Title: The Long Dark Wintermute Redux
Developer: Hinterland Studio Inc.
Publisher: Hinterland Studio Inc.
Genre: Survival, Adventure, Narrative
Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One & PC
Release Date: November 14th2018
Price: £19.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the developers say
THE LONG DARK is a thoughtful, exploration-survival experience that challenges solo players to think for themselves as they explore an expansive frozen wilderness in the aftermath of a geomagnetic disaster. There are no zombies — only you, the cold, and all the threats Mother Nature can muster.
The Long Dark combines the challenge of player survival with a narrative spread across five episodic chapters called The Wintermute. You take on the role of Will Mackenzie shortly after surviving a plane crash in the Northern Canadian Wilderness of Great Bear Island. From here your journey through the Wilderness in search of Astrid, your ex-wife and passenger before crashing.
On your journey you will need to care for Will by searching for food to eat, melting ice to drink, learning to craft items to make survival easier, ensuring you have well-kept clothes to protect you from the harsh weather conditions and avoiding the wolves that prowl the mountains.
There is a secret to be found on your travels. Discover what the ‘first flare’ is as you explore a quiet apocalypse where there isn’t a zombie to be seen (well not in the first two chapters anyway).
Look & Sounds
I love the look of this game. The character and world design are beautiful, and I never got tired of exploring it. A lot of the world is a white blanket of snow, but still, it remains beautiful throughout. When you get into a house to explore or head into a cave for some warmth, you notice the details in these environments.
The design of the menus and inventory screens make the management of your soda cans and sticks simple. With a limited amount of carrying weight, being able to quickly drop and use items ensured this never got in the way. A quick action wheel that you can access in-game without hitting the menu was super helpful and easy to use.
The sound design for this game plays a huge part in creating the atmosphere. Violent winds at night, the crackling of fire you have just started or the howling wolves as you all add up to create a living environment. They may seem subtle, but these sounds enforce the emptiness of this world and build that tension of ‘what has happened here’.
Gameplay and Replayability
There are plenty of ways to enjoy The Long Dark. You have The Wintermute which is the campaign of the game, five episodes of narrative-driven survival to experience. Survival mode which takes you back to the basics and puts your skills to the test to see how long you can stay alive for. Challenges put you into the game with a task to complete over a set period of time. All will help you improve your survival skills, but The Wintermute is where I spent most of my time.
Gameplay will see you learning how to survive by crafting, scavenging and looking after a set of cores. Harvesting items that you don’t need to create useful resources are key. You can harvest old clothes to give you cloth that you can then use to make bandages or a torch. With a limited carrying capacity, you need to make sure you are only carrying what you need.
Maintaining cores such as temperature, hunger and thirst, drive the need to repair clothing, hunt rabbits and melt ice: all simple tasks but ones that form the basics of surviving in a very harsh environment. However, factor in that everything takes up time, planning your day and deciding what tasks to do becomes just as important as the actions.
Higher difficulties and the Challenge mode offer replayability. Survival can be played over and over as you try to survive for longer. The Wintermute does have many side challenges to complete which should keep you busy while you wait for chapter 3 to be released. However, once you have played the narrative through and you know the story I am not sure you will play through it again.
Overall the gameplay is fantastic. It doesn’t do anything new as we have all come to expect to craft items and start fires in these survival games, but the environment and narrative that surrounds these actions make it feel great. This is a great survival game that I will be looking forward to completing fully as the next episodes come out.