Witchcraft. Doppelganger. Cenobite-like demons. Bad kids. Inevitable fog. Supermassive Games loves to combine horror tropes and create them for one big, tingling adventure. It’s part of the studio’s identity and what made Until Dawn such a hit. I always look forward to seeing how the team will undermine my expectations. Little Hope is the second standalone entry in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology, and while it’s an advance on Man of Medan, it’s still stalling as much as it gets. Little Hope tells a fascinating story, but the lackluster gameplay, predictable fears, and performance issues keep it from the size.
This story is entirely on its own, so you don’t have to play Man of Medan to understand it. This new hiatus allows Supermassive to explore new environments, characters, and horror subgenres. For Little Hope, you will be introduced to a New England town of the same name. It has an eerie past associated with the 17th century witch trials along with a 1970s family who experienced tragedy. When a bus with a professor and his group of students crashes during a detour in Little Hope, you realize that there is more going on than you think. Not only does a fog prevent you from leaving, but your group also seems connected to the city’s dark history. The new attitude immediately attracted me; Not only is it scary to begin with, but the intrigue that holds the secret together is powerful.
That being said, it takes time and patience to get to the best moments in history. Little Hope burns slowly, which means you’ll have a lot of downtime if you just walk down a foggy trail with few clues and boring dialogues. You will occasionally go down the sewer, church, or factory, but the winding road is the main destination. The trip would probably be more enjoyable if I found the characters fascinating, but they were difficult to take care of. The problem is, they feel like one-dimensional responses to a situation rather than unique people with needs and motivations. It was difficult to get any idea of them beyond the few characteristics listed about them at the beginning of the game.
Although today’s ensemble is uninteresting, their double from the past is a different story. They pull you back in time to experience the insane allegations and fear of witchcraft that were rampant. I loved the tension of those moments. As you see paranoia manifest, you start to wonder who is responsible for how things develop (which becomes a big decision you make). It all culminates in a fantastic twist that I’m not going to spoil, but it’s done wisely and has got me to approach my second run in a different and exciting way. Changing your decisions in subsequent runs also leads to new scenes and situations, e.g. B. whether characters proudly show their relationship or what shape a creature takes.
I wish the entire gameplay of Little Hope was just as exciting. Despite the best creature design Supermassive ever made, Little Hope still can’t take advantage of its horrors. The game tries to annoy you and tries to increase its jump anxiety levels, but they’re too predictable and over the top to work. Supermassive addressed complaints from Man of Medan and improved some with better indicators of when QTEs are coming. You can now push a button to move through environments faster Item selection is still difficult, however, and I had to deal with technical issues like freezing and glitching, especially in co-op.
Speaking of co-op, I had a much better experience playing solo than with someone else – the opposite of my experience with Man of Medan. The story is better suited to solo play, as only certain players can see certain scenes in co-op, making it difficult to put the whole story together. If your co-op friend finishes his division first, the story continues without you having time to inspect everything. I had crashes, lost dialogs and dropped connections, even though both my co-op friend and I had permanent connections. Hopefully this aspect of the game will be improved upon once it launches as it gets in the way of tracking and appreciation of the narrative.
Little Hope is inconsistent, like a training witch learning how to fully weave a spell. It sets up its story well and leaves you guessing, but execution is lacking. It takes more variety and interesting things for your characters. The action is too late and by then you’ll be nodding off. However, seeing the fantastic ending makes it more bearable to endure those boring moments.