Darkest Dungeon was started through a Kickstarter campaign that has been highly anticipated for a couple of years. I would describe Darkest Dungeon as a rogue-like, turn based RPG, that sees you battle against some gruesome enemies.
I will start by saying that this game can get extremely challenging and you need to spend some time learning the ropes. Darkest Dungeon is a brilliant example of how you can take a game genre we have seen many times before, but changing it up and giving it fresh and interesting gameplay mechanics.
The game starts with an awesome animated cinematic that introduces you to the story. The basic idea of the game is to explore various dungeons. You have to accept that you are going to lose characters during the game, as the enemies can be very challenging and varied. The game at first seems to be like many other turn based games but it also introduces some interesting new elements. When you start you have to visit the local tavern, where you can recruit new allies. You then select four to venture on your journey into the horrific dungeons.
Your characters will start to gain more experience during combat, and you will also start to collect loot and other items. You can also collect and build up stress. This is where the game gets interesting, as your characters can become fearful, paranoid or many other negative emotions. These have an impact on your party during the battles. These ‘stress’ impacts can be reduced by paying for activities in the town like drinking at the local inn. Getting heroes is free in the game, so its best to frequently swap out fighters once they become stressed.
The game has a good range of character classes to choose from, including a Highwayman, Plague Doctor, Crusader, Vestal and many others. They all have their own unique skillsets and abilities. It’s very important to spend time finding the best combination of four heroes. This takes some trial and error, and you will have to lose some fighters along the way. You do have the option to abandon your quest at any time during the game, which is costly to your team, but can be helpful in the long run. There are four dungeons in the game. Each requires a completely different take on strategy and party build. You will find that you will begin to like certain players over others, but I can’t stress how important it is to mix things up. I often found it very important to have a character that possesses some sort of healing abilities. There’s a fifth dungeon that represents the endgame, which is called the Darkest Dungeon.
The game has a wide variety of enemies that you will face, and this is where you need to make sure you have taken enough supplies with you. Before entering the dungeons, you can stock up on items such as torches, food and potions. I found it vital to take enough food to keep your team going. Its also very important to take enough torches as the dungeons start to get darker as your torch fades, and can lead to negative traits in your team. You will also encounter boss battles, that force you to make drastic and important changes to your team. The bosses have three tiers of difficulty, and this keeps you on your toes. As you beat each boss and venture further, you begin to learn more about the story and world. The game is narrated brilliantly, and adds real character to the game. The overall aim of the game is to get to the namesake of this entire title, The Darkest Dungeon. Here, players will face the toughest of challenges.
Another interesting and unique gameplay feature is the fact that once you start to level up your characters they will refuse to take on low-level missions. This forces you to have to keep on recruiting new players and therefore have a consistent roster of heroes. I thought this worked really well, and gave the characters a sense of depth.
The overall presentation of the game is some of the most original and interesting styles I have seen in a while. The game has beautifully animated cutscenes, which use a hand drawn painterly style. The game is cryptic, gruesome and dark, and full of character. The narrator guides your players through the game, and comments on moments and actions you take. Throughout your gameplay, the narrator will explain, with harrowing descriptions, how everything went horribly wrong and how evil was unleashed upon the world. The sound design and score suits the game perfectly and adds a real sense of fear and oppressiveness to the experience.
Darkest Dungeons is one of the most notable rogue-like games out at the moment. If you enjoy a game that offers up some difficult challenges that require time, practice and careful planning then you will enjoy this. The game can be brutal and unforgiving, but once you start to upgrade your team and get into the groove, it can feel extremely satisfying. The game makes you want a little further, and has a sense of risk and reward. This is what makes the game so addictive and time absorbing. I highly recommend this game.
REVIEW CODE: Here at Brash Games we have a strict Review Code policy, Paul Ryan owner / editor is the only member of staff at Brash Games permitted to obtain review code and distribute it within the Brash Games review team. No other person is permitted to request review code and or send review links or contact the publishers in any way whatsoever. Should you wish to send us review code please email paulryan-at-brashgames.co.uk.
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