The Long Dark – PS4 Survival game full review

Welcome to Lio Gaming Game Reviews, where I review my favorite games to unwind with. The Long Dark is an open world exploration and survival game. It is still early in development with a story mode coming later on so right now it’s just a ‘see how long you can survive’ sort of game. Now, that probably doesn’t sound too relaxing to play but allow me to explain.

There are three difficulty modes to play in. I’m not even going to mention the hardest mode as that is most definitely not calming. The most relaxing mode is Pilgrim which means that the dangerous wildlife will not attack you whereas in Voyager they will. If I’m playing on Voyager when I’m not having the best day I do find my anxiety increases with every wolf howl I hear but if you like the extra challenge, go for it.

You start off at a random point on the map you selected with a few basic supplies such as bandages, basic clothes and fire lighting equipment. Your first task is to quickly find shelter and some food. Most maps have a fair amount of structures with food and equipment inside but there is only so long you can survive on these finds alone. A really nice feature is that all of the game maps are connected by smaller areas such as old mines and railway bridges. This means that once your supplies are running low in the area you started in you can move on to another.

Some maps are much easier than others, I’ve been able to survive quite happily for weeks in Coastal Highway due to the sheer number of houses with pretty well stocked kitchens. You can increase your food supply from other sources in the game. Some maps have places to fish, you can set traps for rabbits and if you’ve found a gun or built yourself a bow you can hunt the larger animals you find.

There is limited ammunition for the rifle though so use it sparingly! But it’s not just your food supply you need to worry about. You need to collect firewood to keep warm, cook your food and melt and purify water. You need to find clothing and repair the ones you have or you can craft new clothes from animals pelts. I really like how the temperature effect is implemented. You need to be aware of the air temperature but also the wind chill. You can warm up by getting out of the wind and lighting a fire but if the wind changes direction your fire will go out. It’s a simple mechanic but I really like it. The game is still in development so there are changes being made all the time.

The menu and inventory system recently received a much needed update and some of the animals  have been given new animations. Most of my issues with the game now are pretty nit-picky such as feeling warm as long as the temperature feels like more than zero degrees Celsius. I don’t know if the Canadian developers are just really adapted to the cold but I think I’d still be pretty chilly sitting around if it felt like two degrees above freezing! One of the main reasons I think of this as a Chill-Out game is due to the beautiful art style. It has that hand drawn, water colour feel to it and it makes the scenery really stunning.

And the night sky! I rarely see it due to the nights being to cold but it does make getting stuck in the wilderness worth it. Once you’ve got a base sorted out and a reasonable food supply you can really enjoy just exploring the beautiful landscapes and seeing what new places you can discover. I love playing The Long Dark but it’s not necessarily a relaxing experience from the beginning. Once you’ve got a good strategy going though it can be very enjoyable just to explore and see how long you can keep going before supplies get too low. I really enjoy playing it but because of this I have to give The Long Dark a rating of three out of five.

Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed this review then please check out this game.

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