The Cambridge Geek

The Long Dark
The Long Dark


Don't play this game if you're afraid of wolves. Or want to not start hating wolves. Or dislike being killed by wolves 12 times in 24 hours. Other than that, it's great.

Okay, so this is a survival game, which has been out in early access for quite a long time, but has just been released properly with a campaign mode. I picked it up at that point, so I don't have the couple of years history of playing in sandbox mode. Which might explain why I died pretty constantly for the first week.

As a survival game, set in the Arctic Circle, you've got a fair few things to beware. Death by hunger, wolves, thirst, wolves, cold, wolves, cold wolves and infection are all too possible. Traversing across the snowy wastelands requires careful management of limited resource, an abundance of caution, and significant planning, such that you don't find yourself lost in a blizzard with no food or fire.

This survival problem is caused by you crashing your plane, while taking your ex-wife on a secret mission into a snowstorm. The story is told over five episodes (of which only two are currently released), and is surprisingly compelling, rather than being an excuse plot to drive the gameplay along.

I think the game does drop you into it a little hard, as even with the "tutorial" of the first five days, I did die often enough to rage quit a fair few times. Granted, it means that I valued my successes more when I finally achieved them, but it was a bit more painful than it needed to be. This is also an issue with the available resources, in that it is possible to destroy your (annoyingly unique) tools, without knowing how to avoid it.

The game puts you through the emotional wringer, as when I finally reached the end of episode 1, I initially thought I had completed the game (it's a good umpteen hours of gameplay), and then was rather torn when I discovered I'd only finished episode 1. Bit of delight that there was more to play, but also bit of fear I'd have to keep fighting for survival. It is hard, in a good way.

It's rather brilliant overall though, having kept me coming back to it despite rage quitting repeatedly. In my mind, that's the sign of an excellent game. If you're any sort of fan of survival games, you've likely picked it up already, but if not, maybe have a look at it.

Highly recommended.

Tagged: Game Survival First person Hard difficulty PC