Bringing the challenges of survival to a very realistic circumstance where you are stranded out in the winter wilderness and forced to withstand hunger, thirst, cold, and nature is an unforgiving title from Hinterland called The Long Dark.
This title will have you make decisions that will ultimately affect your living condition and chance of survival! While the early access has been out on steam for some time, seeing this game on console is just as riveting as something so dark yet really possible.
The newest addition to the game and the main reason it is no longer in early access is the addition of their story mode, Wintermute. Following the progress of a plane crash victim that is stuck trying to survive while searching for his lost passenger, and old companion, you find that the area you are in has undergone a strange phenomenon and this same event caused you to crash.
This is by far the harshest game I have ever played. With death as easy as being confused for minutes at a time, you really will need to know what to do to survive! The moment I started the campaign was my first time ever playing and it did not bode well at first.
Constantly trying to balance your stats while setting yourself up with enough food and drink, just to last you until your next stop and even then searching for more just to resupply, is no easy task. Food is the hardest to stock up on since hunting is difficult, but drinks are easy thanks to all the plant life and snow surrounding you.
The struggles of surviving alone in nature is a harsh reality that this game is surrounding at all times. Knowing your next few moves is mandatory if you plan to avoid The Long Dark for as long as possible.
The survival mode is just as ruthless, but without the tasks for the campaign, so it is easier when you only have to think about yourself and what would be best for you. Let's just hope the loneliness isn't maddening!
Here's my comically bad start to the Wintermute campaign:
The game has a great art style to it that makes it both pretty and natural. Even without using the highest of graphical definition to build the world around the player, they provide a visual experience that could make you feel the dangers of being in this harsh predicament.
Not playing a lot of music, as there wouldn't be any while you are out in the wilderness, during this game will leave you feeling alone with nothing but your own thoughts to keep you entertained while surviving. Despite the lack of music, this game is about listening to cues of nature around you whether you are listening for the possible food or possible dangers.
The survival mode is the true reason to come back to this game as you can always start up a new survival game to see how long you can last. This mode has kept players entertained for years before coming to console and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Aside from the survival mode, the campaign seems to have the possibility of being completed in multiple ways although it will be mostly the same situation and location. This provides a little more replayability, but the focus would be more on the survival mode.
What Could Be Better
Difficulty options. The addition to options to make the game easier or harder should be here for players who aren't great at surviving. While some may disagree, they could really just put it on the hardest difficulty and be fine. Starting this game for the first time and even after the hours I have put into it so far have been very frustrating and difficult as I am constantly nearing death. While this may be the nature of the game, the campaign is proving to be the hardest one I have ever had to complete already.
Very harsh, realistic game that is unforgiving and relentless. Perfect for those who love a challenge and those who wish to see how long they could last given this situation. It is a simply a fun-strating game!
"It's like a fun, self-test on your own survival skills"