Little Hope probably has the most complex story out of the three games Supermassive have made so far. There are three timelines: the prologue set in 1972, the modern day, and the 1600s during the witch trials.
The prologue sees a family of six in 1972 experience a horrific night as their house catches on fire and they all die gruesome deaths. It seems the youngest daughter might have been the cause, and a demonic entity might have egged her on.
The game then switches to present day, where four college students and their professor are in a bus crash. They all look like the family that died in 1972. They make their way towards Little Hope, an abandoned town shrouded in dense fog.
Once they arrive they start experiencing time jumps to the 1600s, where they meet their doubles who are involved in the witch trials. The group also starts getting hunted down by demonic creatures that relentlessly pursue them.
I don’t think Little Hope is quite as scary or suspenseful as either Until Dawn or Man of Medan. There’s not as big a sense of dread as those games produced. Don’t get me wrong. There are some genuinely scary moments. There were some really good jump scares. There were several scenes where I felt fear. I just don’t think the game maintained that atmosphere throughout like the other Supermassive games.
The characters are a likeable bunch, or at least can be depending on your choices. Will Poulter is the big name here and he plays Andrew, a somewhat shy college student. Then there is John, the college professor struggling with being an authority figure and dealing with a drinking problem. Angela is a mature college student who is somewhat disagreeable and isn’t afraid to make her opinions known. Daniel is a preppy, jock like character who can show a softer side of himself. Taylor is a spunky young woman that is dating Daniel.
I like the fact that the choices concerning the characters and what they say or do revolves around their personalities and whether you have the situation they are in bring out their best or worst behavior. Take Taylor. She can either be a contrarian who bucks authority and goes her own way or she can try and be a team player and be open to listening to others.
The story is interesting. It is confusing at first with the different timelines and the fact that these characters seem to be reincarnated several times. I’m not going to say much more at the moment. I’ll talk more about the story when I talk about the ending.
The town of Little Hope is a great setting. Fog covers everything. The buildings are dilapidated. There are some good spooky settings, like a graveyard, sewers, a church, a burned down house, an old factory, etc.
The demonic creatures that chase our heroes are creepy and awesome. There are four of them and they are each pretty unique. The game does a good job of not revealing too much. We usually see close-up shots of a distinct feature, like the chains that cling to one creature or the spikes jutting out of another creature.
The game does have a slow build-up, apart from the fiery prologue. We get glimpses of the creatures but it’s probably an hour and a half in, give or take, before they start attacking in earnest. Before that moment there are some jump scares but it is mainly walking around and exploring.
The game plays a lot like Until Dawn and Man of Medan. It is a mixture of QTEs, exploration, dialogue choices, and action choices. There are some changes. You have control over the camera a bit more. The characters walk a little faster. Right before a QTE a prompt will appear on screen saying that a QTE is about to pop up and showing what kind of QTE it is (hit the right button, mash a button, etc.).
There are secrets to find like in the previous games. These flesh out the story and help reveal what is going on. You can find postcards that give you premonitions of events that haven’t happened yet.
The Curator returns, and the game cuts back to him a few times. Like in Man of Medan he will give you hints and cryptic clues about what is going on. He also drops a few hints that seem to indicate that someone or something is stopping him from helping you more. It seems like The Dark Pictures Anthology is setting up some kind of overarching mystery surrounding the character.
The witch trial sections are well done. They center around a young girl who seems to be the one accusing other townspeople. Part of the plot hinges on whether you believe she is an innocent victim or a manipulator toying with people.
On a side note, for a somewhat evil video game character Reverend Carver is quite fetching.
I did pretty good on my first play through. I only lost one character. The ending I received wasn’t great but it wasn’t the worst one either.
Okay, I’m going to talk about the ending but I’ll put it in a spoiler box.
Little Hope has a lot to recommend it. I love the setting and characters. While it does take a while to truly get going and it doesn’t maintain a consistent level of dread there are some genuinely scary and creepy moments. I’m split on the ending but I am ready to do a second play through to see if I can get all the characters to survive and get a better ending.
The game does include a short teaser trailer for the next game in the series. It is called House of Ashes and features Ashley Tisdale. It seems to be set in the Iraqi desert and focuses on soldiers and possibly some kind of Descent like creatures. It has my attention and it looks suitably different from the first two games in the series.