Delving into the Darkest Dungeon (Early Access)

Posted in Darkest Dungeon, Fantasy, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PC Gaming, RPGs on February 10th, 2015 by thelonegamer

This is Madness! NO! THIS. IS. DARKEST DUNGEON!!!

One of the most intriguing games that I saw on Kickstarter last year was the dark (no, make that extra-dark) and foreboding RPG, Darkest Dungeon from Red Hook Studios. With a very eye-catching art style, an emphasis on very flawed, very vulnerable heroes, a Call of Cthulhu-esque vibe and that lovely gameplay aspect called PERMADEATH, this dungeon-crawling romp is making waves early this year since its release on Steam Early Access.

It’s basically a fantasy-style X-Com, with you taking the role of the Heir to the Darkest Estate. Your late father, prior to his untimely suicide, entrusted the place to you. But it won’t be all equestrian tournaments, parlor games and hobnobbing… nope, the Estate is in ruins and the site of a particularly horrid underworld of nasty creatures and deviltry swirling around a mysterious portal to the abyss. It’s your duty to try and keep this evil sealed inside the darkness, somehow.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone- Hell, you don’t have to do any of the dirty work yourself. That’s what Heroes are for! Every week, a stagecoach brings in fresh meat- er, adventurers to the town near the estate. These aren’t your simple fighters or mages- Nope, you got your Bounty Hunters, Crusaders, Plague Doctors, Jesters and more… all of them looking as nasty and grimy as the opposition they’ll be facing. Don’t get too attached to any of your catspaws though- the Darkest Dungeon DOES THINGS to people- from walking down the shadowed paths or engaging in combat with the wretched beasts lurking the various zones- it will have a toll on your heroes’ minds and souls.
If your heroes get too stressed, they’ll get stricken with psychosis, diseases and other bad stuff. To remedy that, you may have to commit them to some time in a Sanitarium, meditation in a cloister or perhaps a night with some wenches at the Tavern. But you’ll have to fix up the town to get all that running.

With Dungeon Crawling, Party and Town Management, Darkest Dungeon looks and feels like a Fantasy X-COM, albeit with the fighting mechanics a bit simpler- you only need to handle placement of your characters in 2D, and traveling is basically just moving forward or backward. But still, this game can be as deep or as shallow as you want it, there are lots of numbers being thrown around, as this is still basically a Tabletop RPG with dice being thrown somewhere in the ether.

The game is HARD, and you will lose heroes to the punishing difficulty. Still, there’s a maddening appeal to get heroes together and sending them into the darkness to their deaths… who knew?

So far, the game is in Early Access, but very playable and lots of content- you just can’t play it to completion. The devs still intend to put in more characters, areas, creatures and such, in addition to an actual Ending to the Campaign. The game probably won’t be finished for at least a few more months, but if you’re impatient like me, you may want to dip your toes into this intriguing slog- just be careful you don’t lose any toes in the process hahaha…