First Impressions - The Long Dark: Tales from the Far Territory

December 19, 2022


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The even longer dark

You know what’s bloody horrifying? The idea of being a Canadian. As a person who lives in a place that’s a frozen hellscape for a quarter of the year, and has spent more nights that I’d care to admit cuddling a cold bottle, I can say for certain that the jump scares of Martha is Dead don’t have anything on the average life of someone in the land of Tim Hortons. Apparently I’m not the only person who realizes this, because in 2017, a talented team of people put outThe Long Dark, a survival game where the scariest thing you’ll need to contend with is the fact that you’re a Canuck. And now, five-odd years later, its first major expansion, Tales from the Far Territory has started a year-long release process, and it too is horrifying in all the right ways.

For those unfamiliar with the base game and were confused by my weirdly worded introductory paragraph, the premise of The Long Dark is slightly more complicated than just existing as an ice hockey fanatic. You play as a the sole survivor of a mysterious apocalyptic event that wiped out all three people who live in Northern Canada and short circuited all the electronics in the region. Your task, then, is to survive long enough to figure out if it’s even possible to get rescued with some of the most realistic and punishing mechanics ever coded into a video game. You need to eat, drink, sleep, stay warm and fend off exclusively natural predators, all while worrying about everything from the common cold to breaking your bones. 

Joke's on them, there’s nobody around to stop me from trespassing

It’s a phenomenal premise for a video game that’s deeply rooted in realism, and it’s one that was executed perfectly when the base Long Dark released half a decade ago. However, it’s been a solid minute since then, and Tales from the Far Territory brings a host of fresh elements to the now-aging title. This includes things like new animals to contend with, new regions to explore and new items and item variants to help you survive. As such, it isn’t exactly a huge expansion, and a lot of the content that’s included in it will be releasing over the course of a year like is the case with other game’s season passes. 

But what’s available now is nice, and as one would expect from a game that was generally well-received by critics back when it came out, is more or less finely tuned. The new regions available to explore are as great as the ones in the base title, the items you can find are almost essential to survival and having to contend with even more natural predators adds another layer of depth onto what is already one of the most detailed survival simulators on the market. 

I feel like taking random firearms is illegal or something

However, it should be noted that for as great as the new content in Tales from the Far Territory is, none of it changes the core of The Long Dark, and as such it’s only really worth purchasing if you enjoy the base game. To be clear, that base game is still absolutely fantastic, and in a league of its own when compared to the likes of DayZ. But the slow paced nature of the title, its punishing systems, and relatively lofty price of admission are still abundantly present with everything that’s added in this expansion pass. 

If you’ve gotten this far into the review, though, I can only assume that you do enjoy those things, and as such it’s hard not to recommend picking up Tales from the Far Territory. While it’s not the most content rich DLC to hit Steam shelves, and the content itself generally borders on boring in a good way, that’s great for a game that’s easily the best example of survival not-horror on the market. If you’re looking for an excuse to give the developers more money, or want to get back into roleplaying as every Canadian who lives outside the country’s handful of cities, you won’t find a better one anywhere. If that isn’t your cup of campfire-brewed tea, though, nothing added inTales from the Far Territory will change your mind.

The Long Dark: Tales from the Far Territory is currently releasing its content in regular update. Check back next year for our full review of it.

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Derek Johnson

Somebody once told me the world was going to roll me, and they were right. I love games that let me take good-looking screenshots and ones that make me depressed, so long as the game doesn't overstay its welcome.