We’ve seen the horrors of war across multiple games over the years, especially in first-person shooters, but Long Gone Days feels like it hits a bit differently. Maybe it’s the bleak storytelling that focuses on the innocent lives lost in war? Or maybe it’s the fact that you don’t see too many RPGs tackle this sort of modern war theming?

Either way, it makes for an engaging experience that blends together a sombre narrative with some unique RPG mechanics, and whilst it might hit a little close to home given everything that’s going on in the world right now, it stands out as an absorbing release in the genre.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Long Gone Days sees players taking on the role of Rourke, a sniper who is part of an underground paramilitary state known as The Core that are hired to take on dangerous missions for various nations across the globe. Painted as a prestigious yet noble force, Rourke wasn’t one to question the motives of The Core, but when a mission takes a dark turn when he learns that he has actually been gunning down civilians instead of soldiers, he begins to question all that they stand for. With his similarly minded friend Adair in tow, they desert The Core and begin a new journey to not only stand up for those whose lives they have destroyed, but also find a way to stop The Core from bringing more devastating chaos to the world.

Whilst it’s pretty clear early on that The Core aren’t the heroes that they portray themselves to be, I still found myself wholly invested in Rourke’s realisation and his journey to seek redemption for his actions. However, whilst it’s easy to feel sympathy for Rourke as a character, Long Gone Days does an even better job of capturing the effects of war across the world and on the civilians whose lives that The Core have disrupted. With wars taking place in the real world right now and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, the tale hits a LOT harder, with it difficult not to feel a stronger sense of sadness with the theming given that the bleak landscape it portrays is the reality for a lot of folks out there right now. It makes the storytelling feel more poignant and powerful, and whilst the fictional aspects such as the character building and twists-and-turns are engaging, it’s hard not to find the comparison to reality one of the most striking aspects of Long Gone Days.

“However, whilst it’s easy to feel sympathy for Rourke as a character, Long Gone Days does an even better job of capturing the effects of war across the world and on the civilians whose lives that The Core have disrupted.”

When it comes to gameplay, Long Gone Days plays like your typical RPG. Players will explore a variety of locales where they’ll meet NPCs and take on quests, spend time gathering items and gear to strengthen their party, and partake in turn-based battling where they’ll vanquish enemies and earn rewards in the process. There’s a bit of light puzzle-solving along the way, whilst the side quests flesh out the story in a variety of ways and give the player some additional challenges to go along with the more linear-driven story.

Combat feels quite traditional with its turn-based setup, though Long Gone Days does change things up a bit to add some extra excitement to encounters. For one, you can choose which part of an enemy to target when attacking them, with each having a risk-versus-reward element in place where you might deal more damage but at the cost of your accuracy. Going for a body shot that’s almost certain to hit is efficient, but risking a head shot that’ll do high damage or an arm shot that can paralyze your opponent always feels more substantial. It adds an extra element of strategy to the game that makes battles a bit more interesting, whilst landing those riskier shots always gave me a bit of a buzz when playing. There are also more intricate special skills to use that require SP, with these offering a variety of buffs, de-buffs, and added damage that can change the tide of a battle in your favour. And when you defeat an enemy? You’re offered the choice of a reward, be that an item to use, a recharge of your SP, or so forth. There are no experience points to be earned here, but with combat taking an admittedly smaller role in the game than you might expect, the difficulty and your party strength always feel perfectly balanced.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Whilst Long Gone Days can feel very traditional in a lot of aspects of its design, it does have some unique ideas too. For example, there’s a sniping mini-game that sees you carefully picking shots with limited ammo, whilst there’s also a morale system in place that affects some of the actions you can take as the game progresses. You can boost morale by completing side quests, as a reward from battling, or by taking specific actions when given the choice, though you can see it drop if you make the wrong decisions too, so you’ve got to be careful. Another thing that I thought was really cool was that you won’t be able to read the dialogue of characters in certain areas until you have a party member who speaks their language, which feels befitting of the region-trotting nature of the game. It’s something that’s feasible when stepping into foreign soil and helps make the experience all the more believable – even if there were a couple of occasions where it can make the player miss out on small plot details.

Long Gone Days really does have a lot going for it to ensure its adventure is an entertaining one, whilst the roughly ten-hour playtime feels perfect for the scope of the game. Whilst the game certainly didn’t run out of steam thanks to its engaging story and fun battling, some of its more repetitive aspects such as the environmental design and linear sense of exploration did get noticeable as I reached the end – not to the point that it made the game boring at all, but there’s only so much that the developer can do with modern looking buildings in a war-torn landscape.

Long Gone Days Review

Long Gone Days offers a desolate representation of war, but the engaging storytelling and neat RPG mechanics ensure that players will be hooked into its perilous adventure. Rourke and his allies stand out as believable characters who find themselves in the midst of the devastation, whilst it’s easy to find yourself wanting to take The Core down – even IF the odds are firmly stacked against you.

With a clever twist on combat and some unique ideas in gameplay, it makes for an enjoyable RPG experience. It might not be as meaty as some of its counterparts and there are some aspects of its design that can feel a little repetitive towards the end, but Long Gone Days still stands out as an eye-opening release in the genre that isn’t afraid to tackle dark and sombre themes.

Developer: This I Dreamt
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/510540/Long_Gone_Days/