The Long Journey Home: E3 Impressions

thelongjourneyhome

Daedalic Entertainment continues its work on The Long Journey Home, an intriguing melding of space exploration and RPG, with elements of old-school interactive fiction and choose your own adventure games.  The premise is simple enough: in the distant future you are supposed to take short trip to Alpha Centauri and back, but on launch your jump drive malfunctions and you are your crew find yourself on the far side of the galaxy.  Your task is to make your way back home.

Sounds simple, but a galaxy is a large – and, here, random – place.  Each time you start a game of TLJH, you are asked to enter a “Launch Code.”  That Launch Code, in addition to starting the game, doubles as a randomizer of the galaxy.  Each unique Launch Code will lead to a unique, procedurally generated, galaxy.  We launched with “Gamer Escape” and were instantly propelled to the far end of “our” galaxy.  The wonderful thing about this system is that you can share a galaxy with others by using the same Launch Code.  You can share a particularly interesting galaxy with a friend, or use the same launch code to simultaneously play through the same galaxy and see how each game unfolds from the same starting point… And the game can unfold differently.

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First off, each galaxy is truly massive.  Each galaxy will consist of between 400 and 1500 suns, around each of which can be up to 10 planets on which you can land.  As you hop from planet to planet – which requires utilizing the gravitational pull of planets, suns and black holes – you are required to continually repair and upgrade your ship to ensure that your journey can continue.  Items needed can be found while exploring a planet, obtained from completing a quest, or even bought or traded from alien merchants.

Moreover, each decision you make will effect how the game will progress.  Inventory is scarce in space, so the decision to pick up an item should not be taken lightly.  That item that you choose to take might be a relic of import to a particular alien race, meaning that they will react differently to you based on that decision.  Each item can also be analyzed each of your crew members – and only certain members might have insight into that item.  When you begin your mission you are able to choose four (out of ten) crew members, each of whom have different specialties.  Who you choose, coupled with what you find along your journey, and which crew member you choose to investigate what you find, will determine whether – and what – you uncover.

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By way of example, in the “Gamer Escape” galaxy we ran into an explorable planet which housed some alien ruins.  The ruins revealed an ancient alien artifact which we promptly picked-up.  Back on our ship we gave it to one of the crew members to inspect (the one who suggested that it looked promising, rather than our bruiser-type crew member who suggested that he could crack it in half for us), and that inspection revealed a quest – something about finding a nearby arctic planet.  As we hopped to a different planet we were approached by an alien race, who sounded peaceful, so we elected to talk to them.  They asked us to smuggle one of their crew members to a nearby planet.  The option is again left to you – we accepted the passenger, risking the wrath of other alien races.  When we landed at a nearby space station, an alien merchant was then willing to buy the smuggled alien from us.  We were informed that there is an active alien slave trade.  And all of this took place in only a tiny section of our procedurally generated, galaxy.

The Long Journey Home will appeal to gamers looking for something a little different.  It certainly has elements of action, but at its core seems to be a seemingly limitless choose your own adventure of epic proportions.  The goal is to maintain the integrity of your ship, keep moving and get home with at least one crew members alive (if they all die the game is over), but the ways in which you can accomplish that are varied to say the least.

The Long Journey Home (http://tljhgame.com) will be available in Q4 2016 on Ps4, Xbox One and PC  (Steam).