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Mentazm

The Long Dark - Episode 1 & 2 Redux Update Out Now

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I think this game is good enough to warrant it's own thread, I was surprised there wasn't one already. It just recently launched at mid price, 23 quid, on all the major platforms. It's been in early access as an open world survival game for ages. It now has a good story mode with 5 chapters, but only 2 have been released so far with the other 3 coming as free downloads.

 

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I put about 40 hours into the sandbox mode a few years back, but it's been overhauled since then and is now pretty beautiful and highly polished.

 

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If you like survival games, especially solo, this is the best one I've played. Highly atmospheric and scary at times.

 

Just checked - rated very positive on steam with 25k reviews and 4.5/5 on xbox.

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Anyone actually played story mode in this yet? I'm stuck trying to get enough food to progress a quest,  gut takes ages to cure to make hunting tools. I also only saw a workbench once, and can now no longer find it. Any ideas anyone?

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I actually went to get it this morning on PS4, as I have been looking forward to it for a while, but I have to admit to baulking a tad at the price... £28 for PS+ members. I thought it being episodic, it would be about £10 less.

 

Will get it, just not right now as cash is not king. 

 

 

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It's only the story mode that's episodic. The bulk of the game is the open ended survival mode, which has been the only option available for the past 3 years. It's only with official release they've added the story mode. Like I said I put 40 hours in years ago, so it's definitely worth the money.

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Played it loads on PC a few years back, put a good 50-60 hours into survival mode which is worth the price of admission alone IMO. But then I love survival games, might not be for everyone. 

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Was considering picking this up on the PS4. I didn't even realised it was properly released already. Do you get survival mode on the PS4 version. How is the story mode? I like the survival stuff but does it incorporate it well into the campaign? I watched a twitch video of this game and it looked pretty tedious on the crafting side of things, loads of time spent in front of fires at night crafting countless items and watching bars go up. Is that a significant portion of the game? In Minecraft I didn't mind crafting too much as it was fast and simple, this looks a lot like busywork.

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Yes, you have to craft items and repair stuff to keep your warmth up. However I normally just wait until I'm back from being out during the day, then do that along with my other bar management - food, water and sleep. Maybe approx 5 mins real time per in game day.

 

The game has three modes - survival, story and challenge (which are short specific tasks). The Survival really is the 'main game'. The story line has all new areas, but I'm struggling to progress where I am because of a lack of food. I wasted a lot before realising I couldn't play it like survival mode.

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Been a while since I played Minecraft properly but in terms of crafting don't recall the Long Dark being much more laborious than that, you're not just watching bars go up all the time. Much of the game involves exploration and orientation with a strong risk/reward element.

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Thanks. I picked it up and decided to try the story first as the reviews said it does a good job of teaching you the mechanics. Enjoying it so far, I'm up to the first wolf. I'm not really minding the crafting, its more about making decisions about how to use your time and resources. Picking up sticks and branches is a bit tedious but i don't need them much so far, as is staring at the fire whe  you start it. I love exploring and I'm sure that's more fun in survival where its not pre set so you have no idea what's out there. In story mode I know things will be pretty linear and new elements introduced over time. The atmosphere is good, I especially like the darkness and wind effects. So far most things are explained well but there's still a bunch of icons I don't understand like th3 ones which pop up top centre of the screen, and the star icon which appears next to some items, is that how frozen they are? Its cool how clothes can be frozen when you find them. I am confused about knowing when a status is red at what point I'm going to be seriously hurt or die from it's effects. It said when the bar is red your status decreases till death but I can't find the indicator of that status anywhere? So for example when I'm freezing or hungry I have no idea how long I can push it before I'm gonna die. Any tips?

 

Story is kinda intriguing, looks like its gonna be some dodgy government experiment gone wrong or epidemic outbreak. The voice acting and writing are terrible though, but the art style in the cutscenes is really cool so I can overlook the voiceover. Looking forward to more scavenging. Rabbits are incredibly hard to hit with stones, haven't got a feel for where the aim point is. Would hate to have to rely on them for food by killing em with stones! Good stuff so far, now time to scare away a wolf!

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Yeah I'm currently stuck trying to hit rabbits with stones. I can do it maybe 1 out of every 3 attempts, and then of course you actually have to be close to them or they'll get up in 3 seconds and run. Doing that whilst waiting on gut drying out in my base to make more snares, as I only have one I found. Also still trying to find the workbench in storymode, found it once, and lost it.

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As for your status - you should be able to see the four indicators at the bottom of the radial menu or full menu. Temp, energy, water and food. When those stay on your screen they are empty and you need to do something fast or you will lose health/die.

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Thanks but I meant the ones at the top of the screen. I know one of them is your scent now, but there's one which looks kinda like a shield but not sure what that is. I figured out the star icon, it's durability (weird symbol to use for it!). I got a sewing kit and confirmed my suspicions as when you repair something the star number goes up.

 

Had a great session last night in episode one where I ran out of firewood in the middle of the night, at one of the roads with cars in it. I went on desperate forays into the woods trying to find firewood but with poor results. Eventually, the fire ran out and I had no choice but to forge onwards in almost pitch darkness with the hopes of finding a miracle before freezing to death. I headed down the snow-covered road and it soon became a snowy woodland. I was already in dire straights and then a blizzard came in. The snow was blowing sideways and I could barely see, my health was dangerously low and draining all the time. I knew this was the end and trudged through the trees in the snowstorm, resigned to my fate. Then just ahead I glimpsed a silhouette of something square, and gods be praised, when I got closer I saw it was an actual building, the first I'd seen! I staggered over and I was able to get inside. It was a loggers dormitory. Shelter, and just enough warmth to prevent me freezing further to death. There was even a bed. It was such a great moment of relief. The next morning I was starving but warm enough to forge onwards, and I eventually made it to a town only just surviving a wolf attack, staggering into a church and bandaging myself at the last second before I bled out. Brilliant stuff.

 

The busywork for the NPC here is a bit of a drag but its really cool to get an abandoned town to explore and loot. The wolfs are a real threat, I've had to run into houses or cars to avoid them and use flares to keep them at bay long enough for me to retreat to the NPC's house and safety. It's nice to have a base of sorts at the house and I've found a ton of useful materials and clothing in the houses. However food is scarce and even in the day you can freeze quickly, so I have to plan my forays into the the town and surrounding area wisely. In the story mode I'm keenly aware that the progression will mean that I can't stay holed up in one place for too long, my resources will run out if I waste time. So I must push ever onwards and try to complete this quest as fast as possible. The feeling of having a safe warm place to "go home" to and sleep is great, whilst the wind howls outside. I love the atmosphere of this game. I think I'll stick with story mode despite some of its issues whilst I learn the mechanics, it's nice to have a bit of plot to drive you onwards.

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Everyone should try this, it's brilliant.

 

Finished Episode 1 and immediately got a big patch to download which adds a load of polish, retunes Episode 1 to make it less annoying, and fixes most of the loading screen crashes on console. Now I've powered my way through Episode 2 which is much better than Episode 1. You're given a nice snowy woodland with an abanoned dam to explore and you'll get to know this area inteimately as you go on loads of missions in the area. It feels much more open world now and the environment design is lovely, there's a bunch of outposts, a questline that takes you to completely new areas and even some cool story stuff. It looks beautiful too. 

 

Day to day survival becomes a bit easier in this episode as you can set up a base and there are more building safe havens to retreat from the wilderness. Still, the wolves are everywhere and become a real problem, in a good way. You get introduced to a bunch of new mechanics such as ice fishing and deer hunting and you start to build a good supply base. Although resources becme more plentiful it becomes more a matter of managing your time - maybe you shot a deer, that's cool - but there's no way you can carry all that meat back home in one go, and it'll get moudly fast. There's so many wolves that travelling with raw meat is asking for trouble too, so careful planning is needed and backup plans or scurrying for cover when the weather turns sour.

 

There's a good amount of tension with the introduction of new wildlife and an epic expedition out of the main area. Eventually the fetch quests do get a little tedious, just because it means you have to go over the same route again and again returning to the NPC, but that aside this is a fantastic episode that I got engrossed with.

 

The game is still a bit rough around the edges but it has atmosphere, tension and visuals in spades. People who spot me playing it end up watching for a while even with its slow pace. When this episode is over I'm looking forward to survival mode, mainly because it means more areas to explore. For me I like setting up base but the real fun comes from pushing ever outwards to explore new areas, and in episode 2 you end up seeing everything just a bit too often. I imagine survival could get kinda tedious in that way as well, that is, if the areas are preset in size. I also think survival will be even more tense as you won't get trickled rewards and will just have to make do with whatever random stuff comes up (assuming it is random!). 

 

Great game and hopefully they patch out more of the issues and add a bit more polish soon. It's definitely king of the survival games!

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Good reviews coming out for this across the board. 

 

I finished the story mode last night and dived into survival today, on the second hardest difficulty, Stalker. It's brutal. I have died three times so far, always from wolf attacks, and haven't survived longer than two full days. You begin with minimal equipment, underdressed and so start getting cold immediately.

 

First priorities are to find shelter, firewood, extra clothes and food. But hostile wildlife is plentiful and you can't stay out for long because of the cold. Even indoor areas can be cold because you have so little clothing. So it's tense looting of buildings, or trekking through the woodlands praying for precious resources. Rabbits are great for food but the wolves smell them a mile off. I have seen bears in each of my three attempts so far and got savaged in one when he came up in a surprise attack!

 

Still, I'm loving it but maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew with this difficulty. The story mode does give you a good grasp of the basics but survival is where it gets super challenging, and there's a bunch of extra elements too. For example there are skills. Outside you start with only a 40% chance of successfully starting a fire, until you increase the skill level. There are extra things to craft and more ailments. I got a parasite risk from eating meat! I can get food poisoning from old stale food, and in the early days you might not have any medicine to deal with it.

 

So good though and although the maps don't randomise, the item and animal spawns do. Looking forward to making a real epic out of this. You can even travel between regions should you survive that long for a truly huge adventure! Isn't anyone else playing this with its new console release?

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I restarted the campaign. I wasted way too many recourses before stocking up for that quest, so food was scarce. Way easier now I'm used to the game mechanics again. Did twice trying to get from the first cave to the church due to wolves though. Made it to the first cabin and turned it off. I'll try dip in to this later at night for top atmospherics.

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Yeah I think I have to restart the campaign, didn't realise wood would be in such short supply. Also, did lighting a fire always take this long? Sweet mother, without accelerant you've time to go make yourself a cup of tea, don't remember it being that lengthy in the beta - although that was years ago. 

 

Edit: that all sounds negative. On the plus side they've added loads to the game since then. The menus are still slightly bananas but the game itself has really nicely fleshed out now. 

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The first half of episode one is indeed pretty brutal. From the cave to the town is a sparse landscape, with little shelter and freezing conditions. I barely made it past the car bridge and got caught outside in a blizzard at night when my wood ran out. Then at the church a wolf mauled me and I only just survived. The only time you can really stabilise is when you reach the town. But I like that.

 

Yes, fires take bloody ages in the story mode. I assume that in survival mode, if you increase your fire making skill then they start faster? Sometimes I used accelerant in story mode just because I couldn't be arsed to watch the bar going up. I feel like the percentages of successfully starting a fire are skewed in story mode, because I almost never failed to start one up.

 

I died 5 or 6 times in survival mode on only the first day on the Coastal Highway and Desolation Point maps (Stalker difficulty). Now I'm finally in a game where I've made it past the first few days. I'm on Coastal Highway and found a house on an island in the frozen sea, which is warm enough to use as a base. On Stalker difficulty the first priority is usually to find firewood and clothes because the cold is the biggest killer to begin with. Without extra clothes, even most interiors are below freezing and most outside fires won't even warm you up. On this run I knew I needed to find buildings asap to loot, and so I raided the fishing camp and a number of coastal houses first and found enough food and clothes to scrape through the first few nights. Wolves are everywhere but I've learned my lesson and steer well clear - they've been responsible for almost every death so far.

 

I managed to stabalise in the island house and now am foraying outward for supplies. I have enough clothes to keep me above freezing when inside, so if the weather turns bad I just hop into a building and wait it out. I've just found a work bench and fishing hooks at the fishing camp nearby, so food should be ok. The only problem is that wolves roam the frozen sea so wandering on the ice with fish or meat can be risky. I even saw a bear on the ice by my island the other day and couldn't get home until I came back later. I also found out that in survival you can get charcoal to make maps, and you can zoom in on the map to see landmarks you may have missed. That's cool but you only map a tiny bit of the area each time you use the charcoal. The features that it marks are also kinda stupid, like it shows a corpse but not the outside workbench which is one of the most obvious things you'd want on your map!

 

With basic survival covered for now, at least until food and firewood runs out, I need more tools and to explore further. I still can't find a hatchet which means I can't chop firewood. I really want one too to harvest maple branches to make bows and arrows, something you can't do in story mode (I think). But to use arrows you need metal arrowheads, and you need a forge to make those. I don't have a sewing kit either so my clothes are rapidly decaying and I can't repair them.

 

It's cool making a kinda base, but the problem is if you hole up somewhere unsustainable, then you have a lot of gear and resources that you need to try and move. I will probably have to move on from my island home at some point as it's pretty annoying not being able to make a fire indoors, and wolves are all over the frozen sea making every trip home dicey. Well, at least I made it past the first few days!

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Still playing through the campaign, had a quick go at survival starting at the original start point (which for a while was the only point to join the game) and the map seems very different to the beta - it's all there but everything seems in a different place, perhaps that's more my unreliable memory - hard to say. I got to the coastal highway in the beta (by trekking for miles) so it'll be interesting to see what they've done with that area. As I remember it, it was brutally sparse.

 

Anyone remotely interested in the survival genre (yswidt) should really consider this game, atmosphere and tension are there in abundance and the game, whilst a little rough round the edges, plays beautifully.

 

Edit: Just browsing through Metacritic - a number of the reviews criticise and mark the game down for stability - at least on PS4. Not sure if they had prerelease code or I've just been lucky but I've had no similar problems (to explain from up thread, I bought the game on PS4 too as my little HTPC was struggling with framerate, not that I imagine anyone gives a flaming fuck)

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I'm just about to move into the next area through the tunnel. Had already managed to collect nearly enough wood to stock up the box on my way down from the crash, and then I got lucky twice. Firstly I watched a wolf kill a deer in front of me, I then ran right on top of it and the wolf got scared and run away without me having to do anything. Got something like 9.5kg of meat! Then a wolf attacked right outside a house I was clearing out. Managed to fend it off quick, it wandered a short distance then keeled over. Another 6kg meat! More than enough to stock the fridge and have plenty left over to trek out with. Now trying to get flare gun before moving to next area... or can I come back for it?

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I've had a couple of framerate fluttters on my 1070 running at 2.1ghz, but mostly it's rock solid. Had a couple of CTDs with 1.0 and 1.01 but none since... touch wood.

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Mentazm if you are playing Wintermute then there is no return once you finish Episode 1 (going through the mountain cave after the town), so bring everything you need. In Episode 2 you will find all the tools etc that were in Episode 1 eventually, but it's always good to have more. If you can bring some food and firewood with you it will make those first few days in Episode 2 easier, as it's quite tough to begin with. The flare gun makes life soo much easier in both episodes (good for escaping wovles in Milton and saving your ass from the many wolves in Ep 2) and there's a lot of flare gun ammo to find - if I recall correctly it's in one of the hidden caches or security boxes around Milton, so you'll need to do some side questing. I did almost all the side quests in Episode 1 and it makes it last waay longer around Milton.

 

Be aware that continuing in Episode 2 with your Episode 1 progress can be a bit fiddly. For me it kicked me back to the main menu after the Episode 1 final credits, but then when I selected Resume, it kicked me back to the end of Episode 1 in the cave. Do not start a new game on Episode 2 if this happens as you won't carry over any of your stuff from Episode 1. Instead I just did the cave section again and reached the end of the episode. When I was kicked back to the menu after the credits, the Resume option correctly begun Episode 2 and all my gear was carried over.

 

Yes the reviews mentioning technical issues were correct - at launch on console there were a lot of crashes during loading screens due to a memory leak, and a bunch of other annoying bugs. However they patched the memory leak within a few days and fixed a lot of the issues. There are still occasional bugs and the odd loading screen crash, but autosave usually saves you in these situations. The game is a little rough around the edges in some regards - animal AI is a bit ropey, especially when they run off, they run around erratically and can traverse terrain you can't even reach, it looks stupid as they run against invisible walls and stuff. Once a deer I'd shot ended up dying, stuck half-way up a huge rock that it was impossible for me to climb (or it to climb realistically). On the whole though its fairly stable and they keep releasing patches so the console versions in a pretty good state now. The bugs at console launch really hurt the devs though in reviews and customer perception, they admitted they fucked up but the damage has already been done.

 

I didn't know wolves could kill deer - it makes sense as in the wild this would happen, and you see wolves eating the deer bodies. But I've never seen it myself. I have seen wolves chasing down and killing rabbits though which is cool. To begin with the wildlife behaviour seems pretty basic but there's actually a lot of depth to it. The first time I saw a wolf pick up my scent and actually walk along the exact path I'd taken to find me was brilliant. In survival I run into bears from time to time, and I thought they kind of randomly popped up, but now I think that the caves with bones inside might actually be their lairs, as they tend to pop up around those. I think they go off hunting or patrol large areas and come to their cave from time to time.

 

I'm still alive on my current survival run in Coastal Highway. I'm up to over 20 days now and in a pretty good spot. I rediscovered the Coastal Town which is crawling with wolves, but looting it was worth it for a lot of good gear. Then I caught intestinal parasites from eating too much wolf meat which was a big problem. You have to get 10 doses of medicine to cure it, although it sounds like you need to dose every day consecutively I'm not sure if that's true. Anyway, I only had a few days worth of medicine so it forced me on an epic mission scouring the woodlands for mushrooms to make medicine. To make matters worse the illness makes you weak and tire quickly. I had to climb up the hills behind the lake and up the switchbacks, avoiding wolves and bears and dealing with shitty weather.

 

In the end though, I have found almost enough mushrooms for my doses, and I also discovered some houses and a lookout tower on the hill which had a rifle inside! I don't have much ammo, but it might let me clear out the town of wolves and make that a safe place to move my base to. I've found both exits to this region but want to fully explore the Highway before leaving, and craft up some good gear before I move on. I think desolation point is on one side, which I know is pretty tough, and the other I'm not sure, possibly the broken railroad, which I have already played in Episode 2. I hadn't realised they used the maps from survival in Episode 2, it's a bit of a shame as I already know 3 of the survival maps pretty well from playing through that.

 

I wish the mapping was a little better. It doesn't mark down a lot of obvious landmarks such as snowy roads which makes mapping woodland areas pretty pointless. The wild all looks the same, which is inkeeping with the theme, but it's a bit silly that your character doesn't note down the only obvious landmarks within it.

 

I'm kind of curious about how self-sustaining the world is. Aside from pushing outwards to find new loot, I was thinking about what resources will eventually run out. Foodwise I can fish as long as I have fishing line. They break eventually and you need scrap metal to make more. There is a lot of metal but not inifinite amounts. It's unclear if rabbits spawn or will die out eventually if you hunt or snare them all. Same with deer and wolves. Rabbits you could kill forever as long as you keep re-using stones, wolves you can stab if they attack you, deer you must shoot, or I guess let wolves kill them. Firewood is infinite as bad weather makes more branches and sticks fall (cool mechanic), but matches are limited and so far I haven't found a craftable fire starting tool. Although I know there is a magnifying glass and firestarter which I guess you can maintain with metal and a toolkit. Water is infinite as long as you can make fires. Clothes will degrade eventually if cloth runs out to repair them, and there must be finite cloth in the world as you can't craft it afaik.

 

So as far as I can tell, a lot of your survival, in ideal circumstances, can be prolonged for a long time - but eventually will force you onwards to collect finite materials to repair your kit. Therefore eventually even if you had the "perfect" game you will eventually run out of resources and die. So it is a truly futile survival game in that there is no way to infinitely sustain yourself even in the best situation. Although that's kind of depressing, it fits the theme well. In games like Minecraft once you know what to do, its quite easy to stablise and create a self-sustaining life, where in theory you could stay in one spot and survive for ever. In Long Dark that's never going to happen. You will eventually be forced to move on just due to resources running out, let alone all of the other factors like bad weather, poor health, item degregation, starvation etc etc. I kind of wish they did have an end-game for survival where you could get rescued if you wanted to, if you survived for like a year, or explored all of the areas and did certain events etc. You'd then have the option to "complete it", or stay and survive until death eventually claims you. In my mind the ultimate finisher for the story mode would be an epic quest spanning all the survival regions and many months of survival required before your eventual escape.

 

Still, great game and enjoying it a lot. It can be tedious at times but as a Kotaku article pointed out, that tedium of survival is kind of fitting with the theme - and its punctuated by the tension of unforseen events and the drive to push onwards or improve your situation. I do wonder whether it will get boring when returning to areas I already know - for me the best fun thing is heading into the unknown and making those expeditions where your safety isn't guaranteed and you don't know where the next shelter for the night is going to be. 

 

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I guess finite resources force you to explore the world further, I like that. Compare with games like Don't Starve where, once you were set up, you could easily stay alive indefinitely. This kind of robbed the game of its challenge - Klei's response was to create an expansion with a bunch of giant monsters that fucked your base up with much too much regularity - not sure that's the right answer.

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Yeah I think its the right approach. It's satisfying to get stable in one area but over time it does get stale. I kind of wish they had randomised level generation to make exploring feel fresh on multiple survival playthroughs, but to be fair the areas are large and challenging anyway, plus they feel like real places. It would be cool if players could create new levels but that's probably a pipe dream. It's one of the most convincing survival games in that it really feels like the best post apocalyptic stories in that you're always on the move, shoring up in one place for a while but always forced out every day or two to find food or wood because food doesn't keep for long. I feel like a character in The Road or The Walking Dead.

 

I also like the fact that often even when you have a plan, you can be forced to change tack due to the weather or bad fortune. I've had straightforward expeditions turn into skin of the teeth survival by bears or wolves attacking or forcing me inside, or unexpected blizzards coming in trapping me for a day or two in shelter, making me run out of supplies or make mad dashes for food in whiteouts. Pushing your luck is necessary at times but you have to deal with the consequences, even a simple trip to the frozen lake to fish can go horribly wrong if a blizzard comes in or you get lost in mist on your way back home. 

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They've randomised item and animal spawns in Survivor mode (on the assumption that's not changed since the beta) which has much the same effect as randomising the world. Agree that this game is good at going sideways when you least expect it. I recall playing survivor mode a few years back, had a nice base set up on the lake near the summer houses including a sweet little open hut on the lake with a stove - ideal for fishing. That was until I decided to call it a day due to fatigue, only to find I'd been cornered in the hut by a wolf who took 3/4 of my health with some severe bleeding on top. Then a blizzard set in and I got lost in the short distance back to my summer house and wound up bleeding out trying to find it.

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In story mode I've went to the repair shed to fix the rifle. Trying to get back outside and both front and back doors have the lock icon over them and I can't get out! Anyone else had this bug? Tried sleeping, exiting, reloading, same.

 

 

Edited by Mentazm
This wasn't a bug. I was just being dumb.

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Managed to kill a bear with my rifle in story mode which I thought was impossible? Think I shot him right in the brain. Had 39k of meat on him, enough to get through the rest of the game, but I had nowhere to store it for miles and I was freezing with low food and water.

 

Currently trying to shoot some deer to stock up the dude in chapter 2, hope I'm near the end of this as it's really way too long for a story mode. It's just given me a hankering to play the proper open world again.

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Started playing this last week and its really grown on me. The sense of isolation is spot on and I'm sure as hell not playing it without a piping hot cup of tea at the ready to help get me through the numbing cold that's put on display. *brrrr*

 

I had to restart after about two hours of Wintermute as I didn't really understand how any of the mechanics worked, even managed to forget the first bedroll you find in the cave lol. Thankfully my second try went much better and made it to the church unscathed and stocked up on loads of supplies.

 

Just made it to Episode 2 and wasn't expecting that wonderful intro!

 

 

It's a shame that the in-game characters/presentation don't live up to the art and kind of makes me wish they kept all the character interactions to some sort of a comic book type style but it's something that I can overlook. 

 

How many episodes are there btw? 

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