Picture Credit: Supermassive Games
Picture Credit: Supermassive Games

“Grab my hand!” my real-life friend Meg screamed as I pushed on, being chased by the demons of the dark. My character turned to look at her’s, a choice appearing on my screen. Help, or run. The difference between life and death…

This was just one of many heart-wrenching moments littered through the second entry into Supermassive Games’ The Dark Pictures Anthology series, Little Hope.

Following a high-intensity prologue, where some of your choices will immediately effect the events you later bear witness to, players are thrown straight into the chaos of the mysterious titular town, which is plagued with a dark history of witch trials and murder.

After falling victim to a traffic accident, you’ll take control of five different characters, including a college professor and four of his students. Each have their own personality traits, but many of those can be moulded by you as you make dialogue choices and take actions to progress the story.

An intense score and sound effects ensure that from the jump you’ll be left on edge, as you move your way through dank forestry and foggy roads, catching glimpses of movement in the distance that send a shiver down your spine.

Yes, Little Hope is genuinely scary. Whilst Man of Medan was a work of genius, it did fall a little flat on the actual scares; that’s not the case here. I yelped out loud a number of times, much to my friend’s amusement.

Whilst I’ve been a fan of campy slashers in the past with silly dialogue, this unique take on the ‘lost in the woods’ horror story was a welcome breath of fresh air in its seriousness. It’s entirely original and genuinely shocked me more than once. Not to mention the stellar performances put in by each member of the cast, including the wonderful Will Poulter.

Picture Credit: Supermassive Games
Picture Credit: Supermassive Games

Much of the gameplay mechanics have remained the same when compared to those you may have experienced in both Man of Medan and the critically-acclaimed Until Dawn from the same developers. One of them is my sworn adversary.

Let me be clear: I am absolutely awful at hitting quick time events. I messed up plenty in Man of Medan. So, following a request from the gaming community of a warning before QTEs pop up, it’s been implemented, and it makes the experience a much more comfortable one for those of us who aren’t as quick to react as others. I still missed some even with this warning, so any claims that they’re now too easy to hit should be taken with a pinch of salt. They’re likely just incredibly well-seasoned gamers.

Transitions from dialogue and movement from one scene to another has been made a lot smoother, along with the literal movement and control of each character.

There was one point where my friend couldn’t pick up the postcard I found - which actually then stopped then from triggering one of the achievements that later popped onto my account - but this was the only glitch we found through our entire run. Comparing that to Man of Medan, this was a much more fluid experience.

We lost three of our five characters during our shared playthrough. The ending took us both by surprise. We’d had our guesses as to how things would be wrapped up; this wasn’t it.

As is always the case with games of this sort, you’re not done playing until you’ve gone through the narrative a number of times, taking different narrative paths as you go. There may even be entire scenes you miss in one run that you’ll discover in the next thanks to your choices.

This is always the promise made by Supermassive Games, but I was still taken aback by how much changed when I switched my choices and narrative branches entirely. Play it again and again, hunt for those achievements, and you’ll get more than your money’s worth.

Oh, and don’t forget to keep watching after those credits roll to get your first glimpse at instalment number three…

The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows.

A code for the game on Xbox One was given to Female First in exchange for a fair and honest review.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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