It’s a good sign when a videogame creates some kind of psychosomatic reaction. Playing ‘The Long Dark’ will make you feel cold, so frightfully cold that you’ll revel in the thought that you could make a warm cup of coffee whenever you want, or put a jumper on. Set in a Northern wilderness, the game is ostensibly a survival game but don’t let that fool you into lumping it in with the wave of DayZ and Minecraft clones we’ve seen this year. Instead this is a much more grounded and realistic take on the genre.
After a plane crash all you have are some clothes and your conciousness. You walk around a barren snow-coated wilderness and over a short span of time you start to see deer running in the distance and beautiful sunsets over expansive forests. You also begin to find corpses, abandoned shelters and signs of ruin. It’s hard to know what to make of it all but you don’t have long to decide as the game starts letting you know through a well-judged narration that you’re hungry, or more likely cold, or thirsty, or tired. Before you know it you’ll be scavenging half-ruined clothes off frozen corpses to wear and keep yourself warm, eating whatever you can steal and eyeing up the local wildlife as a possible source for your next meal.
The Long Dark has a long way to go before release, many features are missing including a story mode and some important crafting options like building snow shelters, but for now they definitely have the feel right. It’s difficult to create such a strong atmosphere with what appear to be simple graphics, but the developers have absolutely nailed it and we can’t wait to see where they take us with this idea.
The Long Dark is available on Steam for £14.99 as an Early Access title.