Darkest Dungeon Review

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Two years of this. After my recent run through the Darkest Dungeon this achievement appeared in my list.

Two game years mind you. After sending countless heroes to risk their lives, (and sometimes their demise) we have still yet to reach the Darkest Dungeon.

Sweeping through coves and ruins, defeating horrible monstrosities and nearly losing our sanity to only be so far from our goal. But even through the long slog there were we still came out victorious at times and we’ve improved, almost making everything worth it.

Almost.

Darkest Dungeon

Developer: Red Hook Studios

Publisher: Red Hook Studios

Platform: PC

Price: $24.99 (USD) on Steam

Darkestcombat

[Source: usgamer.net]

Darkest Dungeon really only has basic backstory, but it still hooks you in. Your relative began searching your family’s manor for ancient secrets and went too far causing monstrous horrors and eldritch creatures to be unleashed, taking over the manor and the surrounding areas near the hamlet.

You and a group of heroes need to take it back. Slowly, but surely, you will take it back with a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

The game features a simple 2D visual style, but it’s not top down. The game instead has you facing your heroes in a side-scrolling platformer manner, just take out the platforming and replace with brutal combat and deadly creatures.

Everything in Darkest Dungeon has a dark aesthetic even down to each hero’s appearance. However, they aren’t grim to the point of being ugly. There is a slight warmth to their faces and appearance.

Challenging turn based combat. With 15 (the latest being the Antiquarian) classes to choose from there is a large variety of tactics you can come up with in fights. Picking which heroes to bring along can greatly affect how well you do in the four different dungeons.

Say if you’re going into the Cove where the fish people there are highly vulnerable to poison, you’ll want to bring classes who can cause blight. Other areas will have creatures vulnerable to bleeding instead, so bring a Hellion or Jester, whose abilities cause a lot of bleed damage.

Positioning your heroes also affects how effective they are in battle. You can bring four of them with you, thus you’ll be placing them into four different positions from front to back. Depending on what that heroes preferred position is, will show which abilities you can use for them.

This makes some very deep tactics and a wide variety of different party combinations you mess around with to see what classes complement each other.

affliction

[Source: infiniteindie.com]

While you’ll need to keep an eye on your health meter, you are also going to need to keep an eye on your heroes’ stress meter as well. Stress is accumulated through various means: letting the torchlight get too low, if enemies land critical hits, specific attacks used by enemies, setting off traps and a whole host of stressful situations you would expect while traversing a dungeon.

Given the game’s challenging nature your heroes will die. Thankfully, you can hire more free.

Central hub area simply called the hamlet. Well you actually name it when you enter your file name.

The hamlet contains two places to help your heroes relax, the Abbey and the Tavern. There are three activities in both places, your heroes can take part in. At the tavern you can send them to drink to their hearts content or enjoy the pleasures of the flesh at the brothel.

The Abbey offers less decadent and sinful activities such as meditation, prayer and even a penance hall where they can flog themselves. I don’t know how that relieves stress, but hey whatever helps them take a load off.

While these activities are helpful in relieving stress, bad things can still happen at times. If you send someone to meditate for the week, they can go so deep into thought they can go on a spirit journey and go missing for a couple weeks.

Having them gamble can cause money from your pocket to be lost, but they can also lose the trinkets you equipped on them.

thehamlet

[Source: darkestdungeon.com]

There are also a guild hall and blacksmith used to upgrade your character’s abilities and weapons.

Each building can also be upgraded using certain heirlooms you find in each of the four areas, though it is mainly done with deeds.  This can cause some grinding, but it never felt tedious to me.

It does prolong getting to the end of the game, but with how much fun I’m having with the game I don’t want to get to the end of the game any time soon.

I also don’t mind grinding up new heroes from the stagecoach for the same reason. If I wanted to spend a quick hour with Darkest Dungeon I could. I can find a group of low level heroes and run them through a quick dungeon to get them levelled and feel like I accomplished something.

Conclusion

Darkest Dungeon is a mean game. It destroyed my spirit every time I lost a hero, as well as, every time one of them lost their damn mind and brought down the rest of the party.

At the same time it gave me some of the most gratifying moments I ever had in a game. Over coming difficult enemies and situations could not have been more rewarding.

This game can be rough, and it’s still possible to win. But when it decides to be mean, it can be brutal.

You’ve been warned.

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