The Long Dark is still in development but is available through steams early access, also apparently it is on Xbox one but not for Australia. I’ve enjoyed a lot of what I have played so far and considering that the game is from what I last checked was Alpha build I am pretty impressed.
For those who have not yet heard, The long dark is an open world survival simulation game set in the Canadian wilderness where you play as a random stranger after your plane crashed during a geomagnetic event and you have been thrown from it and landed at one of the random spawn points around the map that you have chosen to play on.
The goal is to survive. At least in the sandbox mode, because as I said this is an early access title and currently the only playable section is the sandbox mode. Don’t allow that detract you from buying this though because I have had a lot of fun exploring the wilderness for supplies and doing my best to go up against the games main villain, nature itself.
There currently is no story mode but it is being worked on at the time of writing this article. Developer Hinterland studios have said they do not want to release it until they are 100% happy with what they have created, which is fine by me as there is still a lot of the sandbox mode that I am getting through.
You explore the wilderness looking through huts or buildings, crates, lockers and draws to find items to help you survive. There is a huge amount of content in this game that I could explain but we would be here for a while. The game isn’t a masterpiece for where it is in its development stage but it is still pretty impressive for how immersive this game is considering where it is at the moment.
You can find sticks and planks of wood that can be used in a fireplace to keep you warm, as long as you have so form of tinder to help with igniting it with any matches you may have found while looking around in houses. Crafting is also a major part of this game and looks to be getting more work done to it as development continues; this is usually done on benches you find in certain buildings and huts around the map. If you happen to find a weapon, either being a rifle or a bow & arrow you can head out and hunt for food and supplies to build and repair clothing to help you combat the brutal weather.
Depending on the difficulty you choose, wolves and bears will not attack you. However I found choosing that low level difficulty really took away from the true nature of this game and grew somewhat boring so I didn’t stick with that long as I wanted more of a challenge, so I increased the difficulty and I got just that.
To help you know how you are going in The Long Dark you are given meters to show you how your character is progressing, energy, hunger, thirst and cold. Including a limit to how much you can hold in your back pack. Too much in your pack and your character will start to slow down and sprinting will be impossible until you dump some of your heavier gear. Your health is also at risk in the nature as the condition of your body is shown and how much calories you have which are also needed to be checked on constantly as this can also affect the condition of your body. Meds are also scattered throughout structures that you’ll come across and they will help you when you have been mauled by a wolf or eaten a fish you caught a day or two ago and has since gone off and caused your character to have food poisoning. So keeping your eye on your health is very important if you’re going to survive the game for as long as you possibly can.
Audio & Visuals
Aside from the already addictive gameplay the real immersion was thanks to the beautiful art style of the long dark and the sound of the blistering weather you had to endure during the game. Sitting inside of a small hut during a blizzard at night in front of a fire was so immersive that I felt my own body temperature start to drop and I actually felt cold thanks to how good of a job this game did at drawing me in with the sounds of wind and snow bashing against the small hut I was in.
While the long dark may be in early access I have seen games that have been out a lot longer that don’t even come close to how well this game is shaping up at its current stage. There is definitely more to come and I am looking forward to it down the track. For a game in early access to be this good so early on is something that should be applauded. I couldn’t recommend this game more. In a time where a lot of games that are available in early access are usually very buggy, to find a game such as The Long Dark is a welcomed change.