I survived 22 hours and 19 minutes – The Long Dark Alpha Impressions

coldlake

Day One

My eyes slowly open. Stingingly bright snow and cold blue trees everywhere. Looking in a circle around myself I find nothing but more snow and trees. Some rocks. A frozen creek.

I had just been in my plane… where? I was flying north and then a storm hit. Where is my plane? I look around helplessly. I only have on my warm clothes I had on the plane and my emergency backpack. I struggle but can’t remember much else beyond that.

Not knowing what else to do, I start moving.

I shamble through a valley edged by high rock cliffs for what feels like an agonizing amount of time. Eventually on my right the cliffs open up. A small cabin in the middle of a frozen glade materializes and I immediately make my way towards it. What supplies could I find inside? Maybe something to start a fire? I shivered in the cold – just the chance to get out of the wind was promising.

A can of beans. Some matches. Could be worse I suppose.

I continue through the valley and come across something half-buried in the snow. Intrigued, I move closer to see what it is. I find half of a deer corpse frozen in the snow bank. Lacking the tools to get the meat or hide, I regrettably leave it behind. I make a mental note of this place in the hopes I find some tools soon. And soon it will have to be – the harsh wind has picked up and is biting through my clothes.

sunsetI decide to follow the creek. I remember there’s supposed to be some ice fishing camps in the area and hope this creek leads to one of the camps.

Minutes drag on as I pick my way along the icy creek. Still no sign of life. I’m beginning to question my last threads of hope  when the creek finally opens up – the lake!

I peer out over the lake and notice two… three more ice fishing huts. As I make my way towards the first one I notice the small clusters of cabins around the opposite side. I sigh with relief. I might just make it through the night after all.

The first hut doesn’t have much – a granola bar and some socks. But the stove in the corner is all I care about. Gleefully, I throw open the grate and throw in my tinder and go to light a match. That’s when I realize I don’t have any fuel. Frustrated and bitterly cold, I shout at the shed. “I’ve never been so goddamned cold!”

As I leave the hut I look down the shore line and notice another, bigger cabin I hadn’t seen before. I head towards it. If there’s no fuel there I can at least huddle inside away from the wind.

I approach the cabin and notice the sign – this used to be the main camp office! Surely there will be some supplies in here! Inside I find a first aid kit with pain killers and antibiotics, a nice big stove and… firewood!

overcast

I chuck the wood, tinder, and lit match in. Realizing that I’m not that great at starting a fire, I pour on some accelerant I had in my pack. Sitting back with my feet warming up, I open up a can of pork and beans. As the warmth washes over me, so too does relief.

My hunger abated, I head up the stairs in the cabin to look for a bed. At this point the sun has fallen and I should probably get to sleep.

I stumble to a halt at the first landing. Sitting up against the wall is a dead man. The word “corpse” flashes through my mind as I stare at him. This cabin seemed fairly well stocked – so what happened to him? He forces me to face the reality of my situation:

I am alone in the Canadian wilderness. Everyone else is dead. I must do whatever I can to survive.

With that reality in mind, I reluctantly crouch and begin to go through his pockets to see if he has any other supplies.

Quickly I search the upstairs for any clothes or medicine and then hurry back to the main floor. There are beds but I feel uncomfortable up there with the dead man. Instead I add another log to the fire, spread my bed roll next to it and fall asleep.

Day Two

My fire’s died. With a sigh I put the last of my firewood in the stove and light a match. I stare at the tiny flame as it begins to consume the tinder – but after only a few seconds it dies out. I try again. It dies out. I try again. It dies out.

I give up and decide to go check on the other fishing huts and cabins around the lake. Hopefully I’ll find some more firewood and food around. I methodically search each one and find some useful things, like a coat better than my own that I immediately put on, and a nice wool sweater. They definitely help keep the cold out but I would have liked to find a little more than the three logs I found.

I make my way back to the camp office, my spirits surprisingly light. While looking ahead, something catches my eye. A dark shape sliding along the front of the office. I feel my heart begin to race. Please don’t be what I think it is.

I crouch as I approach the office. Stopping, I strain trying to hear anything.

I am alone in the Canadian wilderness. Everyone else is dead. I must do whatever I can to survive.

Nothing.

I move around to the other side of the building and look around the corner. Before I can even register what I see, the shape is on me, tearing at me. I punch, kick and yell. Finally the wolf scampers away through some rock outcroppings. But it left its mark. My arm is badly torn up.

I head inside and pour on some hydrogen peroxide. It burns something fierce but I know I don’t have much choice. I wrap the wound up with some bandages and swallow one of the painkillers.

Despite the wound, I head back out. I still need more wood or I’m not going to make it.

I know I shouldn’t leave. I have to choose between freezing and the possibility of being attacked again.

So I leave my safety.

I’m not out for long before it comes back.  I fumble through my pack to get a flare ready to throw at the damn thing, try and scare it off. But before I can even light it the wolf is on me again, ripping at my throat.

I black out, and die of blood loss.

I survived 22 hours and 19 minutes.

wolf_bridge

It’s still in Alpha, however after this first attempt at The Long Dark, I am hooked. Honestly, except for the fact that there’s only one map and Story mode is missing, you wouldn’t be able to tell that it is in Alpha. The game play feels very polished to me. The art is beautiful and the gameplay is deadly. I’ve heard people surviving 100+ days, but I can’t fathom that at this point in time.

As enjoyable as the single map of survival mode is, I am very eager to try the other map once it becomes available. And I’m even more excited to try the Story mode once it becomes available. I’m really intrigued by the names of the locations I’ve come across and would love to find out the story behind them.

Even in its Early Access Alpha stage, I highly recommend this game. You can expect me to write more about this game as more comes out.

The game key for this early-access review was given to me by the game’s hired PR company.

3 Comments

  1. sue   •  

    Wow! Now remember, I am an avowed anti-gamer, but you make this game sound pretty challenging…maybe I’ll try it…

  2. ali carter   •  

    dude. i felt the need to help because this sounds a lot like my first playthrough.
    -firstly, you don’t need logs to remain indoors… you will warm up once you’re inside (provided your clothes don’t suck).
    -and your primary source of wood is not actually going around looking for wood. instead you press tab and then click forage wood. that’s how you get wood. also don’t use up all your accelerant at each opportunity. they’re needed later.
    -and finally, don’t remain at the same place for too long at the beginning of the game. keep moving to find more food.
    -oh and if you don’t find the rifle, basically you’re screwed.

    • Cithryth   •     Author

      Thanks for the advice! Some of the stuff in the article was written differently than it occurred just to make the narrative make sense (like leaving the cabin after the first wolf attack – I left because I figured it would still be out there and wanted to see if I would die or just get injured badly)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *