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 Post subject: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 0:17 
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So I picked this up in the Steam Winter Sale for £7.50 and I have to say I'm pretty smitten with it. The Long Dark is an indie survival game by Hinterland Studios for the PC and X-Box One. It's set in the immediate aftermath of an apocalyptic event when massive geomagnetic disruption caused presumably by solar activity knocks out electricity systems across the planet, permanently. At the start of every adventure a block of text informs you that you are a bush pilot in Northern Canada, having just regained consciousness after your plane crashed following the event. Following this you open your eyes and see a frozen wilderness all around you. You have little in the way of survival gear; barely any water, food or decent winter clothing. Your priority is to find shelter, fast, as although you awake to a mildly chilly ambient temperature, freezing fogs, blizzards and the icy blanket of night can soon fall upon you.

Oh, there are also wolves and bears out there. You don't want to run into any of them. Especially bears.

So you begin your exploration, trudging through the snow, hoping against hope that upon mounting the next snowy rise you'll see a trapper's cabin, or a lakeside holiday hut, or at the very least a stalled car on a remote road to escape the wind-chill. It's rather nail-biting stuff, as you hear your character shiver and mutter and pray as you trudge, trudge, trudge through the wastes. But when you do find that haven appearing out of the blinding dance of snowflakes, it's a heart-soaring moment. Of course once inside with your body's core temperature dangerously low, it's then time to get a fire going. Better search the lockers and stores and frozen bodies to see if you can find matches and tinder. Perhaps break apart some items of furniture to feed the stove. Once warmed and having popped open a few cans of soda and munched some candy bars, it's time to get some rest as night falls and you hear the wind begin to howl outside. Tomorrow will bring new problems, like what to do when your scavenged supplies run out. After all, exertion and the cold result in you burning through calories in record time. After a few days of dawdling around your little haven you'll have eaten your last tin of dog-food and begun wishing you'd try pushing out earlier to find a hunting rifle or fishing tackle or something. This is the genius of the game, you have to take calculated risks and push on into the unknown. Eventually you get to read the signs of shifting weather, of the presence of wolves in the area, of the grim balancing act of energy expenditure over the gathering of resources. After all, hunting and the chopping of wood and the trudging of scavenging burns up calories - best choose your next action wisely, and go about it efficiently. The game is one of praying as you light a damp fire that it'll catch, of hoping the cave you sit out a blizzard in doesn't have a bear within, and wondering feverishly if you've been turned around somehow in your seemingly harmless little jaunt into a bewildering forest as the gentle snowfall begins to cover your tracks and a mist sets in.

You'll die eventually of course. And there's no going back to reload saves either. It's merely a question of how long you can survive.

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journal.jpg


The game has five regions currently, with more to be released. However the sandbox was never originally intended to be a game in itself, it was first designed purely to allow players to test the game mechanics in advance of the eventual release of a story-mode, which consists of journeying through post-apocalyptic Canada encountering other survivors enduring the crazed wild and the harsh natural elements. However early access players carried on playing the sandbox mode for so long on the original two maps that three more were soon released, and more game mechanics designed to expand the different elements of survival and death. And it's this sandbox mode that has me hooked. The story mode is to be released episodically and features the voice talents of Jennifer Hale and Mark Meers among others, and is to feature lots of tough judgement calls as you have to decide if you can afford to save another life or not, as survivors beg outside your door as the wolf packs close in, and you realise you don't have enough supplies to feed those outside and besides, your winter coat is torn and the cloth on their backs would sure come in handy repairing it. However, being ruthless might jeopardise you later on as another soul isn't there to help you as stumble and fall and break your leg. The first part should be out in Spring.

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cabin.jpg


The Long Dark looks great. It's got a simple, cell-shaded sort of watercolour style reminiscent of a more sober-minded Team Fortress 2. The weather systems are beautiful, and blend it to each other in a seamless naturalistic manner. As you become slowly aware that a blizzard is coming in and you're kilometres from the sanctuary of your lakeside cabin, you really feel panicked as the snow slowly begins to fall thicker and faster, and flurries begin to whip up over rock outcroppings. Animals roam in a naturalistic manner as well. The casual loping of wolves slowly hunching down as they spot their prey, before springing up and running down startled deer is something to behold. The game has a day night cycle that has some beautiful lighting effects, and interiors have rather pleasant shafts of light springing through the windows. Whilst at night, things get terrifyingly dark. The graphics aren't next-gen amazing or anything, but they are very atmospheric and refreshingly simple. And that's more than good enough when the sound design really pulls its weight. You can hear the shifting of wind, the tapping of woodpeckers and the cawing of crows (usually circling a dead body) and the distant howling of wolves. Chopping wood, shifting through snow, lighting matches, unzipping rucksacks - all have a great organic sound. In fact I'd say that it's the most impressive and atmospheric sound design I've heard since the War Tapes option in Battlefield Bad Company 2.

As it is at the moment in Sandbox, it's not a perfect game and not for everyone. Some will get frustrated at the permanent nature of death, although that gives weight and tension to all the decisions you make in the game. It's also alleviated by the narrative you can record with your character thanks to an in-game free-text journal that runs day by day, and that you can screenshot for review later in your Steam Gallery. I'm on my third character. My first, Luce Harlow, died on the third day out on a frozen lake as she took out her rifle and aimed at a wolf that began to pad softly towards her. She panicked and fired and the shot went wide and before she could reload, it was on her, and with her weakened state carrying too many supplies in her backpack, and her sprained ankle, she failed to fight off the wolf and joined the long dark as it tore out her throat. My second character got lost in a blizzard, I later suspected only fifty yards or so from safety. My third, Johann Lorre, is doing fine. He's on his eleventh day resting out a blizzard quite comfortably in his trapper's cabin. The lockers are stuffed with cooked venison and wolf steaks. On the floor, deer hides and wolf pelts are curing to later be made into garments to replace the rapidly fraying winter sports gear. Guts festoon the tabletops and shelves, drying out to later make rabbit snares and bow strings and cords and stitches for clothing. And a big pile of branches lie in the corner to stoke up the fire, ready to melt more snow and keep the fellow hydrated. No whisky in game though, alas, alas.

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tower.jpg


I can imagine a point when one gets too good at the sandbox mode and the game becomes something of a chore - though you are only a few bad decisions from death at any time. (I spent yesterday skinning deer for too long, too far away with Johann, and barely got home ahead of night and the inevitable increase in wolves it brings.) You could argue there isn't much to it either. No endgame at the moment, no building of Minecraftian edifices. Virtually no combat and in the developer's lexicon the word zombie is clearly seen as the foulest of obscenities, never to plague the realistic, slow paced setting of the game. (Which is fine by me, I'm very much bored of zombies.) But for me the game is truly special thanks to the escape into another world it provides. You're on your own in The Long Dark. There's no one to talk to, but then that means there's no one hassling you to go bowling or giving you bullshit fed-ex quests. Every problem affecting you is ultimately one of your own creation, born of underestimating the cruelly indifferent powers of nature around you.

Last night I dreamt I was in a coffee shop in Northern Canada, and there was a wolf outside. I think this is the sort of game I've been looking for, for quite a long time.

4.5/5

The Long Dark Game Website

Story Mode Teaser Trailer


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 0:22 
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Yes, I've owned this for a while. Need to play it at some point.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 0:35 
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It's currently occupying my wishlist but I'm waiting for it to exit Early Access which, so I've heard, shouldn't be too long in the future.

EDIT: Just reminded myself that the campaign mode isn't in it at the minute and this put me off buying it. I like stories, y'see.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:27 
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Saturnalian wrote:
EDIT: Just reminded myself that the campaign mode isn't in it at the minute and this put me off buying it. I like stories, y'see.

In this sort of game you make your own stories.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 22:22 
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Bad Girl

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Currently 8 quid. Not exactly £7.50 but 8 quid.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 0:41 
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Saturnalian wrote:
Currently 8 quid. Not exactly £7.50 but 8 quid.

Stories


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 1:37 
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Buy it, play it with headphones in the dark, whimper like a child as you hear the growling of a wolf from behind the parked car near the holiday cabin you're camping out in, too afraid to make it across the thick snow of the coastal road to the garage where you've stored all your gear, for fear of it running you down before you make the other side. For example.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 23:27 
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Ahoy-hoy all.

I'm still playing this and kind of loving it. This, Cities Skylines and American Truck Simulator seem to be my go-to games at the moment, with a little TF2 and Bad Company 2 mixed in for the old ultra-violence. Anyway, I'm still on the first map, and have survived for quite a fair time now despite some horribly close calls. (Racing back to your cabin with a wolf breathing down your neck never gets any less terrifying.) I'm hunting with a bow and arrow too, trying to save my last two rifle bullets for a real emergency. The only problem with arrow shot is that you have to track down the animal, as a hit is rarely enough to bring a deer down. And then you run the risk of a wolf also taking an interest in the wounded animal / corpse. I'm still keeping a diary in-game, which adds bags to the atmosphere, and I'm just about to make day twenty - the longest I've ever survived with a character.

So, there was an update the other day. Apparently the story mode is being put back. Gngh as it isn't ready yet. However the good news is that they're adding a lot more to it, as is shown in the video below:

https://youtu.be/RM0rpLoqzgA

There's also going to be many more sandbox updates, with lots of new gameplay mechanics and updated graphics and such. A new update is due in a couple of weeks, and I for one can't wait to see it. To those holding out on story mode I say; do not underestimate the sandbox mode. It really is fricking great and hugely atmospheric. This is the only game I've played to really make you project yourself into the game. You feel that it is you yourself exploring, raiding lakeside cabins for supplies, nursing flickering matches in darkened caves.

The game has also got me reading into the Carrington Event, which is incredibly fascinating and under-documented. The premise of the game, chillingly, is also something that could actually happen. Anyway, back to the game for me and stitching together my new rabbit skin mittens. I'm doing reasonable at the moment, but I full well know that I may be only one bad decision from a downward spiral. Yesterday I started out for the dam, and realised half way there that I hadn't brought my bedroll or lantern, which could have meant being unable to sleep and staggering around cold and exhausted in a pitch black industrial building containing who-knows-what, unable to find any supplies and perhaps doing myself a dangerous injury. So it was back to the cabin for me, berating myself for stupidity.

Any other Beexer's currently playing it? What are your thoughts? I am intrigued. And damn if this game doesn't have the best sound I've ever heard in any game ever.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 0:51 
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So I started another game recently, this time in Pleasant Valley. I was lucky enough to spawn inside the farmhouse. It's a place with good sight-lines, by a frozen creek with a rabbit run nearby and deer. There is a bear that wanders through a nearby field on occasion, but I've managed to avoid him thus far. I'm ten days in, surviving on the dozen rifle rounds I've currently got and waiting for the deer gut to cure so I can make some rabbit snares. It was a tough start though, very little food and until I found the rifle I was nearly starving to death, surviving on cans of pop and beef jerky and mouldy candy bars found in abandoned cars.

Then I found the signal cabin by the radio tower. The sight of it had greeted me every morning when I stepped out onto the front porch, atop a hill in the distance. One day, desperation for food forced me out to try and find this cabin. And I was glad I did, another rifle, ammunition, peanut butter, tools, a fire-starter, comfy beds. I was in heaven! A couple of wolves on the prowl on the valley floor, but aside from that none too shabby. And wallowing in my cromulent success I got over-confident and almost killed myself...

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I was out a wandering and found a rope dangling over the edge of a cliff. Looking down over the edge I saw a bear wandering. I knew I couldn't explore down there with the bear around, so I took a shot at it with my rifle. There was a hit and it howled and ran away. I waited. Started a fire to keep myself warm (it was around noon, but a nippy day) and looked out to see the bear hobbling through trees in the distance. Eventually it returned to the foot of the cliff and died from blood loss.

Elated and giddy with the thought of a bearskin bed-roll I decided to descend. But then I realised that I had a backpack full of wood and wouldn't be able to lug much in the way of harvested meat from the corpse. So I dropped the four big fir logs I had with me and went down. I got the hide alright, and the guts, but after chopping off two bear steaks a blizzard began to whip up around me. I figured I'd climb back up the rope and get back to the cabin, that I might just be able to make it. But I was tired from the meat-hacking and my bag weighed too much, I hadn't the stamina to climb high enough and I decided against risking the ascent and slid back to the valley floor. But now the wind was really picking up. Visibility was dropping fast - and so was the temperature! I cast around and found the bear cave. Perfect! I went inside and rolled out my bedroll. It was approaching night now. I curled up and went to sleep.

And almost died. The temperature had dropped hugely! Although out of the wind the ambient temperature was minus 22. I lit a fire and to my horror found I only had enough wood to last an hour and a half. I desperately prayed for the blizzard to lift, but no dice. With half an hour of fire left I took out my lantern and plunged outside into the howling storm. I remembered a big fir tree branch and attempted to hack it pieces. But the cold was so piercing I was numb within minutes, and had to flee back to the cave. And in my panic sprinting I tripped and sprained my ankle. Now I was in serious trouble. I warmed up a little next to the fire before it died and pondered trying the bedroll again, but if I climbed in I knew I would fall asleep and die. So I pushed back out again, limping to the left this time. Mercifully I found five or six sticks of wood and some reishi mushrooms sticking out of a tree stump. I limped back to the cave, teeth chattering, and fixed another fire. Soon I had a nice hot cup of reishi tea - a natural pain killer - and I was feeling somewhat warmer. I held back with a few sticks and climbed into the bedroll and slept an hour. Woke up chilled, lit the fire again and repeated the process. Soon it was dawn, though one could barely tell with the thick, howling snow whipping past the cave mouth. On the verge of hypothermia, I berated myself for not climbing down with that wood on my back. If I had, I would be able to sit out the blizzard - and these storms can last a day sometimes.

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20160424210101_1.jpg


It was with the greatest feeling of relief I'd ever experienced in a game then, that the storm suddenly let up. I was still fairly freezing, but I picked up the bear pelt and guts, and hobbled my way back to the farmhouse which - now the snow had cleared - I could see from a nearby little crest, a scant half mile away. Fifteen minutes later I was safely back indoors, shovelling firewood into the stove and thinking to myself...

Man, this really is one of the best games I've ever played. I was shaking. And since the update it has become such a beautiful looking game. Waking on a morning, looking out, it's such an emotion. And the footprints in the snow look amazing now. Much more in the way of gorgeous ambient music too. And blizzards are amazing. Before they arrive you can see the snow moving in fast on the upper winds, high up. Birds take aloft and fly in front of the approaching snow front. Then the winds pick up, driving the snow in whisps ahead of you and then... and then it hits. You can't see shit, losing all sense of direction. You actually find it hard to move into the wind. The sound roars into your ears. Just a flurry of white out of dark, hitting your eyes constantly, dim outlines of your surroundings. Oh man, amazing.

(Oh, they've added Challenge Modes now. One opens with a bear attack straight out of The Revenant, followed by a severely weakened player trying to make it to the Trapper's Cabin and the rifle contained within as the bear implacably stalks you through the wilderness. The other challenge they've added is climbing to the top of a mountain to retrieve a flare pistol from a crashed plane, and then returning to the shoreline lighthouse to fire it to summon help - all within an arduous 7 day ordeal.)


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:36 
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I need to give this another shot. I love the stories you weave yourself from these sorts of games.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 12:47 
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This sounds like the sort of game I would love to play, but would probably make my nerves bad and my anxiety flare up :D

I love reading your posts though dude. Reminds me of Les Stroud :D

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 13:01 
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indeed, I'm fascinated by the game after reading Pete's write ups. But will I enjoy it as much as reading Pete's write ups? That question that will cost me eight English pounds to answer. I just bought Life is Strange, so maybe next month.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 15:12 
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JohnCoffey wrote:
This sounds like the sort of game I would love to play, but would probably make my nerves bad and my anxiety flare up :D

I love reading your posts though dude. Reminds me of Les Stroud :D


Aw, thanks buddy! :)

In all honesty, it can be quite anxiety inducing. It's a perma-death world and there's been a couple of times I've not quite brought myself to continue a saved game. After the first few deaths you become a bit more accepting of the inevitability of it all, however. It's the wolves and the odd bear that make it primarily such a nerve-biter. Happily there is an easier setting though. I'm playing Voyageur, the middle setting which is fairly punishing but fair. It's this (and the harder Stalker setting) that has the wolves after you. Choose Pilgrim however and things are a fair bit easier. For one, the wolves behave realistically (the other settings has them aggressive owing to the geo-magnetic disturbance) in that they nearly always shy away from humans unless really provoked. Calorie expenditure is a lot less punishing too meaning you don't have to eat quite so much food. (In the other settings you have to eat lots, which makes sense in a physically exerting frozen wasteland.) And finally the temperatures are slightly more forgiving. So in this mode, though you can still die, it's more about exploration and less about gruelling survival.

Hope that helps!

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 0:23 
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Righto, just wrote a Steam review and Cookie suggested I post it here. I'll stop hyping this game now, honest guv'nor!

Quote:
EARLY ACCESS REVIEW
When it comes to a sense of place, and of being, I don't think I've been as fully immersed in a game as I have in The Long Dark. Here's how it works...

You wake up in the snow after your plane has gone down. WIth no idea as to where you are, cold, shivering, you need to find shelter fast and keep a sharp eye out for predators. Once you've found a cabin or such, you need to start thinking about the basics of survival. Water. A warm place to rest. Food. Clothing that can survive the harsh blizzards. A weapon to fend off wolf attacks. To gain the answer to these problems you must explore. At first you'll find yourself raiding abandoned cars and houses, trying not to think about the dead bodies scattered here and there following an as yet undetailed catastrophe. But the cans of pop and candy bars and such you scavange are only a temporary answer. Soon you'll have to look to be self-sufficient.

Survive the first few nights and odds are you can survive a couple of weeks. Survive those two weeks and you might survive a month. Survive that and... who knows? The genius of the game is that it perfectly balances risk, need, fear and greed. You can get carried away and suddenly discover that you've neglected something vital - something life endangering. Forget to stay stocked with fuel and you could perish from being marooned in a cave by a blizzard. Fail to carry bandages with you and you might bleed out from a wolf bite on the snowy wastes. Dehydration especially is a danger. (And no, like in real life simply eating snow will not save you.)

It can be a punishing game at first. Nothing is explained. I didn't know how to make tinder plugs or melt snow in my first game and quickly died after I ran out of my last can of fizzy goodness. But I made darn sure I figured it out the next game. The more you play, the more you find yourself thinking logically and weighing up the risks. Which is all well and good until you become obsessed about getting a bearskin bedroll and end up dooming yourself to be a chewy snack for DiCaprio's growly chum. Happily there's an excellent forum at the Hinterland website, which is very friendly. I strongly recommend it if you have trouble sussing out the game mechanics.

Lastly I want to talk about what makes this game truly special. It's the marriage of beautifully crafted graphics with to my mind the best sound design since Battlefield: Bad Company 2's War Tapes. At first glance the graphics appear simplistic. But you quickly come to appreciate them as being truly evocative, especially in terms of weather. Seeing the deep tread of your footprints as you hear the muffled scrumpf of snow underfoot. Watching a sunrise from the porch of your farmhouse in the morning; a hot cup of coffee a personal treat to celebrate narrowly surviving a blizzard the previous day, as you finally recognised the tell-tale signs of an oncoming storm. Looking up to see the high altitude trade winds carrying aloft the first wave of a fresh snow. And the chilly haunting fog that closes in as you return home in the late evening, a brace of coneys over your shoulder. Even simple things like waking up in the cabin and hearing the walls creak and the windows rattle as the wind blows outside... man, this game is the most atmospheric I've ever played.

So sure it's tough. And yes, wolves are unnaturally terrifying. But as soon as you come to terms with your inevitable death. As soon as you begin to treat it not as a game but as a real question of survival for yourself. And as soon as you learn to let go of trying to max everything out and just enjoy... existing... in this wonderful world HInterland have crafted. Well, then you'll find you've made something really special. Plus you can keep a journal in game!

Any gripes? Each map could do with a forge, and whetstones really shouldn't break after a couple of dozen uses. (I know, game mechanic, but it's unnecessarily cruel.) Also rifles should have a longer effective range and arrows should be more available. Some items, like the maple needed to make a bow, seem unnecessarily rare and tricky to find.) And there should be a little starter guide with a few early-game lifesaving tips bundled with the game in the main menu. And I wish my character would quit complaining all the time about being hungry! It's good to be ravenous and make supplies last!

Despite these niggles the game as it stands at this point in Early Access really is something quite magnificent. It is a transporting game that will have you feeling terrified at times, proud at others and most of all have you feeling that the little farmhouse in the valley has become a place of your own, a place that you can call home in a hostile world. With a story mode to come this game only looks set to become better, but for now I feel that I've definitely got my money's worth on the entrance fee. Congratulations HInterlands for recognising that surviving the natural world can be more thrilling than surviving yet another rehashed zombie invasion, and that the simple joy of felling a deer and filling one's pantry with venison as significant a victory as saving the planet in a shoot-em-up from the evil Emperors RaxinFraxin and Dixdastardlax.

9/10

P.S: You can find answers to many of those early game vexing questions here: http://hinterlandgames.com/join-the-community/


And now to bed and dream nightmares about bears.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2016 23:28 
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Now I'm up to day 26, and I feel I've learned so many valuable lessons. I was living reasonably comfortably on rabbit at the farmhouse, but I was down to ten bullets and I was concerned that I had no back up plan if the rabbit supply failed. I also had five arrows to hand but no maple for a bow, and I am ashamed to say that I became dangerously obsessed with getting one. So, weighing the pros and cons, I decided to strike out up over Heartbreak Bridge and take the road to the Pleasant Valley outbuildings. It was there that I encountered a bear. I fired two shots and missed, a third possibly struck but at that point I was too busy diving back into the building from the enraged fellow to take the time to enquire as to his health. I waited two hours hoping he'd bleed out and I could finally get the second pelt I needed for the bedroll. I cautiously snuck outside and there was no hide nor hair of him. Nor any blood spots. A thorough search revealed nothing in the environs so I figured I must have clipped him. But so shaken was I, so fast and hard was the adrenaline pumping, that the howl of a distant wolf made me accidentally loose off a round from the rifle. I was now down to six bullets. And I was getting peckish.

Attachment:
heartbreakridge.jpg


Fortunately I managed to bag a deer just before night. Five bullets now, and I was taking the hide off the poor soul when a blizzard rolled in. I ran back inside, starved for the best part of seven hours and awoke to the now peaceful dark and early hours of the pre-dawn. By a campfire I grabbed the steaks and figured to myself, 'Y'know, dude - you're not too smart. You need to save these bullets for emergencies. And you're no nearer to getting your bow. This red barn has never brought you luck, bad things have always gone down at these outbuildings, it's time to move on.' So when it was morning I elected to head on up the road over Contemplation Bridge and strike out to the woods between there and the Rural Crossroads, to the West. I hit the rural store first, stocked up on pop and a coffee and found some first aid I'd missed earlier on. It was still midday and I spent a good few hours wandering the slopes of the wood until I suddenly came upon a cave. Outside were mushrooms, rabbits and a dead deer. Inside - oh, treasures! A new bedroll and a good novel. I figured I'd skin and cut out the steaks from the deer first... but then of a sudden I held back. Wait. I've heard this song before. I re-sheathed my hunting knife and immediately started chopping fir branches instead. I assembled a pile of six, a good thick bundle of sticks, and an extra cedar log and placed them inside the cave. I then started work on the deer, lighting a small additional campfire to thaw the body out a little.

And so, as I was whipping the hide off the beast, I suddenly saw the temperature drop, heard the wind begin to howl and I smiled grimly to myself. I returned inside the cave and waited. The air grew chill and the screaming pitch of the wind increased in volume outside, a grey churning mass of whipping snow outside. I started a fire and - with the big pile of fir wood to hand - cracked open the novel. The rest of the night was spent in hospitable glee, alternately digging into the book and sleeping a couple of hours at a time. An hour before dawn, the wind dropped and I walked to the mouth of the cave. The sky was a tawny smoky orange, the colour of dying leaves, and a gentle snow fell. I stood there, quietly freezing in the minus eight, rubbing my rabbit skin mittens together gently. I felt a great sense of serenity, of acceptance of the world. The sun began to rise over distant peaks, the cold air lost some of its edge and I decided to head out to see if I could finally find my white whale - the maple sapling.

Attachment:
cavemouthdawn.jpg


And within half an hour of exploring around the clefts and dells and hillocks of the wood, there it was! I was so shaking with joy, I had trouble harvesting it. I went back to the cave, slung the two bedrolls on my back. I decided to leave a quanity of wood in the cave for future emergencies in case I ever wanted it as a way-station, and I struck back to the outbuildings. There I nipped in to grab the deer steaks in the metal tool box, and immediately headed out along the road back to the farm. I was slowly - very slowly - freezing, dog-tired and hungry but I had a big grin on my face. Still, all the while I kept my eyes on the fields and woods to the sides of the road, checking for wolves. Stepping over Heartbreak Bridge felt like a triumphant homecoming to my traditional stomping grounds. Beside the fence, just beyond the bridge by the abandoned car I found to my further edification that two rabbits lay in my snares. I cut their meat and slung it on to my now dangerously encumbered back. And so I trudged back to the farmhouse, my beloved home. As I approached the door a blizzard began to kick in but I didn't care, I knew I had firewood ready by the stove. I set my pelts down on the floor beside the kitchen table, and the maple sapling down on the coffee table beside the cured birch. I then got to work frying steaks. The smell was delicious, the taste of the juicy flesh even more so. Sated, I realised I was about ready to collapse from exhaustion and so, lantern in hand, I ascended the stairs to bed.

Attachment:
heartbreakroad.jpg


Day twenty-six out there in Pleasant Valley. And the best day I've ever experienced in game... perhaps in any game. I really feel like I am out there, drawing sharp breath on a cold winter's day, crunching snow underfoot.


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:58 
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I've just read your steam review... Will eating snow really not save you in an emergency? Isn't it just frozen water?


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 9:59 
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Snow is Eskimo cement.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:24 
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Isn't that lovely?

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It will lower your inner temperature, and depending on your condition that might not be a good thing. (boil it, and cool it, and you're fine)

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:34 
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You will be immurred in an igloo

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:40 
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TheVision wrote:
I've just read your steam review... Will eating snow really not save you in an emergency? Isn't it just frozen water?


Yeah, it's not really an option as you have to eat so much of it you actually expend more energy trying to consume it whilst maintaining body temperature than you get from the water. And as far as freshly driven snow in the wilderness goes, although it is technically safe to eat, long standing snow can harbour parasites (pink algae for example) and be dangerous. (And if you have pollutants drifting over, because snowflakes form around dust particles, the snow itself can be polluted to a degree sometimes. Though this is more of a problem bordering industrial regions on real life.)

That's why mountain climbers carry those little stoves to melt and boil snow.

That was my first Steam review too! :)

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:45 
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And a very good one it is too!


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 10:52 
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I played some of this last night. I'm getting very thirsty and have only managed to find a couple of cans of soda. What can I do to make use of the frozen lake or the snow? I don't have any way of boiling snow currently. I have a hatchet and I've managed to open fishing holes, but I'm not sure how I can get water.

Also how can I cook food using the stove? I light a fire but I can't put the food on the top for some reason...


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 11:07 
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Lonewolves wrote:
I played some of this last night. I'm getting very thirsty and have only managed to find a couple of cans of soda. What can I do to make use of the frozen lake or the snow? I don't have any way of boiling snow currently. I have a hatchet and I've managed to open fishing holes, but I'm not sure how I can get water.

Also how can I cook food using the stove? I light a fire but I can't put the food on the top for some reason...


Of all things in the game my only mild annoyance is that it doesn't make clearer that you can immediately melt snow on a stove or campfire. I lost my first character running out of pop! :D

To get water, find a stove or make a campfire. You'll need matches indoors, or a firestriker. For outdoors you can use a magnifying glass and carry the burning twig indoors if you like. So, get a load of loose sticks on the ground - six would be a good number to start with to make a litre or so of water. You'll need tinder which can be got from newspapers, books and cat-tails. But make sure you harvest those for tinder, as you get more that way than just by throwing them straight on the fire, Bill Cosby's Guide to Parenting style. I find that starting a fire with sticks, instead of fir and cedar logs, gives the highest chance of starting. (You can add logs if you like when the fire is underway.) So, start your fire. You'll notice you've got a percentage chance of starting the fire, this will go up the more fires you start as your skill improves. Soon as it catches add fuel until you've got at least half an hour of burn time. Click the snowflake tab to melt snow. First of all click the arrow to choose around a litre to melt. It'll bubble away merrily. Then you'll need to boil it to purify it, so choose how much to do of that. If you like you can exit the screen before you do that and find more fuel to add if you need it.

Also find that with a fire, there's a can of food tab at the top as well. Click this and you can cook things. Mouldy meat when cooked will become gamey, and gamey fresh - so long as food condition is above 65-70% it's usually very safe to eat.

I'll write a wee guide for you later if you like.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 11:10 
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Cheers Pete, I'll give it a go later on. I know how to start fires and I've been successful at that, but I can't seem to pick up snow of any kind. :)


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 11:31 
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NervousPete wrote:
I lost my first character running out of pop! .

Poor RevStu. :'(

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 11:38 
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Lonewolves wrote:
Cheers Pete, I'll give it a go later on. I know how to start fires and I've been successful at that, but I can't seem to pick up snow of any kind. :)


Yeah, it's one of the few systems still abstracted. By doing the action it's imagining you going out and shovelling snow into a pan and bringing it to the fire. This would take some time so it's tedious to do it first person as its available everywhere. Hence why you can't pick up snow.

It used to be that gathering fuel was the same way, you'd choose how many hours to gather and then there'd be a progress bar. But they soon changed that as they realised that searching for fallen branches, expending energy on chopping up logs and so on and risking the changing weather conditions and wildlife in doing so was far more interesting.

I try to always have 2kg of water when exploring, and have an emergency supply at home of another 2kg. Looking forward to hearing how you get on at the game!

Zardoz wrote:
NervousPete wrote:
I lost my first character running out of pop! .

Poor RevStu. :'(


HA! :DD

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 20:41 
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Half price (£7.49) on Stream right now.

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 21:03 
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Beat me to it, I was just about to post that! On sale for the next 45 hours at £7.49. Buy it, or become wolf-bait.

Had an excellent session today. Woke up after a blizzard and headed downstairs and out the kitchen to do my customary viewing of the sunrise from the porch. I've now lived just over a month in Pleasant Valley, and each day has been its own struggle to survive - so watching that sun come up is always a delight. Things were different this morning, however. I heard a snuffling. I looked out and there, closer to the farmstead than the parked car, approached a bear. It was slowly shambling towards me, around fifty feet away. I gently pulled out my gun and loaded my last clip of five rounds, and stepped down the porch steps. I made sure to glance behind me so that I was in a good position to bolt for the door. Bears don't give you much time to respond once they start charging, and they are frequently death. I had a hope though of mortally wounding it, of getting back inside before it charged me and then waiting a while before following the blood trail. The bear stood up on its hind legs and roared, and commenced to advance again. I raised the rifle in my hands, sighted just below and behind the ear - forty feet now - and fired.

Attachment:
farmbear.jpg


And to my immense surprise, with a pitiful whimpering groan, the bear collapsed and died. (You can see in the above image where I took the shot from, just next to the dog kennel by the porch.) The second bear pelt would be mine! A lovely, warm, bearskin bedroll was within my grasp! And over 35 kilograms of bear meat! I skinned the pelt and began cutting steaks while the corpse was still warm, easier that way. Every batch of five I'd put them in the trunk of the nearby car to keep. I'd harvested around half of the meat before I realised I'd have to go out and get some firewood, so I headed down the nearby road, checking my rabbit snares on the way and gathering a brace of coneys. I got chopping and loaded up on cedar logs, and headed home. By this point a fresh blizzard began to spring up, so I ran back to the farm ahead of the advancing storm front and dropped my logs and sticks in front of the fire. Then I went outside again and grabbed the fresh raw meat from the trunk, headed back indoors to the stove and got frying bear steaks. The wind was howling outside, and I shuffled into the fierce face of the wind towards the boot, loaded the trunk up again with cooked meat and jogged back to the kitchen door to cook my rabbit.

Attachment:
pvincomingblizzard.jpg


The following day saw me light a fire next to the bear's corpse and carve off another 15 kilograms of meat, then gather more firewood. I knew the rest would go rancid by tomorrow afternoon, but was resigned to not being able to scavenge it all. Now I have to be careful with my diet, alternating bear with rabbit meat in case of parasites ingested from a carnivore's flesh. But all in all I have the makings of a splendid ongoing feast.

Now I've just got to get round to crafting that bow...


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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 21:56 
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How long is a game day in real life?

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 Post subject: Re: The Long Dark
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 22:02 
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Grim... wrote:
How long is a game day in real life?


Not long. I think it goes at twelve speed, so one hour equals twelve hours in game. In general I get half an hour to forty five minutes of activity done per game day. Then sleep.

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