Skip to main content

The Long Dark gameplay video — Early Access impressions

The Long Dark

After reading Andy's take on Early Access survival game The Long Dark, I wanted to crash land in Canada, too—so I recorded the video above while I was at it. Without a story mode or crafting yet, I just tried to stay alive long enough to enjoy the intrinsic reward of exploring the beautiful, uncaring wild.

I like that The Long Dark pits me against nature and nothing else, and considering I was trying not to become a frozen brick of flesh, I found the experience surprisingly relaxing. I was slightly disappointed by the way the design gives up fidelity to encourage exploration: I need to search for a can opener rather than being allowed to use a knife to open cans, for instance, and the fresh snow is mysteriously toxic and needs to be purified. I used to eat snow all the time as a kid! I recognize, however, that giving me every contextual action I could ever want doesn't necessarily translate to challenging game design.

Still, it's currently a bit of a scavenger hunt, and I hope that when crafting is added I can struggle to build a stable life or seek rescue—any kind of goal greater than finding the next frozen corpse to loot for energy bars. I suspect the story mode will also bring me back to Canada, but until then, it's a lovely place for a hike.

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.