Witchcraft. Doppelgangers. Cenobite-like demons. Evil kids. Inescapable fog. Supermassive Video games loves to mix horror tropes and create its personal spin on them for one massive, spine-tingling journey. It’s a part of the studio’s identification and what made Till Daybreak such a success. I at all times sit up for seeing how the group goes to subvert my expectations. Little Hope is the second standalone entry in Supermassive’s Darkish Footage Anthology, and although it’s a step up from Man of Medan, it nonetheless falters as a lot because it succeeds. Little Hope tells an interesting story, however lackluster gameplay, predictable scares, and efficiency points maintain it again from greatness.
This story is totally self-contained, so that you don’t must play Man of Medan to know it. This recent break permits Supermassive to discover a brand new setting, characters, and horror subgenres. For Little Hope, you’re launched to a New England city of the identical title. It has an eerie previous related to the 17th-century witch trials, together with a household from the 1970s that skilled tragedy. When a bus carrying a professor and his group of school college students crashes in Little Hope throughout a detour, you understand extra is happening than meets the attention. Not solely is a fog stopping you from leaving, however your group additionally seems related to the city’s darkish historical past. The brand new setting instantly pulled me in; not solely is it creepy from the beginning, however the intrigue that holds the thriller collectively is highly effective.
That being mentioned, attending to the story’s finest moments takes time and persistence. Little Hope is a sluggish burn, which means you’ve a variety of downtime simply strolling down a foggy path with few clues and boring dialogue. You often go into the sewers, a church, or a manufacturing facility, however the winding street is the primary vacation spot. The journey would most likely be extra satisfying if I discovered the characters intriguing, nevertheless it was arduous to care about any of them. The issue is that they really feel extra like one-dimensional reactions to a state of affairs slightly than being distinctive individuals with wants and motivations. It was arduous to get a way of any of them past the few traits listed about them whenever you begin the sport.
Although the present-day ensemble is uninteresting, their doppelgangers from the previous are a special story. They pull you again into their time interval to expertise the loopy accusations and concern of witchcraft that ran rampant. I beloved the stress of those moments, as you see paranoia manifest you start to query who’s in charge for a way issues unfold (which turns into a large choice you make). All of it culminates in a improbable twist that I received’t spoil, however it’s cleverly performed and made me method my second playthrough in a special and thrilling method. Altering your choices on subsequent runs additionally results in new scenes and conditions, like whether or not characters proudly showcase their relationship, or what type a creature takes.
I want the general gameplay of Little Hope supplied the identical pleasure. Regardless of having among the finest creature design Supermassive has ever performed, Little Hope nonetheless can’t capitalize on its terrors. The sport tries to unnerve you, making an attempt its share of leap scares, however they’re too predictable and over-the-top to work. Addressing complaints from Man of Medan, Supermassive made some enhancements with higher indicators for when QTEs are coming, and now you can press a button to stroll quicker by means of environments. Nevertheless, merchandise choice continues to be finicky, and I needed to deal with technical points like freezes and glitches, particularly in co-op.
Talking of co-op, I had a significantly better expertise taking part in on my own than I did with another person – the other of my expertise with Man of Medan. The story lends itself higher to solo play, as co-op permits solely sure gamers to see particular scenes, which makes it tough to piece collectively the entire story. Additionally, in case your co-op buddy winds up their space first whenever you’re break up up, the story strikes forward with out supplying you with time to examine every part. I skilled crashes, dialogue slicing out, and disconnects, regardless of each my co-op buddy and I having stable connections. I hope this side of the sport will get improved after launch, as a result of it will get in the best way of following and appreciating the narrative.
Little Hope is inconsistent, like a witch-in-training nonetheless studying totally weave a spell. It units up its story properly and retains you guessing, however the execution is missing. It wants extra selection and fascinating issues on your characters to do. The motion comes too late, and by then, you’re already nodding off. Nevertheless, seeing the improbable ending makes placing up with these boring moments somewhat extra bearable.