In The Long Dark, you play as Mackenzie, a bush pilot living in northern Canada who is visited by an old friend who asks you to take them to a remote location. Reluctantly, you agree. It ends up being a dreadful mistake that causes your plane to crash in the middle of nowhere due to a mysterious light in the sky called the “First Flare.” This “First Flare” knocked out all your electrical equipment and doo-dads in the plane.
Now, lying face down in the snow with bruises and wounds, you’re disoriented and hurt. Hunger starts to creep up on you. You’re beginning to feel parched and cold. You hear the wolves’ howl in the immediate distance, and you’re starting to fear for your life. Oh, and your friend is missing too! So, no point moping around your crashed plane. Time to go straight out into… The Long Dark!
In The Long Dark, you will depend heavily on the resource management system to survive the cold and harsh climate of northern Canada; a very important task that isn’t easy to do. Should you forget to eat something for a considerable amount of time, you’ll grow weak and tired quickly. Should you forget to sleep or drink, the same results will follow.
If you want to survive, you’ll need to find and gather resources. Everything from cans of peaches, to mushrooms, stale crackers, and even dog food and other random plants. Every single element is crucial if you want to stay alive. You need to find cloth to patch up your clothes, you need to find items for first aid to battle disease or heal any wounds you may get, and you need weapons and tools to make your way through the harsh climate to find your friend.
Crafting tools and patching up your clothes is vital to keeping yourself alive. You will also need to stay warm if you don’t want to freeze to death, and that could happen a lot sooner than you might think it would. Finding a cottage in the middle of nowhere can be a godsend, or it can be just another streak of bad luck, depending on what’s in it.
The Long Dark will take you on an unforgettable journey through the beautiful scenery of a cold apocalypse. Each corner you turn where you might think you’ll find rescue, there’s only more snow where a slight mishap may end up costing you your life. It’s a great feeling and keeps you alert and on edge.
My main criticism lies in its realism at times. For example, trying to fish when your fishing line keeps snapping every thirty minutes doesn’t really scream reality. Last time I checked, fishing lines were quite strong, and shouldn’t break so easily. The same goes with almost every tool you use; they degrade quite quickly.
Nevertheless, it’s an atmospheric game, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys playing survival games. Having that uneasy feeling treading through the snowfall, and not knowing what lies ahead of you is as exciting as it is scary. A bunker filled with supplies? Or, maybe a pack of wolves? Whatever pops up in front of you in this vast wilderness filled with danger, you can be sure it’ll be something you either dream of or dread.