Little Hope review

little hope review

little hope review


need to know

What is it? The second part of the horror anthology, this time set in a small town with a history of witchcraft
expect to pay £25/$30
developer oversized game
Publisher Bandai Namco Palace
audit date GTX 1080 Ti, Intel i7-8086K, 16GB RAM
multiplayer game Yes
association Official website

The cerebral, psychological horror is fine, but I love that my fears come from monster chases and things jumping out of the shadows. Dangerous idiots, abandoned towns, maybe some supernatural shenanigans – that’s where I get my thrills. Little Hope, the second game in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology, has all of that, plus a multiplayer mode that lets it capture the experience of watching with your friends and being in a goofy horror movie at the same time.

Like its predecessor, Man of Medan, the game truly reveals all its mysteries through a cooperative mode. In the single-player game, you’ll control various members of a quintet who are trapped in the haunted little town of Hope by a seemingly magical fog and haunted by the sights of a 17th-century witch trial. In the shared story, however, you’ll have the opportunity to experience these scenarios from a different perspective, and have to rely on your partner when the group splits, as they investigate destroyed buildings or get ambushed by monsters.

I’ve been on both sides – the one listening and the one being attacked – but I’m trying to choose which is more stressful. It could really be worse to hear a friend get beaten up. You may be too far away to hear your friends panic and not be able to jump to their help. However, in some cases, you will have the opportunity to intervene, and the situation may be worse. What if you screw up a quick time event and screw yourself up? What if it’s your fault they died? This can put real stress on the relationship.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Palace)

The crazy QTE action sequences make me feel like I’m always dying, but they’re actually pretty easy to pick up. To make them more accessible, Supermassive has added inconspicuous alerts before the prompts, not only to warn you of an impending QTE, but to let you know what type of action you’ll be performing. Jump, attack, shoot – they all have their own logos. This extra prep time doesn’t reduce their impact, but it does reduce the likelihood that you’ll hit the wrong button because you’re surprised. Even if you do fail the QTE, you usually have some chance of getting the upper hand or escaping, so one mistake won’t result in your death. That’s why I’m able to forgive my partner for all the failed rescues.

Little Hope is a social game. You can enjoy it when you’re lonely, but you’ll miss the best part. You should be yelling, throwing out theories about why the gang is trapped, and developing those characters together. After every surprise or near-death experience, I find myself pausing so we can talk about what just happened and build the whole picture from our personal perspective. It’s also the magic that makes Man of Medan work, and a good co-op mode can easily overlook where the game isn’t as refined. But Little Hope didn’t really develop it further, and it actually had fewer opportunities to exploit it.

The paranoid theme of Medan is reflected in the cooperative. For example, you can stand in the same room at the same time and actually see slightly different things. It sows the seeds of doubt and distrust. Little Hope has a more ambitious narrative, with a different timeline and more complex mysteries to unravel, but that doesn’t lead to the kind of novel co-op tricks or twists we saw in the last game.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Palace)

Note that there is still drama and a lot of conflict between the characters. The gang consisted of three students in their 20s, a mature student and their professor. Two of them are secretly dating, but none of them really get along that well in Little Hope. They’re stressful, but they’re also just a little dick, with one bland exception. They’re familiar archetypes like the Vanilla Doer, Nervous Scholar, and Karen. However, drawing them with such broad strokes makes it easier to incorporate their personalities when controlling them, and while none of these characters are particularly nuanced, most of them are interesting role-playing themes.

The most memorable is Angela, Queen of Cullens. Totally unexpected, she was amazing. Well, no, she sucks, but she’s fun to play with. A few minutes after meeting her, you learn she’s planning to sue the university because their bus crashed and she absolutely despises the only other woman in the group (implying that’s the case with most women), she has a With an unending craving for boy meat, she gets harsh comments or insults every time.

The bitter old maid is a dull metaphor, but Angela rules. I absolutely love calling everything and everyone nonsense in this harrowing adventure. She will happily tell a ghost or follow up on a traumatic event by belittling some of her peers. She’s had enough with these goddamn kids and these goddamn ghosts. She did, and I should add that it kept improving over time, and when I finished the game, everyone in the gang was willing to die for each other. It’s a short game, about four hours long, but a lot of life and death is squeezed into that time. My chosen climax is the heroic moment-filled third act as the gang go head-to-head with their supernatural hunters. You can make this bunch of ragged students into a bunch of real bad guys. If you can keep them alive.

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Palace)

halloween party

(Image credit: Bandai Namco Palace)

Like Man of Medan, Little Hope has two multiplayer modes, and if you’re only playing it once, you should definitely play it with a friend.

share stories
Shared Story Mode lets you play online with another person. Just like the single-player mode, you both have the opportunity to control each character. For about half the game, you’ll be torn apart, passing messages back and forth, but you’ll also need to work together to overcome obstacles and kick some monsters out of shit.

movie night
Movie Night Mode is an offline multiplayer mode that lets you play in groups of five. You can pass controllers based on the characters in the game, and like in shared story mode, you’ll see what everyone is up to when the group splits.

There is a lot of opportunity for exploration between QTE and dialogue, mostly by looking at objects that the game clearly stands out. Cameras have been released to give you more control as you wander around, giving you a better view of the abandoned, apparently haunted buildings you keep breaking into. While there aren’t many conundrums, Supermassive will use the time to create some nasty surprises and tease hints about what’s really going on. Having another person talk about your discovery can make you feel like you’re unraveling a complex mystery, even if you’re really just clicking on a book or a photo.

However, sometimes its cinematic concept gets better and the camera suddenly switches to a dramatic angle like you’re being watched in some bushes. Maybe perfect for a movie, but every time this happens my partner and I stop because we think we’re going to run into cutscenes. There are also a lot of awkward scene transitions, or places where the pace is so fast and awkward that it’s not clear what’s going on.

Most of the time, though, it’s like being stuck in a boring but endearing horror movie. On the surface it’s straightforward, with little humor to break up the tension, but it actually revels in the absurdity of it all. This is the final destination encounter with The Crucible, where you watch yourself die one minute and attend a dimly lit witch trial the next. While it doesn’t really expand on Supermassive’s experiments in Man of Medan, it’s still a fun co-op game, and it’s still the perfect timing if you’re looking for a game to play this Halloween.

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.