The Long Dark

Can you survive The Long Dark?

By Artemis, Posted 17 Apr 2015

In the frozen wasteland of the formerly prosperous country of Canada, you alone must survive The Long Dark. This winter seems endless, so it's not a matter of if you survive it; it's a matter of how long. The Long Dark is a game developed and published by Hinterland Studio, focusing primarily on surviving in Canada after a climate disaster. Right now it's in early access and the story mode isn't complete, but its sandbox mode gives more than enough to talk about.

The Long Dark gives you three different modes to play in when you start a new sandbox: Pilgrim, the easiest mode, allows for more care free exploration of the game with survival looming in the background; Voyager, the normal mode where you can't wander aimlessly about and you have to focus on survival more; and Stalker, where everything is out for you blood without any provocation. This games Stalker mode has become somewhat infamous on YouTube with various Let's Players playing through it to the point where there is even a soda in the game named after one: “Stacy's Grape Soda.”

The objective of the game is simple: you're abandoned out in the middle of nowhere in a random location and you must find a way to survive. The world is freezing and you must find food, shelter, water and keep yourself going for as long as you possibly can. While this sounds pretty straightforward, it isn't because there are plenty of factors in the game that can kill you and if you're unfamiliar with the game, and when starting out you're going to have a bad time.

The Long Dark snowy forest railway

You have various meters in the game that show your status. Each of those meters is part of how you can tell what your character's status is at. Sure, you can guess by what your character yells out randomly, but checking your meters is required if you want to play it for the long run. You have a temperature meter that shows you how close you are to dying of hypothermia, a fatigue meter measuring how close you are to passing out and dying (again) of hypothermia, a thirst meter that indicates how close you are to dying of thirst, and a hunger meter that tells you how close you are to dying of hunger. You can see that that's a lot to take care of to not die, but that isn't all you have to deal with.

Jumping off of ledges is treated realistically, and you could very well sprain your ankle and have to hobble back to an area to rest before you can walk normally again. Wolves can come at you if you aren't paying attention to your surroundings, and the only way to scare them off is a gunshot (good luck finding a gun) or a flare. Otherwise, if you get too close and you're dog meat. It's possible to defeat them, or at least scare them off, but if you do get attacked and injured you need to treat yourself in case you get an infection. There are grizzly bears as well and, they obviously do more damage to you than the wolves ever could. The upside is that if you manage to kill any of these creatures, you can get resources from them and use them to try to survive this dark frozen landscape.

The Long Dark cabin

There is a very heavy emphasis placed on risk and reward. Playing it safe will help you survive, and while this is the main objective in sandbox mode, it also benefits you to take some risks as well. Sometimes venturing out in the freezing forest can yield you a dead deer you can scavenge for precious meat to keep your calories up in order to prevent you from freezing to death. It's an exercise in inventory management, survival smarts, how well you learn and at times being in the right place at the right time. It is man vs. wild in its purest form, and it's really fascinating to play through, especially getting into the mindset to play the game itself. You'll find yourself thinking like the survivor and planning everything out as you hack through trees in order to get firewood.

If you don't like games that are more related to survival, testing your limits and overcoming impossible odds to survive one more day, then don't play it. The character in this game isn't Superman, they are just a random person stuck in a bad situation, desperate to survive and it is up to you to help them does that. You're just as much of a survivor in this as they are and it is your job to help them alive through The Long Dark.

Angelina Bonilla, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Hinterland Studio
Developer(s): Hinterland Studio
Genres: Sandbox
Themes: Survival
Release Date: 2014-09-22

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