Complex, thrilling, and BRUTAL! Welcome to “Darkest Dungeon”!
VIDEO REVIEW – https://youtu.be/3knrf8GDr5U
Darkest Dungeon is a Rouge-like dungeon crawler filled with death, despair, and a great feeling of accomplishment. Months after PC gamers got to explore the darkest of all the dungeons, us PS4 players are finally able to dive in.
Everything begins with an ominous opening cutscene. Talk of a gloomy haunted manor and lands infested with the worst of the worst in terms of human character. Darkest Dungeon, from Red Hook Studios, attempts to synthesize that which is usually the purview of the human. With a wealth of clever mechanics, the most unique of which is that, as your adventurers delve deeper into Lovecraftian tunnels, caves, and ruins, they become stressed. And as they become stressed, they start to develop coping mechanisms—some productive and some destructive. So when one of your personalized (yes you can name all you’re recruited heroes) So when one of your personalized heroes is afflicted with such a psychological ailment you can’t help but feel sorry for them as they struggle to make it through the rest of a dungeon. (or you get so annoyed with their whining you can wait for them to get killed off) What kind of human will you be today?
The game is highly randomized. I took my group of 4 basic heroes Tank, DPS, Healer, and a Ranged fighter into a basic dungeon. Wiped the floor with the forces of evil with ease. Well….The game crashed as I finished the dungeon. SO I had to load up and do the dungeon again. Same heroes, same equipment, same dungeon. I WAS ALMOST WIPED! Lost 2 heroes and a third went insane. At first I was angry, but then it dawned on me that this randoness would keep the game interesting down the line and ensure playthroughs are different for every person who plays.
Darkest Dungeon gameplay is slow and methodical, but that doesn’t make it stale. Oh no, the gameplay is as staunch as the droves of monsters you’ll slay. To rush your decisions will lead your party to suffer both mentally and physically. It’s unforgiving, and you’ll probably throw a few cusses at the screen when you miss a much-needed killing blow or one of your loved heroes commit suicide in despair, but it’s part of the experience. This is a turned-based strategy gem, and you’ll see that the moment you step into the abyss. Your home town which you can name whatever you want has facilities to help heroes recover and power up. You can recruit more heroes into your town, even visit the cemetery to see your fallen heroes and see how they died.
You get to choose 4 heroes and equip them with enough food and torches to make sure their journey through the next dungeon is as enjoyable as comfortable as you can make it. As you travel through the dungeon you will have random encounters, whether that be a battle, a trap, or something that looks awesome disguised as a trap. Every time you interact with an object there’s a chance for great reward or great pain. How adventurous will you be?
Controls are simple, actions are responsive. It’s a very well thought out designed UI with enough depth to achieve what you want without feeling overwhelmed by navigation. You can literally play the entire game with one hand, unless you wish to name your characters after family members and friends (not recommended).
Graphics are amazing enough to warrant the purchase of an art book. It’s original, somber, but warm enough to set it apart from other dreary titles. It takes you back, draws you in, and provides more than enough character and emotion while remaining true to the art direction. Nothing seems out of place, and at the same time, everything feels otherworldly. The feel of slamming X to attack and getting an awesome hero animation as they slice the enemy with the accompanying sound is so rewarding. Slaying enemies never got old. Seriously in love with how this game looks.
LIGHT! Light is used so well that I recommend you ONLY play this in a dimly lit room. The intro cutscene alone will show you how well light is used. Torches on the screen will burn and in your dark room, it will feel as if that torch is coming through the screen. Light also plays a role in the dungeons. The brighter your torch burns, the less difficult things will be and your heroes stress level will lower.
Darkest Dungeon is the most original and deadly combination of genres to date. It’s entertaining, difficult, and rewarding. No area of the game was left unpolished. As soon as I get done with one dungeon crawl I’m ready to heal up and dive back in!