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Evangelion Wet Suits are Skin Tight

Jan-27-2011
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The Long Journey Home

Posted by GG Goblin On September - 30 - 2019

Lost in space?

 
The idea of exploring space is exciting. As a species, Human’s have barely even scratched the surface of exploring even our local space, let alone zipping off into the cosmos for far-flung adventures. However, video games are able to fulfil that need to explore strange new worlds and such, and Daedalic Entertainment’s The Long Journey Home will take the player far, far away before tasking the player with simply getting home. It may come as no surprise that space exploration is a complicated and often dangerous business, but Daedalic’s adventure pulls no punches by stacking the odds against the player, making sure that this will be anything but a smooth ride home.

 


 
Being the first to try something out, the Guinea Pig if you will, is always a risk. For the player of The Long Journey Home, this means being the first to try out Humanity’s first faster than light engine, and accidentally ending up in an unknown region of space. The player will be able to choose four crew members from a small selection, each with their own traits, and will then be responsible for getting them back to safety. Of course, this being a particularly brutal game, the crew are unlikely to survive and the player will not get home. But hey, that is all part of the fun and challenge, and for those who do actually manage to reach the relative safety of their own system, I tip my space helmet to you.

 
But what stands in the way of this journey home? Well, resources for the most part. Managing resources is pretty much the single most important aspect of The Long Journey Home, and the gathering of those resources will lead to most of the players problems. The player will have a big, impressive spaceship, along with a lander craft that is responsible for nipping down to the surface of various random planets to gather those much needed resources. There are different types of resource that are needed for various things, from the all important gas for fuel and minerals for the drive, to metals needed for repairs. There is a constant need for all of these resources, and as they are not especially plentiful, the player will find themselves having to keep going through the procedure of getting them.

 
This is perhaps the most frustrating part of the game, the simple act of gathering resources. While in many games where resources are needed, it is just a matter of digging up some rocks or chopping down trees, in The Long Journey Home it involves first getting the ship into an orbit around a planet, before heading down in the lander to actually gather the resources. Even the act of getting into orbit can be tricky, with the player only having a small window of success between missing all together and having to waste more fuel trying again, and causing damage to the ship. Once the player achieves orbit, getting the lander to the right place is no easy prospect either. Varying conditions on the planet can cause complications, but even without them the lander is tricky to control, and it is easy to take damage or waste yet more fuel. Even the members of the players crew can become injured in this process, making life yet more difficult and the chances of reaching home even more unlikely. And all of this will likely result in the merest handful of resources, ensuring that the player will have to go through it all again fairly soon.

 


 
Players will get used to the process eventually, which is lucky as the game really doesn’t hold the player’s hand. However, there are so many random aspects to The Long Journey Home that it often feels more down to luck than anything else when the player manages to succeed. The same can be said for the rest of the game, although it is far less frustrating in nature. Being deep in unknown space, the player will often come into contact with new species, and this is one of the highlights of the game. The vast number of different encounters is impressive, and the imagination of the developers shines through. Impossible to predict, an encounter could start out well, maybe with a little trading, before going totally wrong due to some unknown offence caused. The aliens may be friendly, but infect the crew with a nasty space disease. Or the encounter could go wrong from the very start, and the player may find themselves fighting their way out. Considering how big and lonely space could be, the developers have managed to really bring this adventure to life.

 
The Long Journey Home is a good looking game. Navigating through space can range from purely functional to utterly mesmerising, and taking the lander down to a new planet, when the view switches to side on, always gives the player something new to look at. It may be a brutal existence in the far reaches of space, but at least it looks good.

 
The real problem with the game comes down to the difficulty. There is nothing wrong with a challenging game, but so much of this title revolves around the random nature and luck. The piloting is tricky and will take some getting used to, but players will spend much of their time worrying about ever-dwindling resources and hoping that their next encounter doesn’t go awry. It’s a really stressful game in that respect.

 


 
There is something truly epic about The Long Journey Home. The vast expanse of space and the possibilities it holds are all realised here. Playing this game will create stories for players to tell about the joy and harshness of space, but they will likely all end in failure, some kind of unexpected catastrophe that brought their journey to an abrupt halt. It has that pick up and play feel, but the randomness and luck aspects will require the patience of a saint from the player. For those feeling lucky and up for the challenge, The Long Journey Home could be worth a try. Just don’t expect to ever get home.

 

 ★★★★★★½☆☆☆ 



 

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