Long Gone Days PAX West Impression

The premise of Long Gone Days is a very interesting one, and seeing how the story plays out will be exciting.

Role-playing games have the opportunity to showcase almost any kind of story, and it’s one of their greatest aspects.  In This I Dreamt’s Long Gone Days, the title tackles language barriers and how patience and understanding will help diffuse situations.  However, as one would expect in a turn-based RPG, there are moments where words fail and the protagonist Rourke has to fall back on his sniper training to make it through the day.  With a story very close to meaningful modern topics, it was intriguing to see how it’s being presented at PAX West before it’s full release this October after a long time in Early Access.

Rourke is an aspiring sniper, picked for his natural skill by the Core, a subterranean private military company that raises people from infancy to keep the peace.  However, Rourke is more interested in being able to see the sun for the first time.  He gets this opportunity as he is chosen to be a member of the Raven Squad, an elite group that the Core sends to the surface to deal with civilian unrest as the surface is seen as unhospitable to members of the Core.  Rourke soon learns that people on the surface aren’t as bad as they seem and maybe the Core isn’t as altruistic and noble as he first thought.  Armed with a sniper rifle, his wits, and trying to connect with those around him Rourke aims to make the world a better place as he’s able to.

In Long Gone Days, the focus is more on how human connections can de-escalate situations.  There are seven different languages found in the game, each utilized for different areas of the world that Rourke finds himself in.  If there are any silver-tongued individuals out there these NPCs will speak fluently in these other languages, but for most people Rourke will need to find an interpreter.  To do so he must befriend locals and find someone that’s able to help him communicate and find the best way to ease the unrest of the area.  Things are left unclear about the unrest — whether it is caused by the military, the citizenry, or both — but Rourke tries to help out people as much as possible.  There are story scenes that play out with Rourke and decisions to make, these story scenes are conveyed in a comic book style and done well.

There’s a few ways to help out the people. Communication and playing peacekeeper is the preferred method.  Rourke’s choices are reflected in a morale system that can effect both battle and the people around.  However, there will be situations that arise where Rourke has to fall back on his military training.  Whenever he goes under attack, the game shifts to a close-up first person turn-based menu system.  Rourke and any allies he has are able to use skills or shoot at enemies.  Skills always hit, while regular shots have a chance to miss depending on which body part is aimed at.  Head shots do more damage but are less accurate, while body shots are the safest and attacks on the arm can paralyse the enemy for a turn.  This adds a bit of need depth to the battles, when they arise, though combat is often a last resort in the game whose message appears to be to try and avoid conflict as much as possible.

The visuals stand out most during combat as enemies are shown to be up close and personal to help demonstrate the danger of the situation.  At the same time, they are faceless soldiers for the most part.  The game doesn’t have unscripted combat, the choices that Rourke makes will directly impact how many times he has to defend himself.  The thought process that his decision are what lead to the current situation is reflected with a soundtrack that never really heightens during combat, always playing a haunting track even when fighting is occurring.

The premise of Long Gone Days is a very interesting one.  Playing as a reluctant soldier in a war that seems to never end is intriguing on a few levels and leads to many questions.  How much can one man really do to stop the horrors of war?  How does patience and learning the language and culture of the area around him help diffuse the situation?  Seeing how the story plays out will be exciting.  Long Gone Days is set to fully release on October 10, 2023, and will be available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.


Ryan Costa

Friendly neighbourhood reviewer that thinks every RPG should be discussed, because one never knows where a hidden gem can appear.

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