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First Impressions on The Long Dark Story Mode: Wintermute

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  After three years in early access on Steam, The Long Dark from Hinterland Studio has released the first two episodes of their story mode, called “Wintermute”. Episodes One and Two, which are titled: Do Not Go Gently and Luminance Fugue respectively, follow Canadian bush pilot Will Mackenzie and Dr. Astrid Greenwood after their plane crashes during a geomagnetic storm. It is up to the player to bring these two together after becoming separated after the crash.

As of writing this, I have not completed either episode of Wintermute, and as such I will not be reviewing the story being told. Instead, I will be sharing my thoughts on how the mechanics of the game are employed by the narrative to deliver its story, as well as a few points for players who might not plan to pick up the game for some time. I’m playing this on PC, though it has been released on Xbox One and Playstation 4 as well (A European release on PlayStation 4 will be coming August 8th).

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Wintermute gives long-time players like me the motivation to keep surviving. The game stands strongly on its own as a survival game, and the challenge modes added in a 2016 update certainly gave players more to do, but without a greater story to follow, the game quickly becomes an exercise in self-imposed storytelling. The simple quest “Find Astrid” becomes so much more complicated by the now-familiar mechanics of the game. Scavenging for food, crafting better gear, fighting off dangerous wildlife and struggling to keep warm are all brought together into a perfect storm of obstacles to level against the protagonists as they fight to find one another in the quiet apocalypse.

 Once Will wakes up, the game begins its tutorial, keeping the player confined in a small ravine. Over several days, the game teaches you about fire-starting, first-aid, gathering food and resources, all while Will is recovering from the injuries he sustained in the crash. Astrid is nowhere to be seen, and as soon as Will is strong enough he sets out to find her.

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In this opening section, the combination of strong mechanics and narrative is illustrated beautifully. The player is trapped with Will and needs to learn how to survive to progress in the story. Each element of survival is explored individually, and when the player knows all they need to get started, Will has the strength to climb out of the ravine and find Astrid. After leaving this tutorial area, the player is left largely to their own devices to track down Astrid.

After spending some time in this tutorial, we see a cutscene introducing us to the protagonists, who appear to have a not-so-happy history together. Astrid needs to fly out to the backwoods of Great Bear Island in the Canadian wilderness, and Will reluctantly agrees to assist her. In the middle of a terrible storm, a geomagnetic event causes the plane to lose power and it crashes. This whole cutscene shows off the absolutely beautiful art style of the game, giving an almost watercolor treatment to a survival title. It lends itself to a serene, yet harsh environment, and when put in motion it looks wonderful.

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Eventually, the player will encounter wolves, and here is where my journey got a lot more interesting. After being attacked by one wolf, and left bleeding out, I learned that Will’s pants had been irreparably torn to shreds in the attack. There I was, standing out in the Canadian wilderness, at night, slowly dying, and pantsless. I rushed to find shelter of any kind but was forced to spend most of the night by a small fire under a rocky outcrop, struggling to recover enough to find a more reasonable shelter. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I found an abandoned church and made it inside before another wolf attacked.

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At this point, I realized that this was a very different experience from the sandbox mode I had played before. Yes, the mechanics were the same, but the very fact that I had a mission immediately raised the stakes. I wasn’t just struggling to survive, I needed to stay alive to find Astrid. To find out what all of this means, why she needed to fly out here in the first place.

As of now, I’ve made it to the town of Milton, and I’m happily wearing pants again. After some more serious preparation, I’m eager to see where Wintermute takes me in this quiet apocalypse.

The Long Dark is available for purchase on Steam, the Playstation Store, and the Microsoft store.

 

My name is John Hanley, and I'm a gamer, writer, and amatuer filmmaker. I also run very silly D&D games from time to time.

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Metallica takes center stage on the battle arena of the Fortnite Festival, showcasing their musical prowess in an epic PVP showdown

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Metallica will be headlining the Battle Stage at the Fortnite Festival, and fans can look forward to an epic performance later today, on the 13th of June. The entire lineup of the legendary heavy metal band has been transformed into digital avatars for the ever-growing gaming platform. Fans can now enjoy their greatest hits and even engage in a thrilling musical player-versus-player game mode.

The collaboration between Metallica and Fortnite marks the start of Fortnite Festival Season 4, featuring an exciting lineup of six Metallica songs, such as “Enter Sandman,”  “Fuel,”  and “Ride the Lightning.”. Additional songs will be introduced as the season progresses. By choosing Epic’s premium Festival Pass, you’ll have the opportunity to unlock all four Metallica band members as playable skins. How about a showdown between Lars Ulrich and Goku?

The aspect that captures our attention is the 16-player musical battle royale. The Battle Stage offers a challenging experience that pushes players to their limits, requiring both physical stamina and a captivating stage presence. Players will find themselves immersed in the intense energy of the four tracks playing simultaneously. Perform with skill, and you can unleash powerful bursts of musical energy, causing less talented individuals to falter and be defeated, with the ultimate victor being crowned the Master of Puppets (most likely).

In addition to that, Metallica will be making an appearance at the Rocket Racing tent, complete with a specially designed track, car, and LEGO replicas of the band members. Is there anything more intense than that?

Do you enjoy Metallica’s music? Could anyone have predicted that the band would rise to prominence in a video game primarily aimed at a younger audience who may not be familiar with their music? And now, let’s turn our attention to the comments section below.

 

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Star Wars Outlaws PS5 Demo Falls Short of Delivering the Full Experience, According to Critic

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Star Wars Outlaws, although it appeared visually stunning during Ubisoft’s livestream earlier this week, has received some criticism for feeling somewhat outdated. A preview unfavorably compared the release to Uncharted: Golden Abyss, the PS Vita exclusive spin-off that was launched in 2011. However, according to the creative director, the sampler is merely a small taste of what the full experience has to offer.

“When entering a show of this nature, where you’re finalizing a game’s production, you’re faced with numerous decisions. Our producer limited us to just one demo for all the shows we would attend throughout the year, such as Gamescom and Comic-Con,” Julian Gerighty explained in an interview with VGC.

He explained that the events are designed to cater to both consumers and journalists. To ensure an engaging experience, they opted for a 20-minute format that offers a diverse range of content and showcases different game systems. However, they intentionally avoided showcasing the open-world experience at this particular event, as they plan to unveil it during the studio tour and preview event. This will be a brief overview, more of an appetizer than a full meal when it comes to the game.

According to Gerighty, the developer Massive Entertainment has crafted a highly engaging game, with only a portion of its greatness showcased here.

Admittedly, the comments do make sense. It’s common knowledge that creating demos requires a significant amount of the team’s focus. If a game plans to showcase itself at consumer conventions, it can’t just offer a short gameplay experience of two or three hours. That simply won’t suffice when attendees are patiently waiting in line. This seems to be just a subpar demo, which is unfortunate. However, it may not be something to worry too much about in the end.

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The Sky Breaker Pierce DLC for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora comes out in July for PS5

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Ubisoft has given us our first look at The Sky Breaker, the first DLC story pack for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. In it, a strange shadow will appear in the sky and threaten the Na’vi clans, who just can’t seem to get a break. It comes out next month on PS5, on July 16th.

A new part of the Upper Plains called “The Heart of the Plains” can be reached by taking the Sky Breaker. Some well-known biomes have changed into new types, and there are also many new ones. Of course, the RDA has also sent out new types of enemies, so you need to be careful. The good news is that not everything is bad. During the Na’vi Festival of Games, players can look forward to timed tasks that are a little less scary. Secrets of the Spires, another story pack, is still planned to be added to the game at some point.

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