The Long Journey Home first impressions – a mix of space survival, strategy, and roguelike

The Long Journey Home Preview

Game PreviewMar 3, 2016 at 6:00a PSTby Jakub Mirowski

The Long Journey Home first impressions – a mix of space survival, strategy, and roguelike

During the Daedalic Days in Hamburg, we had a chance to see The Long Journey Home – the debut of Daedalic West studio. Although we are nowhere near being short on survivals, this one is particularly interesting due to its great emphasis on diplomacy.

The Long Journey Home in a nutshell:
  1. Debut work of Daedalic West, established in 2014;
  2. Mix of survival, strategy, and roguelike with an atmosphere reminiscent of classic sci-fi movies;
  3. Vast galaxy viewed from above;
  4. Commanding a crew and waging space battles;
  5. Complex dialogue system based on key words.

In 2014 it was decided that Daedalic Entertainment, which had been known mainly for adventure games, should expand. The outcome was Daedalic West, a subsidiary studio whose first production will be a roguelike survival RPG.

Hold on. Don’t give up on reading just yet. I do understand that among the avalanche of similar mixes of genres, The Long Journey Home may not seem particularly interesting, but the promise of a detailed world straight from classic sci-fi movies is intriguing itself. In the near future, the humanity has managed to discover a way to travel with faster-than-light speed. Having personally assembled a crew, we’re the first people to try out the new technology in practice. The experiment turns out a complete success – everyone gets back to Earth safe and sound, and live happily ever after as the most famous people in the history... Heh, wishful thinking. After the hyperspace jump, we plunge into an unknown galaxy where only our proficiency in combat, a skillful diplomacy, and a stroke of luck can help us return to Earth.

In many cases, a frenetic escape is the only option after a fight. - 2016-03-03
In many cases, a frenetic escape is the only option after a fight.

We spent most of the game controlling our vessel directly from above – in this mode, we fight hostile ships, explore lesser fragments of space, and discover ruins of ancient, extinct civilizations. We can also explore planets in search of valuable resources – without them survival is impossible. On those occasions, The Last Journey Home becomes an arcade game – poor reflexes may result in damaging our vehicle. We’re going to visit many such worlds, since the galaxy designed by the Hamburg team is pretty big. Longer distances can only be covered after discovering relays that work identically like those in Mass Effect.

We can visit many ancient ruins. Not many in better condition than these, though. - 2016-03-03
We can visit many ancient ruins. Not many in better condition than these, though.

But it’s impossible to return to Earth without engaging into relations with other, alien races – and this is the part that will probably be the creme de la creme of the Daedalic West’s debut. The attitude of the aliens depends on many diverse factors: more aggressive races can be impressed with a skillful combat display, but other, more peaceful societies will perceive it as a declaration of hostility. Dialogues revolve around key-words – according to the devs, this made the conversations much more complex. Our actions will cause certain reactions too – docking with shielding enabled can be perceived either as a sign of wisdom and cautiousness, or of distrust and wariness.

Should we enter that belt of asteroids? They did survive that in The Empire Strikes Back. - 2016-03-03
Should we enter that belt of asteroids? They did survive that in The Empire Strikes Back.

The relations of all those alien races are going to be intertwined throughout the whole galaxy, and each of those animosities and alliances can be used to our advantage. An example? During the Hamburg presentation, we were shown a quest where our party meets an alien who promises tremendous wealth should we deliver him to his home world. Not long after that, we encounter a ship of another race – and this race is hostile towards the race of our new passenger. We soon get a proposition of selling him for a considerable amount, but we can be sure that his fate would not be pleasant. What should we do? Should we risk the lives of our own and our crew members (who, as a matter of fact, could express their discontent of taking that alien with us in the first place), or should we take the easy way – silence our conscience, and say goodbye to the promised fortune? This kind of decisions is supposed to occur on regular basis in The Long Journey Home, and frankly, I wouldn’t even mind if combat and economy were of less importance on the account of the diplomacy.

Some aliens make a good first impression, but don’t let yourself be deceived. - 2016-03-03
Some aliens make a good first impression, but don’t let yourself be deceived.

It seems to be one of the few features that make Daedalic West’s production distinguishable among all those roguelike and survival games – but if the studio from Düsseldorf manages to use this novelty well, we could have a really interesting game that might draw the attention of fans of many genres. There’s a big potential here; personally, I find The Long Journey Home to be the most exciting project planned by Daedalic Entertainment, along with The Devil’s Men.

A randomly generated galaxy can be saved and shared with our friends. - 2016-03-03
A randomly generated galaxy can be saved and shared with our friends.