If you have read my review of The Long Dark, you will know that I found the story mode incredibly frustrating. Not just annoying, not petty, it is scream at the screen, throw the controller at the cat and yell every curse word under the sun frustrating. I was annoyed when playing it, I was annoyed the morning after, I was annoyed writing the review and I’m even annoyed with it right now as my friend who is playing it the background has just worked out how to make the map work, which I spent ages trying to do and ended up thinking it was bugged as it was just a black screen.
To prevent my review just being “ARRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” printed on seven sheets of A4 and accompanied with the sound of me repeatedly slamming my head into my desk, I had to do something to get the frustration out of my system. This is it: an imagined conversation with the story mode of the game, exaggerated a little for comedic effect, but not by much.
If you ever thought reviewing games was fun, this may change your mind. Please be warned, there are swears.
Tuffcub: Hello, The Long Dark! I’ve been really looking forward to playing you. You look really good, welcome to PlayStation!
The Long Dark Game: Hey! I’m on PlayStation 4 now, and I have a Story mode! Do you want to start with that before Survival mode?
TC: Yes, lets.
TLDG: OK, here we go. You are stuck on a small ledge on a mountain in Canada, your plane has crashed and a global disaster has killed technology and decimated mankind. Off you go!
TC: OK, so I’ll just have a look over here…
TLDG: You’re dead.
TLDG: You bled out.
TC: But I’ve only been playing for two minutes, I haven’t even had time to explore the very small area because you have crippled me from the very start.
TLDG: Tough. Try again.
TC: OK, second try. I’m bleeding, so I need to find something to bandage the wound. It’s very dark, can’t you highlight useful objects like most games? I can barely see a thing.
TLDG: Nope. Also, you are dead.
TLDG: Try again.
TC: Gah! Right, I’ll go in this direction this time. Aha! A medical kit with a bandage! I’m saved. Hang on, how do I use it?
TLDG: Not telling.
TC: Bastard. OK I’ll press all the buttons and… Ah, some sort of menu wheel. OK, bandage applied. What the hell are all these other menu screens? Why didn’t mention all this? This looks complicated, is there some sort of manual or help system?
TLDG: Nope. Also, you are dead.
TC: What? Why?
TLDG: You froze to death.
TC: Godammit! Right, starting again, got the bandage, applied the bandage, found some newspaper and some twigs and made it to a cave. According to the menu this fire has a 55% chance of working and will last an hour. Here we go… it’s starting to burn… getting there…. Dammit, it’s failed. I’ll build another.
TLDG: No you can’t.
TC: Why not?
TLDG: I’ll give you one guess.
TLDG: Got it one. Give that boy a prize! This is a serious game; it’s exactly like you have crashed you plane in a snowy wilderness and if your fire fails you may not have time to build another before you freeze to death.
TC: OK, I guess that if this was real life I probably would be dead. Let’s try again. Bandage done, got newspaper, and hey look, there are bits of my wrecked plane which look like they are made from wood. I can use that to fuel my fire. Hurrah!
TLDG: No. You can only use sticks. Not that lovely wooden A-frame over there.
TC: That doesn’t make sense.
TLDG: Tough. Also you’re dead.
TC: ARGHHHHHH. OK, start again. Bandage. Twigs. Newspaper. Starting fire… yes! It worked! Can I sleep now?
TLDG: Yes. Well done. Nighty Night!
TC: Ah! Good morning The Long Dark! I am refreshed from my sleep, and it’s daylight, so I can finally see things. This is much more cheery, although I do seem to be hungry and thirsty.
TLDG: Yes, you are. You should probably find food and water.
TC: OK, well this is much better. Look, there are crates and boxes scattered around and if I search them there’s bound to be some food, that’s how video games work. Let me have a rummage and… Hurrah! Food! Excellent. Om nom nom.
TLDG: Now you need to find some water.
TC: Well I’m surrounded by snow…
TLDG: You need to melt it.
TC: Really? Well if that’s what you want, I guess I’d better get to it. I can see more wood so I’ll get a nice fire going; there we go, lovely and cosy. Right, that medical kit form last night was a metal box, I can tell it was metal from the sound it made when it was closed, so I’ll go pick that up and use it as a container to boil the water.
TLDG: No. You can’t pick that up.
TC: But why not? I can pick everything else up, and it’s metal and perfect for boiling water.
TC: This is very unfair. Either be serious simulation of survival or a video game, you can’t change the rules every five minutes.
TLDG: I honestly don’t care. By the way, I’m sure you’re having fun arguing, but you’re about to die from dehydration.
TC: Well I’ll just make a snow popsicle and suck it.
TC: I’m dying of thirst. I’m surrounded by water and it’s not even yellow. This is ridiculous.
TLDG: You’re almost dead…
TC: LET ME EAT THE SNOW!
TLDG: No. Dead.
TLDG: Try again.
TC: You are really, really getting on my tits now. I’ve got the food, but how the hell do I do melt the snow? There are no containers, or at least none I can pick up. There’s no option to collect the snow either. I have no idea what to do.
TC: Come on, your game logic doesn’t make sense. At least give me a hint?
TC: I’ve gone through the crafting menus and I can’t see anything useful.
TC: There are no containers! I’ve found water purification tablets, so I guess have to use them, but I’ve got nothing to boil the water.
TC: Give me a hint.
TLDG: I keep on popping up a screen telling you to melt some snow! That’s a hint.
TC: THAT IS NOT HELPFUL!
TLDG: Dehydrated. Dead.
TC: Oh piss off. I’m going to have to look at some YouTube walkthroughs just to find out what to do.
TLDG: But then you will ruin the story!
TC: At this point I don’t bloody care. Right, YouTube… found a video and gone through day one ok.. and day two… build fire and… WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCKING FUCK!
TC: So I just click on the fire? Even though I don’t have any snow or anything to boil it in? I just click on the fire and can melt snow. How? What in the… WHAT SNOW?
TC: I hate you.
Keep an eye out for my one man show “An Angry Cub Tries To Play A Bloody Stupid Video Game”, which will be touring nationally this November. Alternatively, go read my review of The Long Dark here.