The Long Dark is the game I’ve been waiting for my entire life.
It’s original. It’s unique. It’s the first time I’ve ever played anything like it.
My whole life I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast. I spent the entirety of my youth in the forests of Ontario swimming, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, you name it. Unfortunately from Fall to Spring, there was always school or work in my way, meaning I couldn’t get to enjoy the outdoors like I wanted to. So I’ve always craved a way to enjoy what I love about the outdoors in a video game.
Some games have come close. First, there was the legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. This was one of the first games that allowed me to explore forests and mountains of Hyrule in my spare time when camping and hiking weren’t a possibility. It’s a game that certainly scratched my itch for exploration and adventure but unfortunately, it lacked the freedom that an unpredictable open world has. It was always missing something.
Next was Skyrim. I must’ve spent hundreds of hours in that game by now, simply walking the lands, exploring the caves, forests, and mountains. I’ve collected flowers and items. I’ve hunted wolves and bears and dragons. But even Skyrim never really fulfilled what I was seeking. There was never a necessity to hunt and survive in Skyrim. The point of the game is to feel powerful and the more you play, the more powerful you got and the easier it was to survive. That’s not what outdoor adventure, in reality, is like at all. While my need for adventure was met, it still didn’t feel right.
Enter The Long Dark.
The Long Dark is an outdoor survival game that consists of strategic decision-making and survival mechanics like no other. It’s a game where you feel powerless to your surroundings, exactly how nature and survival should feel like. It’s a game where planning ahead as much as possible is a necessity and yet, is challenged at every turn you make. The Long Dark is a game where you avoid wolves and bears rather than cutting them down like origami animals. In a real survival situation, the last thing you want to do is tangle with any sort of predator, which is a mistake I’m sure a lot of us has made in the game. Along with injury, bullets and guns are a rarity that should be reserved for last-ditch efforts for survival, choosing between avoiding starving to death or defending yourself from a predator.
This Indie-survival game by Hinterland isn’t about rising to the occasion or heroic effort. It’s a game where you survive, or die. There is no in-between, it’s binary. It’s a game where you learn from your many costly, lethal mistakes, just to survive a day or two longer the next time around. It’s a game where you scavenge out of necessity rather than greed, filling your bags with just enough stuff to survive but not enough that it hinders your mobility.
The Long Dark is a personal journey between player and game. It’s one where no playthrough is ever the same, much like no camping, hiking or hunting adventure is ever the same.