The Long Dark

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Posted: 12 weeks ago, last updated 11 weeks ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

Overview

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.

Details

Release date: September 2014

Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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

 

Tips

Commitment

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.

Costs

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 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.

Accessibility

Accessibility for this game is as follows:
System Settings

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.


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Similar Games

The following games are like The Long Dark. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to The Long Dark for younger age ratings.

The Long Dark is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to The Long Dark in the following lists:

Free With Xbox Game Pass

Xbox Game Pass is a subscription service that provides 100 top-tier games. Once subscribed you can download the game at no extra cost. Of the 100 games available the ones in our recommended database are listed below.

You cannot play games you install when your Xbox Game Pass expires, although you do keep any games you have purchased at a discount with your membership. You will need to purchase any in-game extra content in addition to the subscription, although some games include this content for free.
  • Xbox Game Pass £7.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass Ultimate including Xbox Live Gold for online play £10.99/month
  • Xbox Game Pass PC £7.99/month
Xbox Game Pass Ultimate also enables you to stream over 100 Xbox Game Pass titles, similar to the service offered by PlayStation Now, on mobile devices.

Xbox Live Gold usually costs £6.99/month and is the Xbox service that lets you play with others online. It also offers a few free games each month and substantial discounts.
 

Attempt The Impossible

How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except this with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.

This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Collosus or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us for example) and let them give you all they've got.
 

Inhabit Another World

Whether it’s a simple puzzle grid, a battlefield or a universe of planets to visit, all games create virtual spaces in which to play. Some of these are simply the background to a campaign - the game’s unfolding drama, missions or challenge. But others invite you to invest in the worlds they create, move in, tend to and inhabit in fantastical ways.

The games in this section invite you to spend time in spaces that have a sense of place, life and character. Worlds that hold history and lore in their landscapes, flora, fauna and inhabitants; environments that respond to your presence and invite you to restore them to their former glory.
 

Survive The Night

Surviving in games is often a key element. Some games, however, make it the main focus. With minimal resources and little light can you make it through to the morning? Can you prepare a shelter as the daylight dwindles in time for you to cope with the lurking creatures of the dark?

Whether this is as simple as closing the door to keep the zombies out in Minecraft or as complex as crafting food, clothing and medicine to cope with the freezing blackness of The Long Dark these games are exhilarating as they pose a strategic puzzle with personal consequences.

Many of these games offer an open world in which to survive, which opens up more ways of preparing for and then making it through the night time. This, of course, leads to another day where you need to spend time and resources wisely while exploring your surroundings.
 
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