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The Long Dark Review

Posted: 17 months ago, last updated 5 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

The Long Dark is a thoughtful exploration-survival game where you have crash-landed in the icy Canadian wilderness after a global disaster and must find a way to survive. Through exploring, crafting and fighting you must look after your body temperature, caloric intake, hunger, thirst and fatigue. This means taking on not only the harsh environment by wildlife and other environmental dangers.

You can play in Story or Survival mode in one of the six regions: "Mystery Lake", "Coastal Highway", "Pleasant Valley", "Forlorn Muskeg", "Desolation Point", and "Timberwolf Mountain". Your objective is to survive as long as you can while the game simulates a full day/night cycle affecting wildlife, windchill and other dangers. You can only save progress in buildings or when you sleep. If you die it's game over, the original save file is deleted, and you must start again.

Navigating is unlike other survival games. Without a map or compass, you need to learn the landmarks to find your way around Great Bear Island. You can draw your own map to create a local snapshot of resources. As the game world is over 50 square kilometres is quite possible to get lost. To help, you can leave markers on rocks, trees and cabins. If you spend more time on mapping, you can collect polaroids to unveil small portions of the surrounding area.

"Welcome to the quiet apocalypse," says the marketing, and it is right. This is a low key experience compared to other survival games. There are no zombies, other players or alien dangers. It's just you and ice-cold silence of the wild.

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 16

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Genres: Adventure, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Simulation

Accessibility: 17 features

Developer: Hinterland Games (@HinterlandGames)

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 19 hours and 30 hours to complete. The story mode is episodic at about 8 hours an episode. The survival mode can be played for much longer.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

The Long Dark usually costs £19.99 to £26.99.
 

The Long Dark

 
Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'. Free episodes can be downloaded, the first three of five are available:
  • Do not go gentle - Bush pilot Will Mackenzie (player character) and Dr. Astrid Greenwood are separated after their plane crashes deep in the Northern Canadian wilderness in the aftermath of a mysterious flash of light in the sky. Struggling to survive as he desperately searches for Astrid, Mackenzie comes across the small town of Milton, where he begins to understand the scope of this quiet apocalypse.
  • Luminance Fugue - Mackenzie’s search for Astrid takes him deeper into the savage Winter wilderness. A mysterious trapper may be the key to finding Astrid, but can he be trusted?
  • Crossroads Elegy - In the aftermath of events in Milton, an enigmatic stranger rescues Dr. Astrid Greenwood (player character) from near death. Facing the blizzards of Pleasant Valley, Astrid must bring all her skills as a doctor to bear on the survivors she encounters. But will she find Mackenzie, and get closer to the mystery that's taking them to Perseverance Mills?

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 16 for realistic violence towards human and animal characters. As a survival game, the player’s character is required to hunt for food, which necessitates killing rabbits and stags. This can be achieved by using either a rifle or a bow and arrow. For example, when hit by a rifle bullet the Stag bellows loudly, this is accompanied by a blood splatter and the animal falls to the ground. Similarly, when a rabbit is shot is will squeal, and there are small blood splatters.

The game also includes cut scenes, in one of which a character is seen restrained in a chair and subjected to repeated punches to the face. His hands are restrained around the rear of the chair, the character is unable to defend or move away from the violence which is regarded as realistic-looking.

Skill Rating

16+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. This is a high skill and challenging game. You face a harsh environment and must carefully find and manage resources in a realistic and unrelenting environment. Crafting items, making the right decision about caution and ambition as well as eeking out your food make this a tough challenge for older teenagers.

AccessibilityAccessibility

The news and menu text is good contrast but quite small. You can adjust the size of subtitles but not the menu text. You can choose to either hold a but or quick-press a button to escape from a struggle in the game. There is an assisted auto walk option.

On Switch you can use gyro controls for the camera, and adjust this to suite your playstyle.
 
Our The Long Dark Accessibility Report documents 17 accessibility features:

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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