Little Hope - The Dark Pictures Anthology | Review

Little Hope - The Dark Pictures Anthology | Review
It's almost Halloween and it's almost time for a new Supermassive Games horror story. Tomorrow, October 30, 2020, we will finally be able to explore the foggy streets of Little Hope, the second chapter of The Dark Pictures Anthology, coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A year ago we explored a ship lost in the middle of the ocean in the South Pacific in Man of Medan: a first chapter with lights and shadows, which could only be enjoyed after several games. Little Hope, however, tells a new story, in a new setting, with new characters and, unexpectedly, even with small changes that improve the quality of life. Ready to find out all the details in our review?

Little Hope: Choose your destiny

As always, we won't be doing any kind of spoilers in this review. Little Hope is after all a cinematic narrative adventure with a horror cut: all of its essence lies in the plot, in its discovery and in the choices we can make. However, let us mention what the adventure begins, with our group of characters (five, to be precise, as in Man of Medan) traveling on a bus. The sudden appearance of a little girl in the middle of the road causes the driver to skid, resulting in the vehicle overturning. The plot does not revolve solely around the present day, but immediately shows us a tragedy that occurred many years earlier, when five people, identical to our protagonists, were victims of a fire.

The town of Little Hope, now abandoned, is the fulcrum of a plot that will unfold over several time periods: will we be able to save our doppelg├Ąnger? Will we be able to save ourselves or is our fate long ago sealed?

Without adding anything else, we can immediately dispel a doubt that will be haunting those who have already played Man of Medan: no, this time Supermassive Games does not tell us clearly how the story will end from the very first minutes. The mystery will remain unsolved until the last acts, when we discover the truth: we are talking about a not particularly original ending, but well orchestrated and able to make us review the whole adventure from a different point of view. A single run is therefore more than enough to fully enjoy the Little Hope experience, unlike Man of Medan which left a little unsatisfied with the lack of a twist.

Obviously nobody forbids you from venture a second time (and a third, and a fourth ...) in Little Hope, indeed that's what the game wants. Like Man of Medan, depending on the choices made we will see different sequences: moreover, in this chapter it is not only the most practical choices that make the difference but also the characterization that is given to the character. Even a seemingly secondary dialogue can "block" a trait such as cynicism or aggression, and the fate of such a character will vary in the late stage of the game depending on which traits they have achieved.

Even more important, however, is the online co-op mode that allows two players to experience the entire plot simultaneously, dividing the characters (and their choices) from scene to scene. Some sequences are exclusive to this mode, so it is highly recommended to experience it. Finally, we also have "Evening at the cinema" which allows you to play in a local cooperative, assigning each player certain characters and passing the controller from hand to hand.

The Curator returns, who will comment on our actions between an Act and the next one.

A ghost town

Putting aside the plot details and modes, let's talk about the setting. While knowing that it also depends in part on personal taste, we believe that the city of Little Hope is a more interesting setting than the Man of Medan ship. The boat was mostly a set of rooms and corridors all very similar; not only was the variety limited, but there was no clear sense of progression, the more a casual wandering of the protagonists.

Little Hope instead proposes a more schematic advancement: the protagonists walk towards the city center and , voluntarily or not, they leave the main road to venture into abandoned buildings and places. Each area, while remaining consistent with the setting, has its own peculiarities and tells a new fragment of this town's past. The sense of progression is stronger, also thanks to a series of historical maps that indicate our position, the places we have already visited and those that we still miss.

The pace is also much better. Man of Medan had a long prologue and allowed little time on the ship, while this second game puts us right in the heart of the action. Little Hope, however, loses a bit in terms of horror: although there is a slight tension in moving in the fog, the main source of fright is a series of jump scares that are repeated in the same form (for non-criticizable narrative reasons, we specify) again and again. The consequence is that at some point you will get used to it.

A mysterious little girl ... victim or threat?

Old gameplay, new sensations

Controller in hand, Little Hope offers us the same structure as the previous chapter and all other similar games. Timed dialogue choices, QTE for the most action sequences and a minimum of exploration and interaction with the glittering elements that will reveal the background of the plot. If you know the genre, you will not have big surprises.

Supermassive Games has however worked on the details, introducing improvements and changes that may seem minor, but in reality raise the quality of life of the work. One of the most visible is the fact that the arrival of a QTE is signaled: we will have a generic idea of ​​where the icon will be positioned, this allows us to turn our gaze to the right point and guess which key we will have to press.

To make you understand: let's say that the preview places the icon in the upper-central area of ​​the screen, the triangle button will certainly appear shortly, ie the button at the top of the controller. In more difficult QTEs, however, the position is deliberately less clear: for example, it can be in the center of the screen, a little to the right, but also a little below, will it be a circle or a cross? It is an excellent way to make QTEs not difficult but at the same time not obvious.

Furthermore, when you approach an object it is indicated what kind of interaction we are facing: the actions that lead to the change of area are clearly marked, in this way we will not risk continuing unintentionally losing access to the clues we have not yet found.

More generally, the walk (both in terms of animations, controls and speed) has been improved . Combine that with better camera control and less abrupt transitions between dialogue and the result is a smoother and more satisfying experience.

There are some technical imperfections, at least as far as the PlayStation 4 Pro version is concerned, such as dialogue not dubbed, lip sync not perfect and some light source that appears and disappears. We also experienced a crash in the first game, but it didn't repeat the following times. Most of these problems are already known to Supermassive and will be solved with the D1 patch: you should therefore not run into any particular problems after downloading the update. The Italian dubbing is good, but after having done a second run in English we would like to recommend the original one: for plot reasons that we do not want to reveal, in some stages the accents and the way of speaking become important and the work of the Italian voice actors does not equalizes that of the actors; also, inevitably, the sinc lyp is better in the original language.

Overall, the game is visually on the same level as Mad of Medan. The animations of the faces are obviously the strong point of the game, but also environments and interactable objects are excellently made. Also remembering that we are talking about a budget title, there is little to criticize on the technical level.

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