriguing components in the game because some quick-time events can be deadly if you screw it up.
Players will take control of five different characters at different intervals, and each decision made can develop their personalities and relationship with others. And working to unlocking these locked personalities, even though some of it is grim, is the key to keeping these characters alive. So if you decide to play nice with every person as I did, then get ready for a lot of deaths because you should be playing to survive.
Apart from that, the game also emphasises heavily on exploration. By exploring, you can uncover secrets that shed more light on the events happening around and even hidden visions that reveal how certain characters will die. Thus, giving you a heads up on how to avoid it and keep them alive but remember, you can’t always save them all.
If you’re not up to playing a horror game by yourself, then you won’t have to since Little Hope will also feature the multiplayer modes that will allow you to play in co-op or four-player instance. However, I’d suggest doing a solo run first before any multiplayer adventure to experience the game with your decisions alone.
In Man of Medan, the developers introduced a new component of storytelling called Curator Mode that essentially lets you the game from the perspective of another character thus allowing you to see what they were doing during those scenes.
As compelling as this feature was, it got released for free after a couple of months for those who didn’t pre-order, but thankfully we won’t have to wait that long with Little Hope! The Curator Mode will be available as soon as you complete the game so you can replay the game as many times as you want in any way you want.
Creepy visuals of Little Hope.
As you dive you into the world of Little Hope, you might find that things are all too familiar. A crash that leaves the characters stranded in an abandoned town, a fog that doesn’t let anyone leave town, and that one human walking around like nothing is happening; it all just screams Silent Hill.
Despite that, I have no qualms about it because it works into building how frightening the whole situation is for the characters and as well as the players. The details of the environments and sound effects help to make Little Hope a terrifying place to be in the night and with the added jumpscares that comes with no warnings makes the whole experience enjoyable. Just don’t play it in the middle of the night and alone, trust me.
When it came to the characters, the same level of intricate detail was supplied hence making them feel so much more than generated pixels. However, one thing that stood out was that the emotions that these characters were feeling weren’t properly reflected on their faces. The lack of facial expressions for the main characters made the whole venture seem unrealistic at times.
The problem of Little Hope’s storyline.
As someone who plays games mostly for the marvellous storytelling aspect, Little Hope got me hooked right off the bat.
The game starts with a jittery bus driver who is driving a group of passengers to an undisclosed location. Then a collision up on the main road forces them to take a detour into Little Hope where they are met with their very own accident after a small girl appears out of nowhere, propelling the driver to make a sharp turn.
The game then jumps years back to a small struggling family where we get introduced to the five main characters and the young girl who had initially appeared before the bus earlier on and supposedly possessed by an entity. In a domino effect of events, the entire house goes up in flames killing everyone in a very distinct way except for one guy, who assumes that it is his fault. However, in the end, he runs into the house as well, presumably killing himself. Great start, I know!
Little Hope jumps forward back to the bus crash with the bus driver missing. We are then reintroduced to the five main characters, who were the passengers on the bus, but under new names and the same age as though they were reincarnated. As things progress in the game, these individuals start to come in contact with their doubles from a different period, specifically the era of witch trials.
In these encounters, it is then revealed that their counterparts are falsely accused of witchcraft and condemned to deaths by none other than the small girl. Little Hope builds the story structure in a way that these five characters are always killed in every era by this young girl, which becomes very intriguing.
As you get closer and closer to the big reveal, the suspense is so incredible that you’re at the edge of your seat! However, in the end, the storytelling makes the most horrifying absurdity of it all by declaring that it was all a hallucination. The entire game was just in the mind of the bus driver who turns out to be the boy who ran into the fire from the beginning and survived instead. The guilt of his family’s death had broken him mentally.
I don’t hate the ending, but it feels like it was forced to have a twist at the end. It shows how realistic mental illness can be but creates too many plots in the stories as well. So was the girl haunted in the house that went up in flames or was it the Curator himself pulling strings? So many unanswered questions, despite being a fun ride.
The Bottom Line.
We have reached the end of the review, and it’s time to decide if The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is worth your time. Honestly, as much as I feel disappointed by the ending of the game, the journey of it is wonderful.
If you can forgo the ending, the game becomes an instant classic with jumpscares and incredible storytelling that makes you never want to stop until it’s done. However, if you’re a fan of Man of Medan, then the game feels like a monumental buildup to something else altogether.
The Curator seems to be the centre of everything that’s happening. And I’m very sure that the little girl who was shown as being possessed in the house fire was manipulated by the Curator. We will have to wait for the other games to come out to solve this mystery.
Great storytelling combined with an incredible horror element that makes the journey all the more worth but the ending leaves much to be desired.
- Great visuals.
- Gameplay is easy and familiar.
- Horror element is on point.
- Incredible storytelling.
- Ending is disappointing.
- Facial expressions are not great.