As Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker sang in the movie, Rush Hour “War huh, what is it good for absolutely nothing.” I’ve played tons of war-centric games over the years, but not many have tackled it from the perspective of the bystanders and refugees. The game, Long Gone Days from the South American studio, This I Dreamt attempts to tell this narrative in the form of a turn-based RPG. The end results left me with a lot of thoughts.
Let’s dive into it.
In Long Gone Days, the setting is a fictitious version of Earth where a mercenary organization known as the Core provides relief and military support to countries that could pay for it. You play as Rourke, a soldier aka sniper who is sent out on his first mission to help the Polish military take down the enemy combatants at a base. After the mission is over Rourke is horrified when he finds out that the enemies that he was ordered to take out during the mission are not soldiers but ordinary civilians. Because of this action, he is able to stumble onto a grander scheme that The Core is fanning the flames of war.
The main character, Rourke is a well written character that I found easy to relate to. The overall game itself is well written to the point where I go on the record in saying that the narrative is the strongest part of the game…well maybe except the ending (more on that soon). The characters handle the situations presented in the game in a realistic manner, which makes them feel like real people versus just characters in a video game.
Long Gone Days features combat that you can expect from a turn-based RPG. The only difference is instead of weaknesses that you can exploit you mostly focus on
different points of the body of the enemy that you are facing. For example, you can hit someone in the arms and stun them but it’ll have low damage associated to it. You can attempt to get someone in the head for higher damage but the enemy has a high chance of dodging that type of strike. You can also hit someone in the body but that is their most defended area. This is how the combat works regardless of the enemies you face, whether it be machines or people.
Unlike a lot of turn-based RPGs, there isn’t a level-raising system in this game. You can raise your comrade’s morale which in turn helps you in battle, but your team’s character never get stronger. Instead, you have to rely on strategies, such as your special abilities, basic attacks, and your items to defeat your enemies.
A pleasant surprise is the game’s side quests. There quiet a few of them and I found myself impressed with how thoughtful those sidequests are. These side quests are not only good lore builders but they also flesh out the characters around you.
Another aspect that I really enjoy about this game is the art style. The game features really gorgeous pixel art that is mixed with some anime flavor that really makes this game look unique. It was a joy when you go to new places because of the detailed pixel art and the vibrant colors.
One feature of this game is that the characters around you speak so many different languages. Instead of this game being in English and all the characters speaking English a lot of people speak their native tongue in the game and it really has an authenticity to it.
I mentioned the combat and how it works earlier. Unfortunately I wasn’t enthralled or entertained with any of the combat elements of the game. I get what they were trying to go for and I appreciate the uniqueness of the combat. However, it never really had that hook or that gameplay mechanic that made the combat enjoyable for me. Don’t get me wrong the combat isn’t bad enough that I would say skip out on this game, but it is not fun enough to escape the feeling that it is monotonous at times.
Another aspect of the game that I wish would have been a little better, is that some of the buildings and landmarks in the game all look alike. As a result, The art style which is a real strength of the game is held back by some set pieces that feel samey.
I won’t spoil the game’s ending, but I’ll say that I didn’t enjoy it. It was a bit bleak and left me scratching my head in a way that made me feel like I had missed something or maybe that there were multiple endings.
Overall/Should you Play Long Gone Days:
If you enjoy turn-based RPGs and are looking for one with a story then you should play this game. While Long Gone Days has its flaws, like some of its set pieces, combat system, and it’s ending, it is a shorter RPG that has more going for it than against it.
Where Should Long Gone Days fit in your video game backlog:
Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.
Long Gone Days – Long Gone Days is a game that you should have in your video game backlog if you enjoy turn-base RPGs. I could definitely see this game being in your main narrative slot or in your pallet cleanser spot. Its short runtime allows you to get in and get out.
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