First Impressions of… Darkest Dungeon

Do you like the idea of losing one or several of your heroes to the encroaching darkness?

Or would you prefer having a character suffer the stresses of the abyssal horrors beneath the manor only to eventually succumb to them and go completely mad? In either case, you’ll find what you want in the myriad of ancient halls and winding pathways of Darkest Dungeon. Not the actual Darkest Dungeon, though. That has yet to be implemented. But there are plenty of other places you can visit, explore, or maybe even cleanse while trying to redeem your family name.

Or while making ridiculous amounts of money.

Unlike other RPGs, Darkest Dungeon will tax brave adventurers with an overflowing amount of stress for facing the abominations which call your estate their home. Too much of it will lead to a character making a resolve check, which can be either positive or negative, and can severely impact how they perform in the rest of the dungeon. In one circumstance my Crusader refused to fight at all for several turns. Which, given we were one person down, and close to losing another to madness, wasn’t great. Should they take too much damage, they’ll fall to Death’s Door, where each subsequent amount of damage received may permanently kill them. You’ll lose all of their equipment if they die, too. Unless you can finish the fight and recover their trinkets.

Death has a number of other consequences (besides the obvious) as well. Remaining party members will incur a stress penalty, the party will likely be unable to finish the dungeon with reduced numbers, and (if you’re lucky enough to recover the trinkets) you may need to leave loot behind. It’s not something to be taken lightly.

Bleeding from your face is no longer optional.

Bleeding from your face is no longer optional.

Darkest Dungeon is shaping up to be an Early Access title which (despite already being quite promising) is going to get even more interesting in the coming months. Beside the number of already implemented, fully functional, and fully upgradable character classes they’re looking to add a few extras. There’s also a fourth area which will be implemented later in the development process. There will likely be other changes, too. As the developers are quite keen to respond to how the community is faring with their hellish adventure.

That and there’s the actual Darkest Dungeon to see. One day.

Besides delving in dungeons you’ll also be expected to upgrade your estate, your character roster, your facilities, and even the equipment for all of your heroes. You can also let any of your inactive heroes recover stress or remove negative quirks. Quirks, which, while they seem fairly scarce to begin with, will pile on quite quickly. These will also affect how your heroes respond to the interactions in dungeons, how much damage they take, how much stress they accrue, and more. So they’re not something you can afford to let run rampant. If you get everything perfectly balanced (with a few good runs under your belt) you might even get to retire one of your favourite heroes.

It’s not likely, though. Darkest Dungeon is inherently a punishing title that expects you to lose characters, progress, and even trinkets. It’s designed to push you to the limit and (at the moment) there is no easier difficulty level to choose. That said, if punishing difficulty sounds like your idea of a good time then this title is well worth the price of admission.

Have a nice weekend, all!

Moggie

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