In The Long Dark players will be taking on the harsh environment of the Canadian wilderness and the threats that lie within across several challenging game modes. Set after a global disaster leaves the world without power players step into the shoes of a crash landed pilot who finds himself surrounded by the cold dark environment of the wild.
As one would expect from this setting players will find themselves immersed in first person survival and exploration as you navigate and scavenge from the environment you find yourself in. Given the global disaster was geomagnetic in nature this world is also without the modern electronic equipment that we have come to rely upon. This means no cars or communication technology that means you’ll be surviving alone on foot.
The Long Dark splits this adventure experience across three distinct game modes that alter your overall objective in this harsh environment. The core initial mode is the story mode that follows the path of Will Mackenzie & Dr. Astrid Greenwood as they try to survive together following the mysterious global disaster. Following this players can play the survival mode which is sandbox in design as it removes the story framework and intended to let you freely explore and survive without limitations although does impose permanent death. In survival mode you can select from 4 pre-set difficulty settings or tweak specifics to your preferred challenge. Lastly is the challenge mode that offers several specific challenges for players to overcome that will push you to a whole new level of survival content. These challenges are also shorter than the core game although will still take around 2 hours to complete with challenges such as racing against an incoming blizzard, outrunning a bear that has your scent and other unique variations that lead to modifying game boosts in survival mode.
Gameplay in The Long Dark occurs from a first person perspective with players controlling their lone survivor similar to other first person adventure games. To add further difficulty and sense of survival The Long Dark lacks significant game tutorials leaving players to discover the best survival methods for themselves. Core to this survival is the management of your statuses like thirst, hunger, fatigue, calories and current cold level that each need specific resources or external influence to maintain. Calorie management is particularly key with each of your actions draining your energy reserves that turns The Long Dark into a game of efficiency.
Your playground for this efficiency challenge of survival is the large wilderness of Northern Canadian that splits itself into a dozen regions that each hold different supplies. Locations include mines, farmland, seaside towns and a diverse set of mountain ranges alongside the wide open frozen plains. These supplies are similarly diverse with 100s of different items that have different uses and broadly fall into the categories of first aid, clothing, food/drink, tools and materials.
With the game relying on some random generation behind the scenes no two games are the same with the location of items and the wildlife in particular changing (although not the underlying map) that may alter your survival pathway. With many items depreciating over time or limited in use players must be constantly on the move and seeking out replacement items in the worlds day/night cycle.
- Survive a harsh Canadian environment following a global catastrophic event that has left players stranded.
- Find tools and resources across the frozen landscape from different regions.
- Realistic weather,, animals and day/night cycles that builds the survival atmosphere.
- Manage your needs of warmth, fatigue, thirst and hunger to survive.
- Permanent death mechanic in the customisable survival mode provides endless new challenges amongst the two other game modes (story and challenge)
- Buy The Long Dark (Humble Store)
- Buy The Long Dark (Microsoft Store)
- Buy The Long Dark (Nintendo Store)
Review Platform: PC