When I bought the Darkest Dungeon I was really excited at first, due to all those amazing reviews and responses it got. That was until I actually played the game. Darkest Dungeon is a Gothic tactical RPG published by Red Hook Studios. Its plot is the simplest ever. Story is almost non existent, and is explained briefly in 3 cinematics throughout the entire game. Yeah, you read it right; an RPG game that doesn’t tell you anything about the story behind it, apart from these 3 cinematics; Introduction, Old road and Epilogue, and all of them together do not last over 5 minutes!!. To make it even better, your sole purpose in the game is to farm, farm, farm and (em let me think…AH) FARM, until you “suppose” you are ready to defeat the final boss. However, if you want, you can pay it a visit right from the gecko, but you are bound to suffer a crushing defeat.
The developer of the game admittedly created some unique goth sketch-like graphics, which I generally liked for the most part. The town, the 3 cinematics i mentioned above and the whole Gothic theme in the dungeons are all well designed and these are the only reason i ll give it this ”high” score. Characters, weapons, armor and town infrastructure don’t change as you upgrade them. Visuals during combat, as well as enemy character models are abysmal.
The sound design is by far the best part in it. The voice of the narrator during cinematics and dungeon crawling is amazing and I really loved it! Furthermore, the background music while visiting the town and the sound effects inside dungeons are generally good. On the contrary, characters’ vocals and sound design as well as combat sound effects are below average. Characters’ voices are nonexistent since they talk only via text boxes and attacks’ sound effects are average at best.
The developers have made the game quite challenging and have used a lot the element of surprise. First things first, there is no tutorial. You learn the game the old fashioned way, by playing it. There is a lot of trial and error here; some of you might like it and some not. The game is a tactical RPG; you have a team of 4 heroes, which are standing consequent position on a straight line. Their position determines what skills each player can use and which enemies can be hit. There are 15 different classes, (and 2 more DLC Exclusive Heroes, Flagellant and Shieldbreaker) where each class has 7 unique combat skills and 7 camping skills (3 of them are the same for each class and 4 are unique) . However, only 4 of each category can be active at a time. The heroes that you recruit, spawn randomly in the Stage of Coach (a facility in your town, Hamlet) and have also random positive and negative quirks, as well as random active combat and camping skills.
You can upgrade each hero via your facilities in town. You can do so, by upgrading his weapon, armor and skills up to the current level of your facility and your hero, thus meaning that you have to simultaneously level both facilities and heroes so as to evolve further. The cost of upgrading a facility and a hero is quite expensive and you have to farm a lot. Your heroes level capacity is 6 but believe me it is not easy to reach! You will have to play a lot of hours farming in lower level dungeons and most importantly, you have to keep your heroes ALIVE! This is the most challenging thing in the game, because you don’t have to keep an eye only on a character’s health bar, but also to his stress meter. As this meters grows, your hero is prone to a lot of bad things resulting in his demise.
Before starting a dungeon, you get the chance to buy food, bandages and other supplies. In a dungeon, you have to consistently keep an eye for your torch and be on the lookout for traps that will potentially eradicate your party. Apart from combat, stress also increases as the light from your torch extinguishes, by activating traps and a whole lot of other factors. When a hero reaches 100 stress points, he gets an affliction that rarely turns itself into a buff that lasts until the end of the dungeon. Most times, while having an affliction, a hero won’t listen to you, he may switch positions with others in battle ruining your tactics or even attack his own squad, resulting in uncontrollable situations.
To sum up, the game possesses some unique and nice mechanisms but they are not explained almost at all. The challenge does not come from these features but because of the time you need to spend farming to upgrade your town and level up your heroes. The strategy in this game is shallow, and the only time you need to think about it is when having a weak party in the early parts of the game.
Value for money:….4
Seriously, to spend more than 20 Euros (and if you want to buy the DLC for more than 60 Euros) in order to play this initially interesting but BORING and REPEATABLE as hell game, I thinks it is a lot!!