The Long Dark
Genre: Survival / Open World / First-Person
Developer: Hinterland Studio
"The light of my lamp was flickering while I passed through the mine, a part of the tunnel was collapsed and had only a very narrow passage, coming out into the blinding daylight again I can feel the wind tearing at the hood of my wind breaker. The highways surface is torn up, the burst asphalt shows the power of the frost that takes over everything and even the dry grass seems to shiver in the cold. While I trudge through the snow-covered landscape it crunches under my boots and my thoughts are circling around a warm fire that I do look forwards to." The open world first person survival game impresses by a beautiful painted graphic and the touching hopeless lonely frozen area where mankind lost the struggle against wilderness and an endless winter. There is a sandbox mode available and a story mode.
The Single-player game is about your survival in the Canadian wilderness. You are confronted with wolfs and bears, the merciless cold and the problem to find food. You can melt snow and cook the water at any stove or fireplace, but for food you will need to go hunting or fishing and your resources to do this are very limited and get used up. The weather changes can let you get lost in a snowstorm and die by freezing, the animals might kill you if you don't watch out carefully or you die freezing after a wolf did tear your clothes apart, you can fast starve by hunger and you will find several dead bodies around that will remind you of this. You will have to gather, use and salvage whatever you find to repair your equipment and build new one and keep yourself alive. It can be hard and very challenging to find useful equipment.
"It was a clear bright lightblue wintersday. The pale sun polished the ice on the lake as if it was glas. But from one moment to the next one the weather changed, dark clouds gathered and casted shadows, fog came up and the wind was howling in the sudden blizzard." Generally everything can kill you, even old tins with spoiled food, uncooked water, a broken ankle might slow you down so that a wolf catches you and a wolf attack might cause so much bleeding and infection that you die within minutes if you don't have any bandage and antiseptic. The game is pretty realistic although the graphic is rather not, because it is painted in a comic style. Even if you finally find a gun to protect yourself the bullets for it are limited and it won't keep you fed for a long time. The game keeps you busy by its fast day and night circle, the dangers you are facing and the needs of your character. If your condition is too low you will not be able to do anything any more, so you always got to watch it. It is comforting that the caught animals will supply you with the best clothes, some that you can craft at any workbench. The developer Hinterland Studio provides you with feathers and a craft-able bow for this hunting if you find the forge to melt metal for the arrowheads.
There is a secret vault with a lot of loot you can find in every region but the placement is randomly generated at each game you start. Once you die your progress is gone. In the end time scenario of The Long Dark you can travel between several regions that are surrounded by unsuperable mountains, find empty cars, mines and various different abandoned buildings in which you'll find some loot but the loot does not respawn. In the end you will probably die when you run out of ammunition but some traps can still provide food for you for a long time. In story mode wood or tools or even the repair of your clothes might get your biggest concern. You just don't get the recources you'd need to play all side quests and quests there before you used all up. Some is replaceable but some small things like a wetstone to sharpen your tools you need to search forever. Using up your food and organizing new one can keep you so busy that you might not even get to it to do your quests. Some can start feeling tedious and boring. Some will make you go back and repeat everything you did, because you missed out on doing something important, like learning to craft some mittens. The story mode can feel a bit like a hidden tutorial by this. If you don't understand in time how everything works you'll need to do it twice. The survival sandbox mode gives you the option to choose between getting attacked or not by animals, playing hardcore or rather normal, however if you die it's game over.
Unfortunately the developers of this game seem to get a bit overbearing by the good reviews they had on their game. They ban people at their steam forum for no plausible reason if you give them feedback on their game development and dare to argue with them. So you better just stay away from their forum.
We recommend: If you don't dislike the comic style of this game, buy it! It is an amazing game.