The Long Dark Review

Have you ever wanted to enjoy a solo survival experience where you’re at the mercy of mother nature and your own whimsical decision-making skills? I’ve got the game just for you. The Long Dark.

The Long Dark is a single player survival game that is set in the frozen wilderness of Canada. There are several game modes that you may enjoy in this game: Wintermute(Story-mode), Survival mode and Challenge scenario. And each of these modes is enjoyable in their own right. Well, except for Wintermute.

WINTERMUTE

That’s the title of its story mode and also an event that occurs in the game. As to what Wintermute is, very little information is known about it and I won’t mention it so as to avoid any potential spoilers. There are 5 episodes to the story mode, but only 2 of it is currently available to play. The rest of the episode will be made available in future updates.

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The Long Dark | Hinterland Studio

The story mode will teach you how to survive the frozen wilderness. You’ll learn the necessity of keeping yourself warm, rationing your food and water, feeding off from mother nature and how imperative it is to rest and some crafting too. Experiencing the harsh environment mother nature can throw at you from its raging blizzard to its hostile predators.

As you progress in the story, you’ll encounter several NPCs along the way. These NPCs will provide bits and pieces of the world lore that’s related to the story. Just like real life relationships, the NPCs trust towards you is at its minimal. This has no direct impact to the story nor its progression, but gaining their trust towards you will make your life easier in the long run. As the trust between you and the NPC grow – should you pursue them – the background of the world will be revealed to you, various locations of hidden caches shall be made known and most importantly crafting blueprints. These caches may contain either medical supplies, food or even ammo.

Once done or at least learn the ropes to survive, head on over to the Survival mode or Challenge scenario and make use of the knowledge you learn in Wintermute – or what I’d have called it, a glorified tutorial – to survive.

Survival Mode & Challenge Scenario

To be honest, there’s not much difference between the two other then there’s an objective to complete in challenge scenario. Let’s begin with Survival mode.

In this mode, all of the crafting blueprints in the game is made available for you whereas in story mode, some of it is being provided as you progress with the story. While others are gained as your trust with the NPC reach a certain value. It is best that you obtain these before you proceed to move on to the next episode or area.

There’s no objective marker telling you what to do or where to go. Your primary aim is to survive. To survive for as long as you can. It’s permadeath with no options to reload your last Survival Mode save file. Just surviving can be a bore? Why not find something to do. Go outside and explore all the different areas that the game have to offer. Memorizing all the hunting and fishing spots in the area. Visit all the landmark or find the fastest route from point to point. Once you have more or less know your way around the area, go ahead and tackle the challenge scenario.

Will with a gun
The Long Dark | Hinterland Studio

At the moment, there are only 5 challenges available in the game and more are planned to be added in the future. The challenges require you to move from point to point within a set frame of time, exploration challenges or even survival challenges. Due to the nature of these challenges, without the basic knowledge of knowing where’s the various locations are, it’s tough to complete any one of the challenges. So head to the Survival mode and learn your way around, you ain’t Bear Grylls.


Personal Opinion

If you’re thinking of getting this game for the entirety of just playing its story mode, it’s best that you skip this one. The story is poorly written and it’s mediocre at best. It doesn’t compel you wanting to know about the series of events that took place or to progress the story. And the things that the NPC demand you to do doesn’t make it any better. Most of the time it’s a fetch quest and it isn’t an interesting one either. You will travel back and forth multiple times to various area to bring the items that the NPC requires. The wolves that are roaming about seemingly where ever you go doesn’t make your task any easier. They are more aggressive in Winturemute as to the other modes.

But if you are looking for a survival game, I’d recommend this game to you as it’s the strongest point of the game. The crafting in this game is minimal yet simple. It fits the setting of the game and it is set up in a realistic manner, well sorta.

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The Long Dark | Hinterland Studio

Just like the other survival games, you’ll have to monitor your hunger, thirst, rest and body temperature. Any of these is depleted, it will take its toll on your health. The body temperature gauge, however, is more vital and difficult to manage than the others. Clothes will combat against both wind and air temperature. And certain clothes provide better protection over the other. Your character will show signs of suffering from hypothermia should the temperature is below a certain point. Ignoring this problem will result in your character having lesser overall health permanently.

The weather in this game can change on a whim, you may be out hunting with a clear sky above your heads and sites as far as the mountaintop can be seen, to the misty fog or a raging blizzard in the next moment. Coupled with the fact that you need to be wary of hostile predators as you are out and about, the chances of you getting lost and frozen to death or eaten are higher than you finding a safe abode.

Aurora
The Long Dark | Hinterland Studio

The game art style is unique and its most beautiful moment is when the aurora is up in the sky. I tend to travel when the aurora is up so as I can enjoy the view. When this occurs, the hostile predators are way more aggressive as though they are starving. Is it worth it? Yes.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t be able to recommend this game for its story but if you’re looking for an excellent survival game without any zombies in it, this is for you.


Platforms: PC(Windows, Linux & Mac OS), PlayStation 4 & Xbox One
Publisher: Hinterland Studio
Developer: Hinterland Studio
Rating: Good (71 out of 100)
Hours Played: 49hrs


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