Witchcraft. Doppelgangers. Cenobite-like satanic forces. Evil kids. Inescapable fog. Supermassive Games enjoys to integrate scary tropes and produce its own spin on them for one huge, suspenseful experience. It’s part of the studio’s identity and what made Until Dawn such a hit. I constantly anticipate seeing how the group is going to overturn my expectations. Little Hope is the 2nd standalone entry in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology, and though it is an action up from Man of Medan, it still fails as much as it is successful. Little Hope informs a remarkable tale, however dull gameplay, foreseeable scares, and efficiency problems hold it back from success.

This story is entirely self-contained, so you don’t require to play Man of Medan to comprehend it. This fresh break enables Supermassive to check out a brand-new setting, characters, and scary subgenres. For Little Hope, you’re presented to a New England town of the exact same name. It has a spooky previous linked to the 17th-century witch trials, together with a household from the 1970s that experienced disaster. When a bus bring a teacher and his group of university student crashes in Little Hope throughout a detour, you understand more is going on than satisfies the eye. Not just is a fog avoiding you from leaving, however your group likewise appears linked to the town’s dark history. The brand-new setting instantly pulled me in; not just is it weird from the start, however the intrigue that holds the secret together is effective.

That being stated, getting to the story’s finest minutes requires time and perseverance. Little Hope is a sluggish burn, indicating you have a great deal of downtime simply strolling down a foggy course with couple of ideas and dull discussion. You sometimes enter into the drains, a church, or a factory, however the winding roadway is the primary location. The journey would most likely be more pleasurable if I discovered the characters appealing, however it was difficult to appreciate any of them. The issue is they feel more like one-dimensional responses to a scenario instead of being distinct individuals with requirements and inspirations. It was hard to get a sense of any of them beyond the few traits listed about them when you start the game.

Though the present-day ensemble is uninteresting, their doppelgangers from the past are a different story. They pull you back into their time period to experience the crazy accusations and fear of witchcraft that ran rampant. I loved the tension of these moments, as you see paranoia manifest you begin to question who is to blame for how things unfold (which becomes a big choice you make). It all culminates in a fantastic twist that I won’t spoil, but it is cleverly done and made me approach my second playthrough in a different and exciting way. Changing your decisions on subsequent runs also leads to new scenes and situations, like whether characters proudly show off their relationship, or what form a creature takes. 

 

I wish the overall gameplay of Little Hope provided the same excitement. Despite having some of the best creature design Supermassive has ever done, Little Hope still can’t capitalize on its terrors. The game tries to unnerve you, attempting its share of jump scares, but they are too predictable and over-the-top to work. Addressing complaints from Man of Medan, Supermassive made some improvements with better indicators for when QTEs are coming, and you can now press a button to walk faster through environments. However, item selection is still finicky, and I had to contend with technical issues like freezes and glitches, especially in co-op.

Speaking of co-op, I had a much better experience playing by myself than I did with someone else – the opposite of my experience with Man of Medan. The story lends itself better to solo play, as co-op allows only certain players to see specific scenes, which makes it difficult to piece together the whole story. Also, if your co-op buddy finishes up their area first when you’re split up, the story moves ahead without giving you time to inspect everything. I experienced crashes, dialogue cutting out, and disconnects, despite both my co-op buddy and I having solid connections. I hope this aspect of the game gets improved after launch, because it gets in the way of following and appreciating the narrative.  

Little Hope is inconsistent, like a witch-in-training still learning how to fully weave a spell. It sets up its story well and keeps you guessing, but the execution is lacking. It requirements more variety and interesting things for your characters to do. The action comes too late, and by then, you’re already nodding off. However, seeing the fantastic ending makes putting up with those boring minutes a bit more manageable.