The Dark Pictures: Little Hope Review

Matt Lorrigan

If you’ve previously played the likes of Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn or Man of Medan, you should know what to expect from Little Hope, the latest title in the Dark Pictures Anthology. However, for those who haven’t, here’s the brief. Little Hope is a cinematic horror adventure, with branching paths and different scenarios available depending on the choices you make along the way. As in Man of Medan, you’ll control five different characters over the course of the story, with the game switching your playable character at certain points throughout. You’ll find a mix of choices to make, quick time events such as button presses and aiming mini-games to nail, and longer cut-scenes that flesh out the story.

It’s a good formula, and one that works even better with the game’s built-in multiplayer options. Shared Story allows two players online to work through the game together, but Movie Night is where you’ll find the most fun, with up to five players taking it in turns to play in a pass-the-pad local multiplayer mode. You’ll pick which characters you control at the beginning, so each player is responsible for keeping one or more of your group alive, and it certainly offers some good fun over an evening or two, especially once you get past Little Hope’s slightly slow start.


The game begins as a group of four students, led by a slightly-too-intense professor, get stuck in the town of Little Hope following a bus crash. Little Hope is a ghost town in the very literal sense - one of the many communities across the United States that was abandoned in a hurry when jobs or food became scarce. However, it soon becomes clear that this ghost town is haunted by more than just the lingering spectre of rampant capitalism gone awry.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that despite loving a bit of horror, I’m a big ol’ scaredy cat. A complete coward, especially with scary games. While Little Hope certainly does offer some jump scares and extremely unsettling moments, for the most part it’s a slow burn, more thriller than slasher. For me, this was perfect, with the rising tension never peaking so high as to make me want to stop playing. However, for horror aficionados, this may prove a little too tame to ever truly frighten.

Luckily, the scares aren’t the only selling point here - the second title in The Dark Pictures Anthology is also a game filled with mysteries, and it's a joy to put together the puzzle of the eponymous town piece by piece. The game’s omniscient Curator will occasionally pull you out of the story to give you a hint here or there (as well as providing an excellent scenery-chewing performance from Pip Torrens) but for the most part, you’re left to put the pieces together yourself. Sure, it’s not the most complex web that’s ever been woven in a game, but it proves engaging enough to see you through a full run.

Unfortunately, the resolution doesn’t quite live up to the mystery that Supermassive Games is trying to sell, and you can’t help but feel a little cheated by the series of events that kick off right at the game’s climax. The final scenes are meant to make things clear, and in a way they do, but they also serve to cheapen many of the events that have come before. Some players might love the fact that things are left slightly ambiguous - and your mileage may vary - but it left a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

Regardless of how you feel about the story, Little Hope is a joy to look at. The character models, hyper-realistic as they are, can occasionally dip into the uncanny valley - especially during the opening half-hour or so, as characters move, stand and even blink in a way that doesn’t feel quite right. However, when your brain eventually adjusts and accepts these quirks, it’s clear that Little Hope is a simply stunning game.


It’s a shame that the visuals are smeared so heavily in thick fog and darkness. While it certainly contributes to the atmosphere of the game, it doesn’t really allow the graphics to shine, especially when one section in a more warmly-lit graveyard shows off just how good Supermassive’s engine can look given a bit more colour and light. However, in specific lighting, or from just the right angles, characters and settings do occasionally look so good that you could mistake it for real life - if only for a moment. I legitimately can’t remember the last time a game had that effect on me.

We’ve established that the characters look great, then, but how do they hold up as, well, actual characters? For the most part, performances are pretty good across the board. The main cast of five are headlined by Will Poulter’s Andrew, and while Poulter does give a nuanced performance, the Bandersnatch star isn’t given all that much to do. The four remaining characters have much more defined character traits, giving the actors a bit more to work with, and for the most part they succeed. Little Hope also features a few scenes from the town’s 17th century witch trials, and I’m pleased to report that the English accents used sound really good, with David Smith turning in a particularly good showing as Reverend Simon Carter.

It’s not a perfect piece of fiction, with occasional pacing problems and perhaps not enough scares, but The Dark Pictures: Little Hope proves a fun horror romp through a foggy town, and offers players an intriguing mystery that is genuinely entertaining to piece together, even if it is let down by an underwhelming ending.

The Dark Pictures: Little Hope

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope provides an entertaining horror romp that is high on tension, but perhaps a little too low on actual scares. Regardless, its mix of good performances, excellent visuals and an intriguing mystery will keep you engrossed throughout, even if it falls a bit flat in the finale.

Form widget
70%
Audio
80%

Performances are mostly good, with a subdued music score that lets the ambient noises of an empty town come to the fore. Oh, and the English accents are actually good, which is upsettingly rare in games these days.

Visuals
85%

Little Hope is nearing photorealism at times, even with the occasional dips that the characters take into the uncanny valley. The game’s dark and gloomy setting means that the visuals quite literally don’t quite shine as brightly as they could.

Playability
75%

Compared to most other games, there isn’t a whole lot of “play” in Little Hope, but what is here works perfectly within the game’s structure. A large amount of accessibility and control options make it easy to play with someone less experienced with video game controllers, which is perfect for the game’s Movie Night mode.

Delivery
60%

You’ll get a fun five hours or so out of Little Hope, with plenty of scope for replay sessions later down the line, and the game’s multiplayer modes are well incorporated. However, there are a few visual bugs, and the game’s finale feels a bit rushed and cheapens the experience that came before.

Achievements
55%

This is a very basic list that rewards players for exploring the many different options available, but it requires a few too many repeat playthroughs to not prove frustrating.

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