December 8, 2021

cruciforme

travel, Always a step ahead

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope review

Like the company’s previous titles, the gameplay requires little to no gaming experience. It’s a volatile ‘choose your own adventure’ experience; you make choices for your characters, and those choices will help you, hurt you, or kill you.

In the aftermath of the crash, the five survivors are enveloped in a thick fog – metaphorically and literally – which seems to pull them further and further away from reality. Visions of witch trials, deadly doppelgangers and, as one vandalized sign so elegantly suggests, every reason to abandon hope of escape.

The scares are a slow-burn to start, but the storytelling (much of which happens when characters are dragged into the 1600s) makes up for it, teasing you with apparitions and dialogue that offer more than you might imagine. 

Within 30 minutes, I felt I’d sussed the plot out, but I was very, very wrong, and it became clearer and clearer as the story – and scares – progressed.

The game is designed to wear you down, weaving jump scares in with an expertly-crafted horror score and spine-chilling scenery. 

The atmosphere is, in a word, anxious – and it’s impossible not to internalize it. Particularly when faced with Quick-Time Events (QTE) which, more often than not, lead to a horrifying death.

Personally, I found Little Hope’s do-or-die events easier to survive than Until Dawn’s and Man of Medan’s, and I expect it will be a welcome change for those who critiqued previous titles for impossible QTEs. This time around, the game prompts you to get ready for spells of button-smashing a second before they start, meaning you can take a second to find your X- and Y- button or steady trembling hands.

Two characters did meet an untimely fate on my first Little Hope playthrough, but that’s a fair improvement from my sole survivor in Man of Medan.

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