Kholat, the Sean Bean-narrated game about dead Russian hikers, is free on Steam

"Kholat," we said a few years ago, "is Dear Esther meets Sean Bean," and based on that alone you already know whether you want to play it or not. I have good news if you do: It's free, for keeps, until the end of the week. 

Kholat is an exploration horror game inspired by the Dyatlov Pass Incident, in which nine experienced hikers camping in the Ural Mountains in 1959 died after fleeing from their campsite at night, unprepared for the heavy snow and freezing temperatures. Six succumbed to hypothermia, while the remaining three suffered traumatic injuries. The cause of their flight has never been determined. Animals? Yeti? Aliens? Nobody knows

(This is all apparently real, by the way.) 

Your job in the game is to discover the truth behind their deaths, as IMGN.PRO imagines it at least, through a non-linear narrative set in a strange, open world. The main plot is buttressed by secrets and hidden details, and yes, the whole thing is narrated by Sean Bean. I haven't played it myself, but I am told by reliable sources (that is, a friend of mine who did give it a run) that it's weird as hell.   

For me, that's a feature, not a bug, and "free" is a solid positive too. Grab it while you can from Steam

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.