A few weeks ago during the Steam sale I was looking for a new game to become obsessed with. I quite enjoy my life simulators and RPG’s but I found myself looking at a game called The Long Dark, a survival game set in the frozen wilderness of Canada after a geomagnetic disaster. There’s no zombies, which is good for me as I would probably just scream a lot, just you, mother nature and a load of wild animals, that depending on what setting you play on, want to eat you.
Sounds good right?
So I purchase the game, started it up and chose voyageur difficulty with “mystery lake” as my starting location.
I did not survive long.
The game spawns you in the middle of nowhere with no instructions and off you trudge to look for shelter, food or even just some warmer clothes. My first attempt resorted to me finding a small raised shelter and then attempting to make a fire by dropping the wood I had collected onto the floor and throwing matches at it to light it. It didn’t work.
I was determined to not read anything about the mechanics of the game and it wasn’t until my character started suffering hypothermia that in my panic I pressed every button on my controller and realised there was a radial menu with things like a campfire, water, food etc. These could be crafted or used depending if you had the materials. Unfortunately this knowledge came too late and I died from hypothermia a short while later.
My second attempt was a tad more successful. I spawned in a different place and managed to survive a night now that I learned how to make fire. Travelling during the day I found I was right near a lake with lots of fishing huts with a reasonable amount of supplies I could gather. Feeling pretty confident I travelled between each of the huts stripping them of supplies and continued my adventure. All was going swimmingly that was until I fell through some weak ice and ended up with hypothermia again. I managed to make a fire and heal myself of the affliction but by then my health meter had taken such a beating that the second time I fell through the ice I didn’t survive.
Third times the charm right?
Well it was at first as I found an actual house and could use it as my base of operations. A few days hiding and surviving I decide to venture further out. Unfortunately for me I happen upon a wolf that chased me back to my house, I barely make it back inside, patched myself up and waited a few hours. I then open the door and find the wolf waiting outside, it launches itself at me, scaring the living daylights out of me and as I press buttons frantically I can add a different style death to my list.
At that point I change the setting to pilgrim mode and manage to survive 11 days before I get myself stuck on a railway bridge, the game glitches a little and the only way I can move is sideways which results in me falling to my death.
At least it wasn’t hypothermia this time.
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