The Long Dark Review

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Posted: 5 months ago, last updated 3 weeks ago.

Author: Andy 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.

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 16+, ESRB TEEN

Release Date: 22/09/2014

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

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

Developer: @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

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?


This game is free with Xbox Game Pass.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

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.

ESRB TEEN for Blood, Violence, Language.

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.

Difficulty

How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

Select Difficulty: Select difficulty from a range of presets.

Assistance With Controls: You can get the game to assist aiming, steering, reloading, jumping, running etc.

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

Moderate Reading: Moderate reading required.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

Some Dialogue is Voiced: Some of the game dialogue and narrative is voice acted.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Multiple Buttons & Two Sticks: Can play with multiple buttons and two sticks.

Mouse and Keys: Can play with mouse and multiple keys.

Motion Controls Available: You can use motion controls, tilting the controller to steer for example.

Invert X/Y Axis: You can invert the direction required to control looking and aiming.

Holding Down Buttons Optional: Holding down buttons not required or can be turned off or switched to toggling the action on and off.

Rapid Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing not required or can be skipped or disabled.

Adjust Mouse/Stick Sensitivity: Adjust how sensitive mouse/stick controls are.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

High Contrast Mode: You can adjust the contrast of the game to be high-contrast.

Audio Cues for Visual Events: Audio is provided to indicate visual events.

Motion sickness friendly: Option to reduce motion sickness (motion blur, depth of field, field of vision).

Head-Up-Display Visibility

Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.

Adjust Head Up Display: Remove or resize head-up display to remove distraction and make more visible.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Customise Audio Levels: Control volume levels of specific events and elements in the game.

System Settings

Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: Andy Robertson



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