The Long Dark – PC Game (p)Review

The Long Dark

This game is in alpha stage and was released as a part of the “early access” section of Valve’s Steam service. That means it’s an ongoing game development in its early stages, and may contain bugs and missing features.

To start, and as a clarification, this game is NOT a black porn/adult film – as much as the name may suggest.

What it is, is a survival/exploration first person adventure which is set in a cold/frozen world.

It's cold out there

And when I say “frozen” I mean FROZEN. It is cold out there, and it’s not much warmer, or safe indoors either.

You start off somewhere on the map (random location each time), with nothing much more than the clothes on your back, and a bit of equipment – I.E. matches, flare, and not much more. No knife (good for skinning deer), no good warm clothes, and no food. And you need all these and much more to survive.

This game is unforgiving. The developer tried to make it as realistic as possible, so forget about health packs, health restoring food or sleep, and so on. You can get bandages, antiseptic, antibiotics, painkillers and so on, but they won’t do you much good once your health meter starts dropping to dangerous levels, and if you encounter one of the many wolves roaming around this frozen tundra, well, you are liable to end up as a bloodless popsicle in no time.

The game comes with two game modes: Story, which is not available as yet in this alpha version, and Sandbox – which allows you to choose your avatar sex (meaning the narration of your whining will be husky male or pleasant female), and the map – so far only the first one is included, but another one is in the works.

This is NOT any kind of shooter (first person, or third). This is a “do-your-best-to-stay-alive”. And the “winner” is the one who gets to survive the longest. In steam you get achievement if you manage to stay alive 15, 20 or even 40 days.

Surviving even 12 hours is a big challenge. Sure, you can try and find a hut, and bunk indoors for a while, but unless you have a serious supply of food and kindling (to keep warm) – you’ll end up dead – indoors.

The graphics are nothing to write home about – as can be seen from the screenshots I included. But this game is not about graphics. It’s about exploration, survival, and sound. The sound play a big part in this, because it builds up the atmosphere of despair. You hear the wind blowing, birds above, a wolf howling, and the soft steps of a deer. Your steps on a frozen lake make you worry that you might just crack the ice and fall in, but that doesn’t happen – at least not in this alpha version.

So, did I like it? YES. It’s a very difficult game, there are no saves (at least none yet) and you end up dying surprised every time, but you learn something new every time, and the map is never exactly the same. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys survival games!

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