If war was all you knew, would you question what you were fighting for? Bred out of an incubator, with a Father you recognize and a Mother you’ll never meet, life inside The Core is one filled with your Brothers and Sisters in arms, all with the same goal in mind – right? But life beyond the surface is far different than you would have ever imagined.
In this dystopian RPG, things don’t seem as bad as you initially expected. The sunlight scorches your eyes, but the fresh air is well worth the pain. The days are long as war is something that feels infinite to those fighting in it or simply trying to survive day by day. But if you were a soldier bred to fight in a war you don’t fully understand, when do you stop to question? This is Long Gone Days.
Long Gone Days Background
Long Gone Days is a dystopian RPG originally announced way back in 2018. In its Early Access state, its development remained on track with demos for the loyal fanbase to obsess over. The story follows Rourke, a soldier bred for war, alongside his very real Brothers and Sisters who each share the same Father but different Mothers. Their purpose was set in motion from the moment they were conceived. But what was told to Rourke was far from the truth, and his so-called Father, whom he was told to inspire to become, would have much more twisted plans in motion for the war that Rourke had a hand in.
A Great Cast of Allies to Fight For
I had access to Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 in my playthrough of Long Gone Days. This totaled approximately 6 hours of gameplay, including the completion of Quests. The cities in question were vibrant and full of life, with NPCs who, to Rourke, spoke in foreign tongues as they begged for help in the ongoing crisis. Being one of the only foreigners in sight, Rourke had to quickly adapt and find allies that could translate in order to do what he does best – help.
Rourke and his allies are great characters to like and follow. They are all relatable and hit what is needed for character alignment. You not only want to see more from them and learn their story, but you want to make sure that they survive until the end. I really enjoyed how your Party grew larger and larger as time went on and more allies joined your cause.
The only issue I have with the characters in Long Gone Days is that I wish they were fleshed out a bit more. But I’ll mention more about that below. For characters that you will get to know in your time playing as they join you on your adventure, each has their own unique skills when it comes to combat. The turn-based battles offer strategy and use mechanics that many RPG fans will be used to. It is inviting and smooth and has enough uniqueness to keep it fresh.
Whilst characters are blatantly placed into Classes/Categories with Assault (Rourke, Lynn, and Atiye) and Support/ Medic (Ivan, Adair, and Pascal), each has their own set of Skills that wield their own power and purpose within a fight, calling for specific times on when best to use them.
Not only can you gain more Combat Skills by completing Quests and winning important battles throughout the game, but you can also upgrade Equipment through finding or being rewarded with Armor and Weapons. Whilst Rourke is a soldier, his equipment relies more on adapting to the current environment. This includes finding heavyweight clothing to increase Defence and Attack or a sentimental Keychain of Lynn’s to provide Luck.
You will want to switch out your Equipment based on each individual stat of your Party Members as the difficulty increases as you progress through Long Gone Days. I really appreciate the difficult progression, as I’d have to switch up my playstyle to handle whatever threat was ahead of me.
Completing Questlines to Liven Up the Cities
The cities and layout are intricate but not too complex that you can get lost in. Every POI (point of interest) is clearly labeled, and you will find yourself doing a lot of back-and-forth if you are interested in achieving 100% across the Quests in every city you visit. My one real fault with this game is how the Quests are open from the minute you enter a new area. What I mean by this is that you can go into Quests in the Menu and view the title of the NPC Quest and its description without having met the person to get the Quest.
Because of the Quest Menu, I found myself getting confused about who I had/hadn’t met yet and which NPCs I forgot to introduce myself to. The Main Quests (story-related) did not appear on the Quest List, so any breaks I had resulted in more confusion about what I had to do when I went back for a second dose of Long Gone Days.
However, the Quests are a nice touch, and whilst we are all used to seeing them in RPGs, they felt completely natural and were a great way to obtain new Equipment, build up that important Morale, and fully see the sights in every city. Every location has its secrets, and I’m here for it. The map layout is ridiculous at times; however, with vents being placed inside labyrinth-style buildings, sometimes you have to question who approved this in its build. I won’t question why some rooms are only accessible via a vent… but seriously, how did they get a whole security desk and computer in there without a single door in sight? It’s an unnecessary fault that I have with an RPG, but I’m a sucker for realism, and seeing a pistol shoot like an assault rifle hurts my FPS heart.
A Proper Tale About War and Not Just About Rapid-Shooting Pistols
Long Gone Days handles very real issues even though its story is a dystopian work of fiction. But aside from the soldiers that grow in test tubes, there is nothing fully dystopian about this game. The subjects handled are quite serious, with houses being burned down by militia, snipers taking out innocent in a political move to start an attack on Poland as the soldiers disguised themselves in Polish cloth, and finally ending on a human trafficking note in Chapter 2. It is, however, delivered in a way that does not aim to shock you but instead provides much-needed context on the events.
We are as naïve as Rourke, who is basically the male equivalent of the ‘born sexy yesterday‘ trope but without the horrible creepy factor. We are learning alongside Rourke about the current state of the world and how Rourke and his allies come into play.
I hope that more depth is added to Ivan, Atiye, and Adair, as I have only currently seen the backstory given for Lynn. Long Gone Days includes many choices that are not only important to Morale (works similar to Mana) but also dictate the whole narrative, your relationships, and the ending. Long Gone Days is one that I’m excited to see how it ends. I have found myself to be completely invested in the characters and narrative. Sure, its story isn’t one we haven’t heard before, as there is only so much you can do about war, dystopia, and fighting evil politicians. It has moments of wholesomeness, which adds more touches of realism that are much needed for a game all about surviving in a foreign land in the midst of war.
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