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The Long Dark

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So Miros mentioned this game a while ago in a status update, and it intrigued me, so I checked a few videos, then decided to take the plunge (even though it was early access, but I'm not as worried about it as I normally would be because while the studio is new, the devs are actually all experienced pros).


Right now it's just single-player sandbox survival in the Canadian wilderness, and you have to manage fatigue, cold, hunger and thirst. They plan on adding single-player story later. No zombies, no 1000m snipers, just you and the wilderness and whatever loot you can find and keep in good repair. Your physical activity and how much you carry can ramp up your calorie burn, so no DayZ mod marathon man-style cross country runs without significant consequences.There's some time acceleration running, so you have to make decisions regarding hunger and cold fairly quickly, or it can easily end up weakening and then killing you. After the elements, wildlife, in the form of wolves, is the other big killer. This isn't about finding ALL THE GUNZ, it's more like find one hunting rifle (and keep it in good repair) and five bullets and try to hunt a few deer before you starve after the packaged food loot runs out. Tools, firewood, warm clothes and repair materials are some of the other essentials you will need to find or forage if you want to last more than a few days.


Updates are releasing quick, I just got the game a few days ago and there has already been two. I'm pretty terrible so far, haven't quite made five days survival yet, but I'm also still learning the map, although I'm sure there's already plenty of player made maps out there if you don't like risky exploring.


Plus, they got Jennifer Hale to voice the female survivor, not something you'd expect from an early access title.

Edit: Oh, and it's David Hayter voicing the male survivor! So basically you can pretend its Solid Snake lost in the Canadian wilderness.


Anybody else playing The Long Dark? Let's swap survivor stories.

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Unlike most games out in the market, The Long Dark has no winning scenario. Nothing in your inventory lasts forever, everybody dies at the end, but it's the effort and process of trying to survive that makes the game so fascinating.\


Haven't got it yet, but one caveat I see from the vids is that the time compression is too high, an hour ingame is only 5-10min real time. It makes the game too stressing when there's rarely a break even if you're indoors warming up.

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I ran a timer and kept an eye on the game clock, it seems to run at 1 minute in-game for 5 seconds of real time (as of the most recent build, this could easily change). That's x12 time acceleration, and was the reason I got so confused about why my calories were running down so fast on my first session. Once you understand this, you realize that despite the laid back visuals, the game is actually making a lot of demands on your decision making, and 3 real minutes spent futzing around with your inventory while standing outside in the snow means the in-game character has been freezing his or her butt off for 36 minutes. The game's clock is relentless, decisions and planning are best made out of game, then executed as efficiently as possible in game.

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I picked this up during the winter Steam sale, and it's been a solid investment so far. I’ve played maybe a handful of sandbox runs, most of which have been good fun. At this point there are two maps for Sandbox mode, Mystery Lake and Coastal Highway. The two seem to offer noticeably different experiences, although I haven’t spent a lot of time on Coastal Highway yet so it’s not an in-depth comparison.


You have 4 basic needs to manage: Fatigue, Cold, Hunger, and Thirst. Of the four, Hunger (and your calorie count) seem to be the primary point of failure in my games so far. Cold limits your ability to explore and forage, but even the basic clothes you start with is enough to survive in shelter. Once the food you find run out, your options are limited to living off of the wildlife.


Ah, the wildlife. The beautiful wildlife that inhabits this serene winter landscape. The fish swimming in the frozen lakes, the bunnies hopping merrily across the crisp snow, the majestic deer roaming around, the wolves… The wolves…. Aaaah no, not the wolves! Please not the wolves!





In the Post-Geomagnetopocalyptic future, the wolves are the alpha predators. Whatever killed everyone also made the wolves little psychotic furballs of imminent demise. Unless you have “the” rifle, your choices are “run” or “get your ass kicked.” With a little practice, you can generally make the wolves flee after they maul you. I even managed to kill one mano-y-lobo once. But every encounter leaves you badly mangled and in need of first aid. Bandages to stop the profuse bleeding, and antiseptic to clean the wound and remove the possibility of infection. Chances are whatever underlying cause eventually makes you take a chance and get killed, a wolf will do the actual killing.


My best effort so far ended after 9 days and 16 hours, give or take. It started in the dark on a forested hillside, with the wind howling and no light and limited visibility. It took a mad dash through the dark and chasing off multiple wolves with my one trusty flare to finally stumble upon some shelter. In there, I found the rifle and 5 rounds. Yatzee! Nearly 10 days later, there were no more round left and the meat from the wolves I had shot to craft a wolfpelt jacket had run out. All the fishing tackle had snapped, and the meager supply of canned food was gone. My last meal consisted of 6 cans of soda to get me enough energy for a last-ditch journey. I eventually found myself back at my original shelter, which I knew was picked over. But a wolf had just killed a deer outside! With my last flare, I was going to scare off the wolf and take possession of the carcass. Visions of a deer meat feast floating in my starved brain, I lit the flare and approached. I pulled my arm back and let loose…. Only to watch the flare sail uselessly over the wolf’s head and into the snow behind it. The wolf then proceeded to tear my throat out.


10/10 would welcome our new Wolf overlords again.

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