The Long Dark

“What will I do now… ?”

Let’s face it: winter is coming and the white walkers are not there, but how can you survive when you only have snow? White and cold snow. And a few wild animals ready to eat you.

This is the main plot in The Long Dark: you are a survivor in Canadian wilderness where your plane just crashed and you face the truth of global disaster… SURVIVAL IS A B*TCH. What do I have in my pockets? Just a few things. What can I do here alone…? Those are the kind of questions that start to echo in your head. The game puts you in a place you don’t want to be. You don’t face zombies, crazy people, mercenaries or infected animals… you only need to try to survive as long as you can until you die.

The Long Dark is the first project of Hinterland Studio, a developer firm located in Canada with some really big names: The firm was founded by Raphael van Lierop, the p
roducer of Company of Heroes, narrative director of Far Cry 3 and director of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. The male voice main character Its SNAAAAKE (yes, I’m not bluffing) David Hayter. In the team is also Alan Lawrance, technical director for Saints Row and Red Faction. Hokyo Lim, art director for League of Legends. Marianne Krawczyk, writer for the God of War series. Da vid Chan, audio producer for Mass Effect and the Baldur’s Gate series. And Ken Rolston, former lead designer of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind joined the game’s production team. Nice huh?

The only mode available right now is a sandbox mode where you have to scavenge and get any resource you may find within the world. It also makes a big focus in a few things: Something really harsh and complicated like trying to survive with only a few elements and simple gameplay with beautiful landscapes. And this deserves a shout: The art style is outstanding for an indie game, unlike the music that so far does not deserve any compliment but remember this is an early access review.

Something really interesting is the weather, simulated wind chill and temperature. It will be changing constantly and making you worry about the clothes you have and the environment you are. And that is only second to the freaking wolves chasing you around forcing you to make careful decisions: should I run away or would be better to try to fight them to get access to that warm cabin?

The mechanics and controls are simple. You move just like in any other first person view game and HUD is not present so you can enjoy a panoramic view. It is you, a landscape that would be beautiful if it wasn’t trying to kill you and just a little crosshair that helps you to grab items or where to place them. Crafting and item management are handled in a special menu which is good for a survival game: It’s quick and easy to learn.

The game is really fun and you will definitely will enjoy it if you like survival games, but unfortunately the game is extremely limited in its current state and it seems like the developers have drastically slowed down in their progress or are working for a really huge patch. As of now, is worth about 5 to 10 hours of game play to most people but the main issue is that after you find good clothing and a good gun, the game becomes too easy. The only thing left to do is to explore and loot but the buildings around both maps are quite generic. Progression will be key for the title to become a huge hit. Right now the key is to survive, but would be so nice to add secondary objectives to incentivize the players to stay long enough in the dark.

You can support the development and get early access to the game for only $19.99 in Steam.

IMPORTANT: Early access reviews evaluate unfinished games. This title is a work in progress and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review’s publication.