Being a part of the Xbox One Preview Program has many perks, one of those perks is the ability to preview games that non preview members can. In this case I was able to preview a game that is already out on PC, but is now being ported to the Xbox One. The Long Dark was funded through Kickstarter and it for the most part the a survival horror. When I say horror I don’t mean that zombies or monsters are going to kill you, I mean if you don’t keep warm and fed you will die. Much like other survival games, this game makes you think of what to do if you were in this world. Press the menu button the Xbox One control brings up a chart that consists of how your characters is doing. This chart will let you know if your character is thirsty, hungry cold or tired. Everything you do in the game matters and one wrong move could spell doom for you in the future.
As mentioned above, I was able to preview this game but only the open world aspect. When starting the game you are given an option of playing the story or going to sandbox mode, which is like a survival marathon mode. The preview build only allows you to play in sandbox mode, so after you pick your gender and what level of difficulty the game will be you’re dropped off in the woods. There is no map and you have some supplies in your backpack, but all you can really do is walk around and start scavenging.
As you walk around you’ll realize just how eerie the silence can be. You don’t know where you are or what the year is, but you do look like you’re in the woods and there is snow everywhere. Admiring the surrounding would be great if you weren’t battling daylight and the need to find somewhere warm to sleep. The game also keeps track of your calories which is needed to measure fatigue. Every piece of food you eat has a calorie amount attached to it and every activity you do burns calories. As I walked around I came across small shacks and a few dead bodies, both you can scavenge and find supplies. You’re character doesn’t seem to react to the bodies, so this tells me either they’re heartless or something has happened and this is just normal. The weather changes as the day goes by from clear to a slight blizzard, which affect the temperature and affect you. The shacks give some warmth and shelter during these blizzards, but don’t expect to sleep there unless you have a fire built. As I played I came across frozen lakes where shacks had been built with small stoves and holes for ice fishing. Fishing rods and other tools have to be built on a workbench, which I found out when I found a two story camp station with a Canadian flag flying above it. I now know I’m in Canada and that this place isn’t too warm, because there was a frozen did body on the stairs. The work bench didn’t provide any tools, but a list of what could be made and what items were needed for each. I didn’t know what I should be doing so I decided to sleep because I was fatigued, this is when the horror started. I woke up dehydrated with little water in my backpack and even a smaller amount of food available. I was getting a little worried, because there were placed to scout, but I was at about 50% health and I saw a wolf walking around. I started walking and came across a derailed train with another body and dead deer that I could get some raw meat from. The game doesn’t want you to eat raw food and die, so they give you items like antibiotics and the ability to put the raw meet into a fire you’ve built. I had run out of matches and couldn’t start another fire, so this meant nothing to me. I was getting around 30% and the daylight was starting to go away, so I had to go back to the station I found. I decided to sleep and when I woke up, it was pitch dark. If you don’t have a match or a lantern then you’ll walk around in darkness until the daylight shows. Supplies were running out and I was pretty much dead, I had no food or water and I accepted my fate and ended my game.
This is the first actual survival game I have ever played. Survival horror doesn’t give you as much detail as finding food or drink, but being without either is pretty scary on it’s own. I found myself looking around the vast open area and wondering if anyone was out there. I also wondered if the birds weren’t just doing what they do, but if they were laughing at me. It seems that you start looking back at what you did since you started playing and if there was something that could have been done differently that would have helped you. I believe all these feelings are a sign of an immersive fun game. I never knew that putting you in a world and letting you walk around, fending for yourself could make such an impact. If you have a chance,I suggest you check this game out and see how long you last in sandbox mode.