The Long Dark
|a game by
|Hinterland Studio Inc.
|9.5/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown
|9.0/10 - 4 votes
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|Best Indie Games, Sandbox Games, Open World Games, Games Where Choices Matter, Walking Simulator Games, Christmas Games, Underwater Games, Games Like The Forest, Games Like Don't Starve Together, Games Like Subnautica, Games Like Firewatch, Games Like Conan Exiles
An outstanding combination of survival gameplay and narrative experience, The Long Dark is one of the best games in its genre. Fans of pure survival games will love the game’s complex Survival Mode, while those looking for a more story-driven affair will be enamored by the wonderfully written Story Mode.
Survival with a purpose
Most of the games in the survival/adventure genre generally ignore the plot: there’s never any question about why are you standing in the middle of a field in Minecraft, for example. Conversely, The Long Dark uses its narrative as the driving force behind the player’s actions.
The game stars Will Mackenzie, a crash-landed pilot who must brave the unforgiving cold of the Canadian wilderness. Things get worse real quick in The Long Dark – turns out that there’s a geomagnetic regional storm that impedes communications with the rest of the world.
The Canadian wilderness setting is great, and having to keep yourself warm adds an extra layer of complexity to the already difficult task of surviving alone.
Through the eyes of a survivor
To add realism to the game, The Long Dark uses a first-person perspective, putting players in the skin of Will. The first person also means that your visibility is somewhat limited – you never known what might be creeping behind your back, until it’s too late.
Looting is an important part of survival, but so is exploration. Getting to know your surroundings isn’t just a must, it’s also a rewarding and satisfying gaming mechanic. Unlike games like Subnautica – where sometimes it feels like wandering off too far is penalized (Reaper Leviathans, anyone?) – exploration is encouraged in The Long Dark.
Contrary to games like Rust or Minecraft where building a refuge might be your number one priority, there’s no such thing in The Long Dark. Instead, you’ll have to brave the elements without building anything, just by using caves or other refuges that you might come across in your journeys.
Three modes – one objective
The game is divided into Survival, Story, and Challenge modes. While most players might want to play the Story mode first (to get the gist of what the game’s about,) Survival is where you’ll spend most of your time playing The Long Dark. Keep in mind, there are no happy endings in this game, and your only objective is to survive for as long as you can in a doomed world.
It might sound a bit depressing, but the unapologetic rawness of The Long Dark is also one of its strongest attributes. Granted, the dreary atmosphere of the game might be too much for some players to handle, but if you’re looking for a realistic survival experience in the same vein as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, then The Long Dark is the game you were looking for.
The unbeatable combination of a moving plotline and complex survival mechanics means that The Long Dark is an instant classic in the survival genre. The bleak world the game paints might prove a bit too oppressive for some, but the rich exploration and satisfying gameplay loop are more than enough to recommend the game. The Challenge mode also keeps things interesting long after you’ve finished the game’s captivating story, or after you’ve been killed by a bear in Survival mode for the hundredth time.
- Excellent feeling of exploration and discovery
- Simple yet charming graphics
- Outstanding plot
- Complex survival mechanics
- The feeling of hopelessness can be suffocating
- The absence of building mechanics can lead to what feels like a lack of progression