Survival games have become a growing sub-genre in the past few years thanks to the advent of titles like Minecraft that pushed survival and crafting games into the mainstream. Despite the growth in popularity of the genre, very few take a realistic stance with them, instead focusing on post-apocalyptic scenarios filled to the brim with the walking dead or multiplayer experiences.
The Long Dark is different right off the bat, becoming a classic tale of “man vs. nature” right down to its cold, bitter facsimile of the Canadian Wilderness. Kickstarted by independent studio Hinterland, The Long Dark is a game that, for all its faults, is an enthralling experience provided you have the right frame of mind to enjoy it.
The Long Dark is a game about moments that encapsulate your own survival experience. Discovering a long-lost rifle in an abandoned mine, pushing through a deadly blizzard while traversing a mountaintop, or seeing the sparks of your flare fizzle out as the glowing eyes of a stalking wolf inching closer to you in the dead of night. These moments, in a vacuum, sum up the perfect excitement found in a game where man fights nature, punctuating a lot of the strengths of The Long Dark as a whole- its atmosphere and visual presentation.
The slow pace does make the game drag at times, but the moments of serene beauty, juxtaposed with harsh reality, makes The Long Dark a unique survival experience, one that will have legs well beyond it’s release.