Lurk into your deepest fears, overcome them with great courage and strenght in Darkest Dungeon.
Posted by Paul on 6 February 2015 at 1:07AM
Ever had that childhood curiosity, when discovering an abandoned place, convincing your friends to come with you or being you the one who is dragged in the plan? “What could possibly happen?” you would say. “It’s not like we will be in danger or get attacked by monsters or anything!” Guess what, Darkest Dungeon discovers and unleashes your greatest fears upon you as you go deeper and deeper into the unknown caverns and dungeons of this messed up fictional World. Here is Red Hook Studios' thrilling experience.
The gothic roguelike turn-based RPG revolves around human psychological stresses. They develop as you venture forward and face the most unimaginable horrors. Deal with stress, famine, disease and Einstein’s explanation of lack of Light: Darkness.
The introduction to the game explains how this man knew about some secret power below the mansion. His lust for power got his workers killed by the evil lurking within the catacombs. The darkness showed in this incredible 2D story narrative is as dire as it can be.
OBJECTIVE of the game:
Your mission is to bring a team of heroes into abandoned warrens, evil forests, dungeons and more. You must explore them completely to discover mysteries and sometime kill a bounty, unless he finds you first.
*Now, are you ready to embark on your mission?*
Usually you get to bring equipment with you, such as shovels to dig up blockades or obstacles, of course a good supply of food for health restore, medicine and your best friend; the torch, bring many of these. The darker the environment gets, the more panic your characters will feel, so keep the flame lit as much as you can. As you explore, you will find unused torches, statues, chests, camps, etc… It will be randomized if they are booby-trapped or not, so be wary and suit up accordingly.
As mentioned before, the encounters are turn-based. Sometimes you will get preemptive strikes, or have foes attack you first. Your attacks can either miss (a lot sometimes), get a decent damage amount or get a really good critical. This goes as well for your enemies. During fights, each character has special abilities, some can use their turn to remove stress from their party members, and others can mark an opponent for a stronger next turn. Usually it is recommended to use blight on foes that have no blood, while bleeding attacks work well on tougher flesh enemies. Pay close attention to the preferred position of each of your characters, some may not be able to use their abilities at all if placed incorrectly, unless you want them safe from direct attacks. Here is when strategy comes to place, some enemies will pull or push your characters out of order, and to be honest you can’t waste a turn organizing them, you need to take down the enemies as fast as you can.
After an agonizing experiencing, dealing with horrible foes and deadly traps, your characters will have accumulated stress and sometimes even develop fears; fortunately you can relieve them of it when camping, eating your supplies, making encouraging speeches and what not. After all the nonsense, your game “hub” (which is this gothic style town) is your recovery place. Here you can find all the upgrades and improvements for your next encounters:
Guild: Improve character skills. Like any other roguelike, you need to get these if you want to go far.
Blacksmith: Upgrades weapons and armor
Abbey: Stress relief
- Cloister (Peace through meditation)
- Transept (Pray to a Higher Power)
- Penance Hall (Flagellation brings absolution. Yup, you read it right)
Tavern: Stress relief
- Bar (Drink your cares away)
- Gambling Hall (The thrill of winning)
- Brothel (Pleasures of the flesh)
Sanitarium: Treats quirks and diseases. Here you can remove fears, just don’t pay attention to that menacing looking device!
Stage coach: Allows you to recruit new characters for your roster.
Graveyard: See the list of characters that met their demise.
Nomad Wagon: Buy special equippable trinkets!
*Getting to know your team*
Be aware that when you get to know your characters, by simply looking at their appearance you can tell what type of treatments they will mostly enjoy. For example: a Knight would get stress relieved by praising to a Higher Power, and the gunslinger can enjoy his night at the brothel, or the bounty hunter can pass his time gambling, but do not send hard focused warriors into gambling as they won’t even know what to do with the chips. Each of these stations can be upgraded as well; Upgrades including price reduction for treatments and more slots to have more characters treated at a time. The price for these are special items found during missions (these include busts, portraits, deeds and crests), curiosity might kill the cat, but you can never be certain of what treasures you may find.
*Visuals, graphics and original soundtrack*
The game has a “Hand-drawn gothic crowquill art style”, which looks absolutely amazing and original. The dark ambience and themes are horrifying enough to engulf you into this adventure after thinking it twice. The animations are movable still action poses but for this style they seem to work quite well, they show at a speed that will make you rage when noticing how all enemies dodged your halberd somehow.
The music in the game resembles the genre of horror almost perfectly. Listening to the evil sounds lurking around and dark tones used for making voices more menacing are all great ingredients to making this a dark experience. Sound FX are properly mixed and volume is set decently enough, you can also of course mix it at your will.
- Fantastic and clever gameplay
- Mechanics are functional and balanced
- Polished visuals and unique art style
- OST is well implemented and ambient
- Progression is fair and depends on player's persistence