It's cold... really cold... I've got plenty of safe water but I'm down to my final energy bar and I've just used my last bandage... if I don't find some warmth soon, I'm going to die. Rather than work my way back to the cabin I spotted ten minutes ago and risk freezing to death, I find some shelter from the wind by a rock and light a fire. Once I'm warm enough and my condition has improved, I'll be able to continue my search for food. If I'm really lucky, the wind will die down and make things a little easier.
Luck is not on my side.
I hear a snarl behind me and turn to find the wolf that attacked me earlier has found me again. He attacks and I manage to beat him off with a pry bar but as he runs off into the woods I realise it's too late... I'm bleeding heavily and I don't have enough time to craft any bandages. My vision blurs and then fades as I bleed out and die.
This sort of thing will happen a lot in The Long Dark; it's a game about bad choices and you will die... it's just a question of when!
The world has suffered a geomagnetic disaster, wiping out all technology, causing you to crash your plane into Canada's harsh Northern Wilderness. Your goal is simple... survive. With food and water being scarce, freezing weather and rather unfriendly wildlife, however, that it's going to be easy.
There are a LOT of survival games out there at the moment, it's definitely a popular genre, but where a lot of them have focused on multiplayer (and zombies... so many zombies), this one stands out.
For a start it really is about survival. Your main enemies are things like starvation, dehydration and (my own personal nemesis) hypothermia. The wolves are hungry and vicious, but can be avoided if you're careful. Fighting them is possible, with success dependent on your equipment, condition and ability to mash your mouse buttons. Sometimes it's easier and safer to throw a lit flare at them and then run in the opposite direction.
You'll spend most of your time, moving from shelter to shelter, whether it's a log cabin or a fishing hut, rummaging through drawers and cupboards to scavange whatever supplies you can find. Occassionally you'll stumble across the body of someone that has succumbed to the wilderness and the items on or around them will sometime aid your plight.
While there is limited crafting like snares and fishing lines, you're not going to be building your own house or weapons. Tools have to be found; equipment and clothing repaired and maintained. If you're lucky, you might even find a rifle... and if you're really lucky, some ammo as well.
The art style is beautiful. It's like playing a painting, or a well drawn graphic novel, and the use of lighting only improves the situation. The interior of an unlit cabin 'feels' cold until you light a stove or lantern, giving everything a warming glow.
Being early access, not everything is currently in the game. As things currently stand the story mode is missing so you can only play the Sandbox mode. Combat, although not really the point of the game, feels a little too jarring to me (although that may be the point) with you having to mash the left mouse button to build up your attack before using the right mouse button to unleash it.
This hasn't stopped the game selling more that 250,000 copies since it released on Steam's early access back in September last year and getting an overwhelming number of positive reviews.
Hinterland Games have created something compelling and rather special.tags: early access, first look, hinterland games, pc, reviews, steam, the long dark
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