Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Long Dark Early Access Preview

I'm frozen right through to my core, staggering through snow and barely able to see even a handful of steps in front of me. My stomach aches, my mouth is bone dry and I haven’t slept enough in days. There’s food in my pack but if I stop to eat and don’t find shelter I’ll become just another frozen corpse. I can hear wolves howling nearby, each step I take is followed by a mumbled prayer that they don’t come for me, hungry for food, hungry to survive. Like me.

All of a sudden I can see a shape forming ahead, it grows, large, looming, as I get closer I realise it’s a building, closer, a dam, I quicken my pace as much as the snow allows and find a door, unlocked, I practically fall into it and bask in the immediate wave of relief that follows it closing shut behind me. Finally I can eat, finally I can drink, finally I can sleep.

A haunting and imposing world. 
This is, in essence, The Long Dark. A game where your sole objective is to survive. There are no zombies, there are no mutants, there are no other players. There is just you, the elements and the wildlife. Your plane crashes and you must survive in the wilderness, as either a male or female survivor, able to choose from a selection of starting locations. You can play on three settings which alter the ease of survival, affecting resources and animal aggressiveness etc.

You start off with clothes, minimal food and water and a flare and then it’s up to you. In its current stage there is no story mode (though it is coming, with an impressive cast including David Hayter) and the only objective is to stay alive for as long as you can. It isn’t a huge sandbox but it must be explored methodically if you are to survive and feels vast and dense because of this. You must find food, water and shelter to live out the cold but you can’t just hunker down, you have to venture out and search for resources or you will die. Animals will attack, you will freeze and you will suffer injuries and illness. You can find some basic weapons and are able to find treatment and medicine. Exploration is always rewarded with great environments and a wealth of resources but you must be careful not to weigh yourself down only to be caught outside in a blizzard and freeze to death.

It's a wonderfully unique gaming world.
The game excels because of its atmosphere, the world feels cold, empty, dangerous. You really feel like you are alone, struggling to survive. It also helps that it’s quite a pretty game and manages to be so without overtaxing your system (I run it on a three year old iMac). Add to this the fact that it can be played with a gamepad – there’s nothing like a wide TV and a PS4 controller! – and you’re left with a nicely performing game.

All things told this is a very enjoyable game that manages to set itself apart from the wealth of other survival games on the market right now. I’d definitely recommend trying it on Xbox One or Steam.

1 comment:

  1. Great review sounds a game to be tried and the atmosphere created a winner.