Join Liv as she reviews this unique choice-based adventure game!
Game: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
Developer: Supermassive Games
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Time to Complete: 5 to 6 hours
My Playtime: 5 hours
I love choice based adventure video games. It’s a fun concept to have agency over how the story evolves. Being in control of the characters' relationships and narrative plot points is something I find very engaging. Choice based decisions in horror games is a matter of life and death with the outcomes drastically changing based on the buttons you press. The first choice base horror game I played was Until Dawn which terrified me for years afterwards. This led me to play The Dark Pictures Anthology games. After a mediocre entry to the series with Man of Medan, I was willing to give the next game a chance. I was eagerly awaiting the release of Little Hope which ultimately was worse than Man of Medan. Narratively, Little Hope fell flat for me. To understand my disappointment, let's break down what was advertised versus what we play.
Little Hope was advertised as a choice based horror game about the Salem Witch trials. Sounds interesting, right? There’s a lot to do with that plot point. Witches are fictitious and the history of the Salem Witch trials was more about religion than green women with pointy black hats, but I felt that they had an opportunity to make it very spooky. Instead, the surrounding Salem Witch trials were akin to The Crucible town hall meetings and nothing more. These moments in the game seemingly have nothing to do with what the in game characters are doing. The connection between the characters and the Salem Witch trials did not feel necessary to the plot.
What Little Hope really is about is a bus driver getting into an accident with college students and trying to get back home. You spend the night trying to get help and protect the group. That’s what you think is going on anyways. Unfortunately, not everything is what it seems to be and that completely undermines the plot. The “big twist” negates the entire purpose of the game and truthfully, commits the cardinal sin of storytelling. Because of this, replaying the game is almost pointless. You know that nothing you do truly matters in the grand scheme of things. You have no real agency over the group.
Choice based games should have the replayability factor. If not, then was it really a choice based game? The choices should influence multiple outcomes. These outcomes should matter. Little Hope has been the only true disappointment in the series for me. The next two installments to The Dark Pictures Anthology were much better. It took me a bit of time to purchase House of Ashes and The Devil in Me because of how poorly I thought Little Hope was. Each installment in the series seems to be a step in the right direction.
I rarely say a game is a waste of time, but I cannot in good faith recommend Little Hope to anyone. There are horror elements such as jump scares, but the plot is undermined by the two subsequent endings which makes replaying the game absolutely pointless. Instead, I encourage you to check out one of the other games in the The Dark Pictures Anthology if you’re looking for a scary game with multiple outcomes. With their first entry into Season 2 of The Dark Pictures Anthology, Directive 8020, I will be keeping a close eye on the game before deciding if I will purchase it. Directive 8020 does not have a release date at this time, but we should hear more about it in the near future. I am optimistic for the future of The Dark Pictures Anthology and won’t let one game derail my excitement for choosing your own adventure type games.
About the Author:
Liv is the co-host of the Between 2 Gamers podcast with her friend Frewy. When she's not gaming, she's watching sports!
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