The Long Dark is the survival genre at its brutal best

If I could, I’d attach their heads to spikes and mark out the perimeter of my territory with their blood. The frozen fields are already littered with carcasses, and I’m wrapped in a stinking hide, but it’s not enough to keep the wolves at bay. They are wary of me, but their hunger for my flesh is stronger than their fear.

I’ve been living at Pleasant Valley Farmstead for two weeks but it feels like a lifetime. These are my adventures in The Long Dark [official site], a game which has singlehandedly convinced me that the survival genre has a bright future.

Previously, my attempts to survive The Long Dark hadn’t lasted more than a couple of in-game days, but that was a while back, when the game first entered Early Access. I’m not sure if it’s easier now or if it’s that I got lucky with my starting position, but this is the longest I’ve ever lived. Two weeks. I started playing on Saturday night and my first character didn’t manage to find shelter before dying, frozen and exhausted. My second attempt has been far more successful. I have a home, a large stockpile of wood for my fire, and a freezer full of bear, wolf and deer meat.

I’m playing on the default difficulty setting, though I’m very tempted by the ultra-tough Interloper mode, which sounds brutally apocalyptic with a climate that becomes more hazardous as time goes on, and declining wildlife. For now, though, I’m happy to stick with my current character and that is notable in and of itself.

The opening, when you’re lost and in need of shelter and food as quickly as possible, is the hardest part of the game. I imagine the mortality rate in the first few hours is astonishingly high, particularly for players, like me, who have no familiarity with the map, and cannot rely on memory to direct them toward shelter. It feels as if you’re being scoured off the face of the Earth by wind and biting ice, and the possibility of ever planning ahead more than five minutes seems impossible.

Now, in Pleasant Valley, I’m planning for the next day and the following week, maybe even a month down the line. I’m gathering supplies and preparing for expeditions. I have preferred loadouts for different types of trip, from fishing to deerstalking, and the lightest of kit for general exploratory work out in the unknown. The farmhouse contains enough food, water and wood to keep me heated, fed and hydrated for a long time, and the medicine cabinet in the bathroom is loaded up with painkillers, antibiotics and bandages.

Usually, when it comes to this kind of sandbox survival game, I either get annoyed when I die early, before I can gain a foothold in the world, or I get bored when I’ve established that foothold and everything is under control. The Long Dark manages to make both the initial trial and the subsequent moments of safety compelling, and it does that by forcing you to prioritise.

Every moment that you live, you’re burning calories, and possibly burning precious daylight or clear weather conditions as well. Rather than rushing around to fill whichever of your meters is running low, be it food, thirst or fatigue, you have time to breathe, to relax and to plan. Once you’ve found a safehouse – buildings cut off from the open world by a loading screen that establishes them as sanctuaries from the cold and the teeth and claws of nature – the clock isn’t ticking anywhere near as fast as it was when you were living without a roof over your head. You don’t even have to eat every five minutes, as in so many survival games. Yes, the harsh conditions mean you burn calories faster than I do sitting around browsing the internet all day (New Year’s weight loss resolution; get partially eaten by wolves in a blizzard), but if you eat a big hunk of meat before setting out for a day of hiking, you won’t need to scavenge berries to survive.

Instead, as you become relatively comfortable in its world, The Long Dark shifts your attention from your own internal stocks of warmth, food and water to the contents of your safehouse. My farmhouse is full of furniture, for example. Lots of lovely wood, ready for the fire. I need the fire to boil water and to cook the meat I bring back from my hunting trips, but the wood is no good to me unless I have a tool to break the furniture down. And so I spent one entire day scavenging nearby barns and outbuildings looking for a hatchet. I returned home emptyhanded, having wasted a day’s worth of food and water on the trip, as well as risking hypothermia because I pushed myself too hard and ended up far from home with only a small bundle of sticks to burn.

A setback but one from which I could recover. The next outing took me to the West side of the farm and I found a hatchet in a makeshift workshop inside a large barn. There were medical supplies and other tools as well, so on that trip I came out ahead.

Now I have enough wood to keep the homefires burning for ages. The house also looks less like it was abandoned in a hurry, with beds unmade and cushions scattered on the floor, and more like it has been derelict for decades. The furniture is all gone, and there are piles of wood and raw meat in the corners of the rooms. If I could craft the bones of the wolves into furniture, it’d all look a little bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Or maybe the Alaskan Chainsaw Massacre.

I’m doing good. I’m a survivor and I’m fairly sure I can keep on surviving. I’m confident. I can do this.

Except, food, water and fire aren’t enough. I’m anxious. I’m terrified. I can’t stay here forever. I need bullets.

Every time I go outside, I see wolves. I can’t tell if they’re actually attracted to the farm and the scent of meat cooking on the fire every night, or if the dead bear frozen out front has drawn them closer, but I see them every day now. Three times in the last five days I’ve returned home bleeding and limping, my clothes torn and my rifle jammed. The gun won’t last much longer and I don’t know how to repair it, and even if I did know how to prepare it, I’ve only got five bullets left.

I’ve considered making a bow but I don’t know how effective it would be and how the hell would I go about making arrows anyway? The gun is comforting, for the sound it makes as much as anything else. Even if I miss, the sound of the shot startles the pack and creates some breathing space. The whistle of an arrow and the twang of a bowstring aren’t going to scare the wolves from the door.

It was fear of the wolves that led me to my most foolish misadventure. Before I’d found the hatchet and chopped up all the furniture in the farm, I had vague plans to move on. I’d already discovered one other safe place, on top of a hill overlooking the farmland. It’s a signal tower and the building beneath is sturdy, if small, with a bed and a workbench. It’s hard to cook there, though, because there’s no indoor fireplace, just a barrel outside that is often useless due to strong winds. I’d slept there for a couple of nights and one clear morning, could see the fields of the farm down below, and decided to search the area.

I’d found the farmhouse late in the day, first spotting a red mailbox at the side of an unrecognisable road, buried beneath blankets of snow.

After a few days, I decided to leave again. This was the pre-hatchet days, remember, so my main goal was to find one, but I didn’t expect to return to the farm. I had stored up lots of meat and water, but those things could be replaced, and for all its charms, the farm didn’t have ammunition, knives or axes. I was still ripping the meat off corpses with my bare hands.

I decided I’d use the signal tower as a landmark, knowing it was close to the farm, and would head back toward it if I hadn’t found any other shelter by dusk. It’s visible from miles around and as I set off down the road, heading East into territory I hadn’t seen before, I felt confident. I’d find a prepper bunker packed with bullets and survival rations, or a settlement with a few small houses to loot. What could possibly go wrong?

Before I’d even crossed the fields and reached the road, I found out. The wind picked up, the snow started to whip around horizontally, decreasing visibility. Unable to see more than a few feet, and deaf to anything but the storm, I should have turned back, but I decided to push on to the road and keep going until the cold had worked its way through the thick layers I was wearing. By the time I’d reached the road, a full-on blizzard had descended and my body temperature was plummeting.

I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to make it back to the farmhouse, so I trudged on, looking for shelter. After a few false alarms, in the form of rocks and trees looking into view and briefly resembling either buildings or bears, I saw a car at the side of the road. It wouldn’t run, but it would provide shelter form the wind and accompanying chill.

There was an chocolate bar under one of the seats and I ate it as my condition deteriorated. I sat in that car for two hours. Outside, I would have been killed, but in the car I was simply dying, slowly but surely. The weather showed no signs of improving and I had a choice to make – home was too far to reach in these conditions, but there might be something ahead. It was either that or wait for the storm to stop and hope that I had enough energy to crawl home.

I’d rather die on my feet, searching, than sitting on my ass, so I stumbled out of the car and pushed onward.

The road ended shortly afterward. Rocks were scattered across it and it bent to the right, into a frozen river, where the route ended. There was a frozen corpse with some rations, a flare and an emergency stimulant. I had no idea what the long-term effect of the latter might be but this was definitely an emergency so I flipped off the cap and stabbed it into my arm. Or maybe into my heart, like that one scene in Pulp Fiction. Vision blurred but re-energised, I scrabbled around the corpse looking for anything else of use but there was nothing to be found. Not knowing what else to do, I staggered toward the sloping hill to my right, thinking it must eventually lead up to the signal tower, and hoped to find a cave. I had tinder and wood and matches, but no fire could survive in the face of the blizzard.

Visibility was still little more than zero.

After what felt like an eternity of struggling against both the wind and the slope of the hill, I didn’t even know which way I was heading anymore. I’d vaguely decided to go ‘up’, remembering a cave I’d seen on my way down from the signal tower, but either the hill was too steep or I was too weak to climb it. Everything was white and hypothermia had set in. I was dying.

And then, I saw a light. Or at least I thought it was a light. Something stood out in the static of the storm, a glow, a fire, a flare? No.

A red mailbox.

I’d somehow found my way home, though the farmhouse was still some distant away, across the fields. I plunged forward and when I finally reached the door, I was all but finished. I crawled to the fireplace, threw on some of the wood I kept close by, and managed to create warmth and light, and then I passed out on the floor.

A series of bad decisions, beginning with the choice to leave the farmhouse at all, that I was lucky to survive. There is no comfort, cold or otherwise, in The Long Dark because the essentials are finite. It’s a survival game in which the whole world seems to be fading, rather than just your character, and Hinterland ensure there’s always pressure at your back through a combination of time and resource management, and a somewhat controversial cabin fever mechanic, that prevents long-term survivors from becoming homebodies.

Neo Scavenger aside, this is the best survival game I’ve ever played. In its current incarnation, it has an extremely solid sandbox mode, with several regions to explore, and enough wildlife to keep things interesting. There are deer and rabbits to hunt, and bears and wolves to steer clear of, and there’s plenty of gear to collect. Hinterland seem to have added items and systems when they’ve figured out what those things will contribute to the game as a whole, rather than packing everything and the kitchen sink into the world and worrying about the purpose afterwards. There is no variety for its own sake, which makes the game less arcane and meandering than many of its genre stablemates.

A story mode is coming and I look forward to it. The sandbox evokes realism rather than mystery, but the occasional musical cues and the weirdness of the emptied world and its brilliant night skies do create a haunting atmosphere at times, which I’d love to explore further. For now, though, I just want to see what happens next, down on the farm, when I make my next foolish attempt to expand my horizons.

However I die, there’ll be at least one bad decision leading to the end, and it’s that rather than fate that I’ll regret as the light fades and the longest dark claims me for good.

The Long Dark is available in Early Access now, via Steam, for Windows, Mac and Linux.

46 Comments

  1. axfelix says:

    Couldn’t agree more! My impression of survival games was that they’re almost all early access asset-pits that can occasionally generate some fun moments for streamers but are largely bereft of any actual game design or creative direction, and this one really turned it around for me.

  2. Scelous says:

    I enjoy survival games, and I ended up buying The Long Dark due to everyone and their mother raving about how it’s the best survival game ever.

    From my very first playthrough, I found it to be shockingly boring, easy, and repetitive. I would go to a building, eat food, sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. Eventually, I would go to another building, eat food, sleep. Eat and sleep. Eat and sleep. I just sat looking at the screen, thinking, “Really? Is this all there is?” There is no base-building. No leveling up to get new, interesting abilities. No narrative to pursue (currently). No enemies that require any sort of tactics. No array of interesting weapons to go after – there is a rifle, which I got. Yay.

    The Long Dark seems like every other survival game except devoid of any interesting features. I genuinely don’t understand what the appeal is, other than, “Hey, this models how boring real life can be!” Honestly, I feel a bit burned after hearing everyone talking up this game, as it seems entirely without merit.

    • Jalan says:

      I don’t necessarily feel the same way (though after having played it, I agree somewhat with the assessment you put forward as I found myself more captivated by the idea of The Long Dark but not really gripped by the (as of this writing) current product), but this does reflect how I felt about quite a few games released last year (minus the specifics) such as Layers of Fear and Duskers (to name but two) that got talked up quite a bit as if they were the heavy hitters/game changers/etc.

    • Quite So says:

      Even though I do like this game a lot, I also had that reaction when I first started playing it. They’ve updated the game quite a bit in the last year so that there’s a lot more to do than just hang around a cabin eating and sleeping. It still needs more content, but the game is still in EA after all.

    • sneetch says:

      I find this to be a valid complaint for all “Survival” games. If you’re doing it right (i.e. focusing on survival and avoiding whatever monsters the game has) then the gameplay tends to be quite dull.

      Maybe if/when it gets out of Early Access I’ll get it but until there’s an actual story line or escape/victory conditions there’s little to entice me.

      • Scelous says:

        I totally get that, and I have reached a dull point with all survival games. However, with Don’t Starve, not only was I trying not to starve, but I was also trying to tech up to go to the Ruins (I never made it there). Not only was I trying not to starve, but I also was trying to beat the adventure mode in order to unlock Maxwell (to say nothing of unlocking the other characters).

        With 7 Days to Die, not only was I trying not to starve, but I was building my base to get ready for the 7th day wave. Not only was I trying not to starve, but I was also trying to find books and level up to unlock perks to be able to craft and use more items.

        With Subnautica (my most favorite survival game), not only was I trying not to starve, but I was also searching the sea floor for bits of technology to scan. Not only was I trying not to starve, but I was also trying to find enough power (eventually uranium) to power my custom-built underwater base, so that it would be supplied with oxygen amongst other things.

        The Long Dark has trying not to starve… and that’s it. I eventually hit that dull point with all those other games. The Long Dark started out dull and never got better.

        • ButteringSundays says:

          Subnautica is also my favourite survival game – because it lets you turn off the needless inconvenience of the survival mechanics and let you just play the actual game.

          Seriously I find cooking and eating a chore in real life, let alone in games!

        • TheAngriestHobo says:

          You seem to enjoy survival games that are high-pressure and deliver constant feedback. That’s fine, but it’s definitely not for everyone. Some of us prefer to soak in the ambiance of the environment and bask in the immersion of the experience.

          Personally, I don’t particularly enjoy Don’t Starve, as I find it irritating that I’m never given a chance to just faff around my base or take a breather from the constant need to find more crap.

          As for 7 Days to Die, I honestly don’t understand why anyone enjoys it. 99% of the world is samey wasteland with poorly rendered zombies spawning in every four or five feet. I spent more time fighting boredom than zeds.

          I’m with you on Subnautica, though. It’s a hell of an experience, and rivals TLD for my favourite survival game.

        • Solomon Grundy says:

          You might also want to check out Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead.

          • Rainshine says:

            Seconded. I started it up after it got mentioned as an Also try in an RPS article last year, and after I got over my iffiness about the interface, I’ve actually enjoyed it. Mods and such give you some good control over how tough the game is (I recommend at least turning off acid and nutrition while you’re learning). Good balance of a lot to do, difficulty surviving, and usually lots of places to try to push your luck.

          • Scelous says:

            I’ve tried multiple times. I just can’t get over the crappy interface and graphics. And mind you, I’m a huge fan of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup (I’ve sunk at least 200 hours into it). There’s just something about C:DDA that repulses me.

    • fupjack says:

      I found the daily work to explore and eat and not die was enough of a narrative in itself when playing The Long Dark; it was a story I was building myself.

    • Phil Culliton says:

      I loved The Long Dark. There is a sort of “leveling up of abilities” – you’re going to run out of matches, out of patches for your clothing, out of cupboard food. There are pieces of equipment that make survival possible despite that. They tend to be quite hard to find and maintain.

      There are also PLENTY of runs where you *don’t* find a rifle, a good coat, etc. Figuring out how to make do is entertaining, to say the least.

      Basically, the whole point is surviving indefinitely, and that gets considerably harder after the first few weeks, or if you don’t luck into the better equipment. Can you survive 20, 30, 50 days? Also, finding the bunkers on each map is quite challenging and (usually) incredibly rewarding.

    • draglikepull says:

      It’s much more quiet and contemplative than most survival games. I can see how, for someone who wants deep technical challenges, that would be off-putting. It’s not really a game about “winning” or improving your skills so much as it’s an attempt to model a kind of experience, namely eking out an existence through a solitary, bitter winter. As a person who often likes games that prioritise nailing a particular feeling rather than a set of mechanical challenges, I find The Long Dark to be pretty compelling. But if you go into it expecting “Don’t Starve with snow” or something like that you’re going to be disappointed.

    • ThePixelPirate says:

      I honestly didn’t expect anyone to feel like this about the game. Honestly, I’m mostly put off by base-building, leveling, possessing a whole armory and so on in a semi-realistic survival simulation.
      I also love the atmosphere in TLD and find it really immersive…

    • Premium User Badge

      Ericusson says:

      I think the first negative review of the game on Steam is pretty much spot on on the game.

      Concerning this article, I feel
      It is a short sighted article based upon a first impression that is positive but does not address the issues of a longer hands on with the long dark.

      After such a long development, the crafting is utterly shallow, the UI is half awful and there is no point to the experience besides narcissistic fantasy masturbation on survival that is not.

      • noodlecake says:

        “Narcissistic fantasy masturbation on survival that is not”?

        I haven’t played this game, but I can’t imagine how someone really enjoying it has anything to do with narcissism. I’m getting the impression that this is a “people who analyse games based on the number of features” vs “people who view a game as more than the sum of it’s parts”. The latter being the ones who like this.

    • pulkmees says:

      I’d like to point out you bought this game because everyone raved about it. High Expectations lead you to think it was going to be something amazing. It’s still in alpha. They’ve updated the game since release, which means it’s changing.

      Base building is not there because they went with non-procedual maps from the start. It’s part of their whole design philosophy.
      You can however make a snow shelter as a very basic protection from cold.
      They do have other weapons, there is a bow you can make. The whole point is to make the weapons you DO have valuable.
      In essence it drives you to make more realistic decisions in a survival situation than let’s say Don’t Starve(which I think is a very good game also). They wanted to do something different than a typical zombie survival game.

  3. jerrodbug says:

    I just wish the could FINISH one of these survival games. They are typically one of my favorite types of games, but the whole genre is a veritable “wait for next update, so i can play again, and check out possible new content”. Rust updates every week or two, Ark randomly updates (yet never FIXES anything), Subnautica is missing a chunk of its story, So is the Forest (from what i understand). Astroneer isnt even close to finished, 7 days to die is still EA, Stranded Deep has been abandoned i think, and dont even get me started on DAYZ or H1Z1. Im all for EA titles, but at some point they need to finish their games, instead of lanquishing as EA titles until the money flow stops, and they can be abandoned.

    • sneetch says:

      One of the first Early Access games that I ever backed was Project Zomboid, now approaching its _sixth_ year in Early Access, needless to say I gave up on that one a long time ago but it left a sour taste in my mouth.

      Personally, I think that Early Access is a terrible development model for the consumer. It’s great for the developer though, it’s money today for jam tomorrow. I’ve (literally) lost track of the amount of Early Access games that I backed, followed, and eventually just gave up on. I have to think that the issue is that people getting the money for their game in advance takes a lot of the drive to completion out of the equation.

      • Scelous says:

        I remember seeing Project Zomboid back in 2011; even at that point, it seemed like it wasn’t going to go anywhere. I ended up buying it that year simply because I could get it for $5, but even in purchasing it, I assumed I was never going to get a real, completed game. Looks like that has panned out as such. I can’t feel bitter about PZ, however, since I knew that going in (unlike The Long Dark).

      • ButteringSundays says:

        To provide a counter, using the same arguments: these abandonware EA titles are games that would have never reached the light of day, as the Dev would have fizzled, even if it managed to start, before selling any copies.

        Think of all the amazing EA games that wouldn’t have happened. I even have a few in my library that are abondoned that I still consider some of my favourites, and play regularly.

        Besides many EA titles could be called done by most people’s standards the day they’re released (not everything is AAA after all), but The Consumer doesn’t allow such a thing. Hell I see negative reviews on released games because they don’t get constant updates! Games that are already finished! Some (younger?) Gamers seem to think that making a single game is a life’s work and committment, and that it’s never ‘done’.

        So the consumer is feeding back into that loop in a weird and unexpected way.

      • Sic says:

        Both Project Zomboid and Stranded Deep are in active development.

        Both are being developed very slowly, but being what they are— ambitious games with very small development teams—why are anyone expecting anything else, and why be mad about it?

        The Last Guardian took damn near 10 years to develop, and it had the entirety of Team Ico developing it.

        Developing games are hard and arduous processes. Deal with it.

        • sneetch says:

          Why assume I’m mad about it, Sic? Why so defensive? No, getting “mad” would be daft, I got it for something like €10. No, I have “dealt with it” by deciding to not engage with Early Access games.

          It’s just that, in general my experiences with Project Zomboid and other similar Early Access games has taught me that, in general, it’s simply not worth my while, not when there are so many finished games available.

      • noodlecake says:

        I disagree Being good for the developers (if they are relatively small devs) is intrinsically good for the consumer because it means that tons of weird and wonderful projects that could never exist without Early Access or crowd funding.

        Any time I pay for a project that shows a lot of promise but is unfinished and might not delivery in the end I know that my willingness to contribute combined with other people doing the same is benefiting the games industry as a whole and creating an environment where more niche games are allowed to succeed.

        • sneetch says:

          I think that when it works (Darkest Dungeon, for example) it’s great for both consumer and developer.

          When it doesn’t work and the game gets bogged down in development or development simply ends (Spacebase DF-9, anyone?) then it benefits the developer because they’ve gained experience and they’ve been paid already but the consumer ends up paying for something they never get. That’s not good for the consumer.

          In many ways Early Access and Kickstarter are the ultimate pre-orders, they’re a gamble and all the caveats for pre-ordering apply. Caveat emptor, I suppose.

          • noodlecake says:

            It’s really great when it doesn’t work too, because some devs have had the time to experiment with ideas and realise that they don’t work. The consumer is contributing money to allow the kind of creative freedom that sometimes results in failure and sometimes results in gold.

            It’s not a gamble at all if you look at it like that. You’re being charitable by helping the production of an amazing, original idea, and if you’re lucky you might get something back, but if not you’ve still given some creative people the opportunity to try something, which is a wonderful thing to do.

            It’s not like a pre order at all because a pre order you’re buying a game that’s already made rather than supporting the development of a project that couldn’t exist without you.

          • sneetch says:

            Yeah, I’m not going to quibble over semantics but I don’t see it that way.

            I appreciate that (aside from the worst Steam Greenlight scammers) most Early Access devs are earnest and are doing their best but altruism aside I’d like a working product for my money, I’m not interested in funding their learning process and some people simply can’t cut the mustard.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ericusson says:

      I really think Steam should revise his EA policies.
      2 years should be the upper limit and reimbursement policies should apply beyond that.

      • noodlecake says:

        That would be the worst thing ever. I hope that never happens. More creative freedom and time for the devs to experiment and get things as close to their vision as they can is always good. Devs shouldn’t be punished for trying to make sure that they’re games are finished by the time they are released.

  4. ButteringSundays says:

    The real achievement will be when you manage to fend off the inevitable scurvy.

  5. Blowfeld81 says:

    THe Long Dark is the survival game that made me tired of survival games. Still no SP and the open world roaming was dull and boring.

    I am really happy, when all the survival, zombie and minecraft clones do not sell anymore. But when I see Steamcharts, everybody but me seems to love the flood of EA titles that are all very similar…

  6. TheAngriestHobo says:

    The wolves are definitely swarming your safehouse because of the bear carcass, Adam. They’re attracted to corpses (well, animal corpses) as well as meat in your inventory. AFAIK they aren’t attracted to the smell of meat being cooked in an interior location.

    Also, well done – you’ve chosen one of the best locations in the game for your safe house. I’ve set up shop there six or seven times and had some very successful games as a result. My favourite part is the veranda that lets you be outdoors without being exposed to the elements; it’s a great place to nurse a pint (IRL) while watching the sun set.

  7. anevilyak says:

    I was totally expecting to find several instances of “oh I’ve been eaten by a wolf”.

  8. PsychoWedge says:

    This reminds me of a game where you play a girl with a bow running around in the snow. there are only bossfights like in Shadow of the Collossus and you also must survive the cold. I think it was on kickstarter but I’m really not sure… I don’t even know if it has been released yet. Anybody know what the heck I’m talking about? I can’t for the life of me remember the name…

  9. DavidKer says:

    Articles are great! Please now that 4k monitors and big monitors are cheaper and more mainstream, could you think about starting to having larger images in your articles sections. Everything is very very small unreadable. Have a great 2017!

    • noodlecake says:

      If they made they made it work for 4k then the vast majority of people who are looking at it on low end smart phones or laptops at 720p will struggle.

  10. Morcane says:

    The most fun I’ve had in a survival-like game is the Survival expansion for The Division, released last year. There’s a big area, but kind of an achievable end goal and some tangible reward, so it might turn off the survival purists. The endurance DLC for Rise of the Tomb Raider is all right too.

    They’re actually … finished and stuff.

  11. Niko says:

    One of my favorite survival games, and prettiest ones, out there! I’m kind of waiting for Subnautica, because I don’t want to get burned out on every single update, and while I appreciate Don’t Starve, it’s too stressful and field-mouse-simulatory for me.

  12. Sunjammer says:

    I really want to like this one but I find it almost impossible to get into. Until there’s story mode with some sort of tangible goal, juggling fast-depleting life bars and stats ad nauseam just isn’t what i’d call a good time. Chowing down a big steak, two fish and a can of tomato soup should not leave me starving to death within 15 minutes. Subnautica for me is the sweet spot, where survival is on your mind but your real goals are greater and more personal than the moment to moment. The Long Dark doesn’t feel like it respects my time either, with a very shallow set of things you can do, many “fun” progress bars to wait for, and arbitrary wolf attacks that make the whole thing just feel luck based.

    It’s beautiful to look at (for the most part) and has incredible sound design, but as a game it’s just not what I want.

  13. Von Uber says:

    Playing this at least I now know what happened to femshep.

  14. SaintAn says:

    Singleplayer survival games are really so much better than the ones designed for multiplayer. When I was young I remember playing a survival game set on a beach on the GameBoy or GameBoy Color and loved it so much. Think that game is the reason Lord of the Flies is my favorite book and why Lost (the first few seasons) is one of my favorite TV shows. Can’t stand Ark and the others.

  15. Gomer_Pyle says:

    “Or maybe the Alaskan Chainsaw Massacre.”
    But it’s set in Northern Canada :/