Review: Winter Survival


Posted on March 2, 2024 by fncwill

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6.5/10

Summary

Winter Survival is a game that tries to emulate the success of “The Long Dark” but falls short in many ways. The game’s building and crafting systems are a weak attempt to differentiate itself from its superior counterpart, but ultimately fail to add any real value to the gameplay. The game’s wilderness and harsh weather conditions are unoriginal and lack the depth and complexity of “The Long Dark.”

The sanity system, while a unique feature, is poorly executed and adds little to the overall experience. The line between reality and madness is poorly defined, and the game fails to create a sense of tension or urgency.

In short, Winter Survival is a disappointing and frustrating experience. If you’re looking for a challenging and engaging survival experience, stick with “The Long Dark” and skip what feels like a lackluster imitation at this time. I believe with more polish the game could stand out more and become a better experience, but the building and crafting won’t help win over an already loyal fan base to the genre, and that of The Long Dark.

Developer – DRAGO entertainment

Publisher – DRAGO entertainment, HeartBeat Games

Platforms –  PS4/5 , Xbox One , Xbox Series S|X,PC (Reviewed)

Review copy given by Developer

NOTE:

The following game is being reviewed in an Early Access State, the game may change after the release of this review and this review reflects the game at the time of publishing.

Winter Survival is a survival game that immerses players in the cold, harsh wilderness of the Mount Washington State Park after a hike with friends turned into a dire situation. You are left alone to fight for your survival, with the marginal supplies you have, to fight off of the cold, thirst, hunger, wildlife and your own state of mind while finding your way to an abandoned ranger station in hope to be able to call for help.

The game’s setting and mechanics are reminiscent of the game “The Long Dark”, but Winter Survival tries to set itself apart with its focus on building and crafting systems. The game’s emphasis on shelter-building and resource management adds an extra layer of depth to the survival experience,but is it enough?

Winter Survival offers a unique blend of survival and building mechanics, as players must gather resources and construct their own shelters to survive. The game is a fully-fledged survival game with dynamic combat, stealth, base building, and a very unique sanity system.

The story of Winter Survival is one of exploration and discovery. Players are dropped into a vast, snow-covered wilderness and must navigate through treacherous forests, mountains, and frozen lakes to survive. The game’s setting is not only visually stunning but also rich in history. More than a century ago, people lived in this area and left behind remnants of their lives that are still useful to the player today.

As players venture deeper into the wilderness, they will come across abandoned structures and personal belongings that tell the story of the people who once called this place home. A town built by people who have long gone, the player can find out more about their past and the reason for their disappearance. The town holds many secrets, and it’s up to the player to uncover them.

The game encourages exploration by making it a necessary part of survival. Players must explore their surroundings to find shelter, cook meals, and rest. Each new area presents new challenges and rewards, whether it’s avoiding traps, force-opening doors, or making abandoned structures work again. The story is not just about surviving the wilderness, but also about discovering the town’s past and the people who lived there. The game’s story is woven into the gameplay, making it an integral part of the experience.

Players will encounter a variety of animals while exploring the wilderness, including wolves, boars, and deer. Each of these animals presents a unique challenge for the player and must be hunted differently.

Wolves are dangerous predators that roam the wilderness in packs. They are intelligent and aggressive, making them a formidable foe. To hunt wolves, players must use stealth and cunning. Setting traps and ambushes is an effective way to take down these animals. Wolves are also susceptible to fire, so using a torch or other fire-based weapons can give players an advantage.

Boars are large, powerful animals, they are aggressive and will charge if they feel threatened. To hunt boars, players must be quick and agile. Using a spear or other long-range weapon is recommended, as boars can be difficult to take down at close range. Boars also have a thick hide, so players must aim for vital areas such as the head or heart.

Deer are gentle creatures that can be found in forests and meadows. They are not aggressive and will flee if they sense danger. To hunt deer, players must be patient and observant. Deer can be lured with food and will often approach if they feel safe. Using a bow or other silent weapon is recommended, as deer have keen senses and will be alerted to loud noises. Deer can also be tracked by following their tracks and looking for signs of their presence.

In general, hunting in Winter Survival requires players to be skilled in tracking, stalking, and taking down animals. Players must also be aware of their surroundings and be prepared for the dangers of the wilderness. With the right skills and equipment, players can hunt these animals and use their resources to survive.

The five major factors that you need to factor into the game and be concerned about are cold, thirst, hunger, physical exhaustion, and mental strain. However, that’s not all. Injuries and illnesses are also significant concerns, and the weather is yet another challenge. Being exposed to freezing temperatures without shelter is akin to a death sentence, and going out in a snowstorm is no better. Moreover, the weather in the mountains is notoriously unpredictable and can change rapidly.

To make matters worse, random events can either turn your day around unexpectedly or plunge you deeper into despair. The adaptation system may offer some respite by allowing you to acquire new survival skills and enhance your abilities. However, the unique sanity system is designed to make things even more challenging.

The most deviant enemy in the game is one’s mind. In Winter Survival you will experience an unforgiving world where it’s hard to distinguish reality from madness, due to the unique sanity system.

Unlike most survival games where gameplay becomes easier the longer you play, Winter Survival’s sanity system makes gameplay progressively harder. As you play, your character will experience various debuffs that increase their insanity level. Once your insanity level reaches 100%, a new symptom will be added to your gameplay the next time you sleep. For example, choosing “delusional predators” may result in encountering phantom predators while exploring. Once chosen, a symptom remains for the entire gameplay, although you can slow down insanity growth by taking proper care of your character or acquiring buffs.

Additionally, the sanity system may affect your adaptation level, blocking certain recipes. However, completing a set of challenges will restore these recipes.

In reality, your mind becomes a problem way sooner than starvation. It starts with fatigue symptoms, losing your will to continue the struggle up to imagining things, and even full-blown hallucinations. Fear and the stress associated with it form another layer that can influence your perception and together all these factors make for a highly interesting and different survival experience.

Really though, the game comes down to crafting all sorts of useful things and building shelters and other structures to escape everyday struggles. Some resources are easy to find, some are only available in certain areas, others have to be gained from hunting, and some are left behind by those before you.

The extended crafting system ranges from simple campfires to cooking food to building entire shelters and protective structures wherever you please. It is the crafting and building system that will allow you to slowly transition from unbearable danger to a more manageable environment.

In conclusion, Winter Survival is a game that tries to emulate the success of “The Long Dark” but falls short in many ways. The game’s building and crafting systems are a weak attempt to differentiate itself from its superior counterpart, but ultimately fail to add any real value to the gameplay. The game’s wilderness and harsh weather conditions are unoriginal and lack the depth and complexity of “The Long Dark.”

The sanity system, while a unique feature, is poorly executed and adds little to the overall experience. The line between reality and madness is poorly defined, and the game fails to create a sense of tension or urgency.

In short, Winter Survival is a disappointing and frustrating experience. If you’re looking for a challenging and engaging survival experience, stick with “The Long Dark” and skip what feels like a lackluster imitation at this time. I believe with more polish the game could stand out more and become a better experience, but the building and crafting won’t help win over an already loyal fan base to the genre, and that of The Long Dark.

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