PC Gaming Highlights: Feeding the Bear in The Long Dark
Great PC Gaming Moments are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
The long darkness
The Long Dark’s sandbox mode is challenging. You start off cold and lost, with no idea what’s really going on other than knowing you want to survive. It’s really a pure survival game, a game that doesn’t shoot. Don’t have enough food? You will starve. No water? Death. Oh, and you’re constantly battling freezing cold that will absolutely give you half a chance. The smallest sprains can turn deadly, and eating something you shouldn’t can also cause you to lose. Death awaits.
But somehow, against all odds, you survive your first night. And then, miraculously, the first nights. You find ranger stations, an old hunter’s cabin maybe, and things don’t look so hopeless anymore. You start assembling tools that mean you can stand a chance even after eating that last can of soup. A rabbit trap could see you last a few days longer, as long as you can stay away from those wolves.
Oh man, wolves. You hear them first. Their sinister howls at night. You will see them from afar when you cheerfully leave your fisherman’s hut, bounty in hand. But you absolutely keep your distance. You don’t need to approach them. And you don’t want them near you. But they do.
All is well, and with any luck, you’ll survive your first attack and crawl back to heal yourself. Your torn clothes can be repaired, and if you’re really lucky you might have wiggled enough to get the wolf out, so there’s a fresh skinned and meaty carcass to be had if you can find where the fight was. occurred.
If you manage to survive and if you are thorough, you will eventually find a weapon of some kind. And that completely changes the game. If you’re lucky you’ll find a shotgun, and if you’re really lucky you’ll find the bullets to go with it. Suddenly, you are no longer the hunted: you are the hunter. Wolves no longer scare you. You can take them out (from a safe distance). You are unstoppable. Nothing can touch you.
And then you meet the bear.
Even though you’re fully geared up, wearing deer and wolf skins, with a selection of weapons to choose from, nothing goes quite as you think when there’s a bear involved. I remember carefully shooting the massive beast and being amazed that it didn’t do anything to slow it down. I barely got another shot before he slid his huge claw over my body. Those brief moments of consciousness as he pulls you back into that cave, before you pass out again. You don’t wake up from this. But you’re absolutely coming back for more, because The Long Dark may be harsh, but it’s also utterly brilliant.