Supermassive Games returns with another entry to The Dark Pictures Anthology, simply titled Little Hope. Through Bandai Namco Entertainment, I got the pleasure (?) to try out a demo build of the game scheduled for a 30 October 2020 release. Since it’s demo, surely even a coward can make it through without screaming, right?
As with the keynote, this demo impression will contain spoilers.
WHAT OPTIONS DO I HAVE?
The settings menu is always the first thing I check out in a new game. For the demo, I utilized the DualShock, but there will be keybinding options for the keyboard users. Since I turned on the accessibility options, I didn’t check controller keybinds, but they will be there for you to check in your own time. Being slightly indisposed, having options like:
- Single action prompts removing the need to hit multiple different buttons for the quick time events
- Repeated actions only requiring a single press instead of a mash
- Even the entire removal of QTEs for single player
… are extremely welcome. The removal of QTEs may not be functioning correctly in the demo build as there are still timed events and choices especially, so I’d like to see what they are like once the full release hits.
Then there are the subtitle options, enabling background opacity, colour-coded text and having subtitles for everything is also very appreciated. As with the accessibility options, the subtitling is not functioning at full capacity for the demo, but if you happen to be hard of hearing, you can look forward to adjusting the text as you need. Some gripes I have with these options is that you can’t preview them until you start the game, and colour-coded subs don’t look colour-blind friendly.
There’s data analytics to check once the game comes out in full, to see the choices people have made.
The demo starts off about an hour into the game. You can check out the keynote presentation for further context. Andrew and John enter the town’s police station, which has definitely seen better times. The interactable items have a shine to them for you to capture your attention, and there’s the simple joystick gestures to perform actions. The gameplay hasn’t changed drastically, keeping the timed choices and have character traits update accordingly along the way.
What’s interesting here is them showing more of the so-called “time travel” conceit. At points, you will get arrested by a vision. In the demo, a figure will grasp your character and you will then witness a point in history, like the witch trials that are the focus for this title. Choices do appear, but they don’t seem to change the end result so far, only offering some alternate dialogue.
In this section, we witness Amy being accused, then deemed guilty of witchcraft. It would seem that Amy and Mary can somehow see you, but a clever juxtaposition shows that no one else can, thus your presence further damns Amy’s fate. It’s a little unclear if while you can’t be seen, you can still be heard by the common folk, so a mystery to be answered with more occasions in the full release. You’ll be moving back and forth in time in this manner, and we’ll have to wait to see if there will be more methods.
I’m also curious if you can touch the person who’s experiencing the vision to see it with them. What happens to those outside the vision? What is its range? Does the figure grabbing you represent the person who will be able to see you in the past? A hollow Amy grabs our characters, and she is the one who calls out to us. Will this pattern hold true? More questions to find answers to. The demo also provided access to an equally limited Curator’s Cut, which offered more dialogue, but we’ll see how much more expanded this is in the full release.
A VISION FOR LATER
Due to the nature of the demo, I do not wish to pass too many judgments on the horror factor. It’s not fair, after all. I will fully admit the few jumps that they’ve done, like the first vision, made me scream, which gave way to curiosity once I noticed the other elements in play.
I feel like the camera is more creative in this game, and the ability to freely rotate around your point of view character in more open spaces gives it a “more real” feeling, as you take in the sights of this forgotten town you’ve found yourself in. The visions are especially interesting since it gives me something to look forward to finding out when the game is out. How does it work? Can we change history? The Curator would surely know… I await the answers to my questions.
Also, Taylor is best girl.