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Darkest Dungeon Review

By BwwDtt | 05 May 2020
Average: 8.3 (3 votes)

Darkest Dungeon is a computer role-playing game with roguelike elements. This project emphasizes on how the stress, fear and traumas affect different people.

  • Sophisticated combat system
  • Unique mechanics of stress
  • Hardcore immersive gameplay
  • Gloomy atmosphere of the dark fantasy

Darkest Dungeon Gameplay

The Darkest Dungeon plot begins with an introduction; it tells the story about the player's relative who sent a letter asking for help. The text says that the relative's manor is corrupted and haunted with the evilest creatures from the dark depths of dungeons; unfortunately, the player's goal now is to come over as soon as possible and clean up the mess started by demons.

The player controls a group of adventurers exploring dungeons under an ancient manor and different locations around the small town Hamlet. Before each campaign, the player must select four heroes from the recommended set and lead them through randomly generated dungeons collecting treasures, family relics and destroying various monsters encountered on the way. The hardest challenge is to save the lives and mental health of all heroes in the team.

There is a global map with five dungeons and ruins, and you can choose which location to clear up next time. The more often you complete a mission in a particular region, the more new quests are opened there and the closer you get to the final "boss" of that location.

Battle System in Darkest Dungeon

In the base city, you can recruit a squad of fighters who will go on another mission, equip them and provide with all the necessary supplies. During the dungeon research, the heroes acquire various character traits and constant behavioural features: both negative (alcoholism, kleptomania) and positive, making the hero braver and enduring.

Enemies in Darkest Dungeon belong to certain classes or types. Some character traits are related to enemy classes. Positive character traits can give bonuses (e.g. increased damage, accuracy, or the chance to deal critical damage) when they encounter enemies of specific classes. Meanwhile, a negative trait can impose a debuff (e.g. increased stress) when they meet enemies of a particular kind. Besides, there are also special hero skills and artefacts that give bonuses against certain enemy classes.

The main trouble of Darkest dungeon is that the fighters always experience stress during the campaign. Even the smallest obstacles can lead your team to madness and death. Each time hero gets in a trap, misses a shot or lacks food causes them to start being nervous, but the worst thing to happen is darkness. When the torch fades, heroes don't see the demons and obstacles. Stress accumulates, and even the bravest experienced knights can get some unpleasant feature such as cowardice, masochism, egocentricity, paranoia or heightened aggression. Of course, there is a chance that stressed character would acquire firmness or super-energy, but most often it doesn't happen. Also, the heroes can get the disease by checking dead bodies, alchemical tables and bushes for anything valuable. The worst thing that can happen with them is a heart rupture from accumulated stress and trauma.

When you explore the dungeons and other locations, you should look closely under our feet because of the traps, open chests and boxes, and fight with enemies. The fighters from both sides are standing opposite each other, waiting for their turn to attack, use their skills or switch places. The game rolls a dice after each action checking for a chance to dodge or strike a critical blow.

Healing and Character Development in Darkest Dungeon

When you return to Hamlet after the mission, you can visit different places to let your heroes relax and heal. There is a guild where you can develop the skills of the warriors; a blacksmith where you improve their weapons and armour; a hospital; a gipsy who sells various useful artefacts; a tavern and a monastery. Also, you can visit the house of a forester; in this place, you can teach your heroes special camp skills that are used during breaks in some dungeons. At the camp, you can heal, strengthen the characters, increase the chance to catch monsters by surprise and moreover. All buildings and constructions can be improved with materials collected during the battles.

Your brave heroes experience different troubles during the missions, and the most important thing you should care about is their health. After the combat, you should send them to relieve stress, cure pains and get rid of bad habits in the tavern (there is a bar, a brothel and a gambling room), in a hospital or in a monastery, where they can be cured both by prayer and self-mortification.

Some characters, due to their innate habits, are ready only for specific recovery procedures. Alcoholics, understandably, stick to the bar, others prefer gambling, and lovesick adventurers only want to visit a brothel. Moreover, the hero's rest is not a time to relax for a player. For example, if your hero spends too much time in a gambling hall, it can blow a large sum from the total budget or some valuable artefact, getting a new character trait - "bad player". Every treatment location has specific quirks of this kind.

However, some heroes won't fix anything. The cemetery of fallen heroes replenishes with every fallen fighter, and every week you have to look for the newcomers ready to hire. But those heroes who survive, train and stay with you for a long time become the best team members. After all, Darkest Dungeon creates a strong affection to the characters. Even the most troublesome characters with the worst quirks start to be dear to you like a family member if they fight with you through many battles.

Darkest Dungeon Tips and Tricks

Position the fighters correctly

One of the essential mechanics in Darkest Dungeon is the placement of the combatants. Each of your adventurers has preferred position in combat, and it affects a number of available skills and which enemies can be hit. Some heroes work together correctly only if they stand one spot until the very end, and others jump around the battlefield ruining all formations. All of them should be paired up with heroes of similar behaviour; otherwise, your team would fall apart and die one by one.

Always have a healer in the team

Darkest Dungeon isn't plentiful on healers, but all of them are necessary for every party. The Vestal is a perfect healer class while Plague Doctor is the best for curing bleeds and stunning enemies. Both of them are extremely helpful even in the regular raid, let alone boss fights. Other heroes won't stay long without correct support and buffing. Still, their offensive abilities aren't the best in the game, so they definitely should be paired with skilled defenders.

Provide the adventurers with enough provisions

Another vital part of the success is provision. After you assemble the team, you will have to buy enough consumables. It's necessary because your heroes need to eat, bandage wounds, fuel the torch and cure diseases. If you're out of consumables and adventurers staring to ask for break and dinner, they'll lose a considerable amount of health and gain stress. Also, you should keep the torch burning as bright as it possible — if it fades, you can be attacked by the most dangerous boss in the game.

Cure the heroes of negative quirks

The negative quirks are one of the parts of the characters' personalities; they have in-born characteristics and obtained traits. Some of them will only affect their preferred places of rest, while others will make them steal the supplies, refuse to heal and damage themselves. However, it's easier to treat only severe bad habits and deal with small flaws, especially if it's not a valuable team member.

Games like Darkest Dungeon

Iratus: Lord of the Dead is a turn-based tactical roguelike RPG in a dark fantasy setting. Unlike the other games of this genre, this project is sending you in combat against the mortals and forces of light: you will have to lead the legions of undead ruled by Necromancer.
Stoneshard is a roguelike turn-based RPG in an open world. This project has a comprehensive character development system, sophisticated combat mechanics, and challenging aspects of old-school RPG such as permadeath.
Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master is a game combining mechanics of dungeon management game and rogue-lite. Your goal is to protect the dungeons and train heroes before the fights with powerful enemies.

Darkest Dungeon Classes

At the moment, there are 17 classes of characters in the game. Each one has a background comic about them, unique skills and behaviour.

  • Abomination — a powerful shapeshifter. This class of characters can heal themselves in human form and furiously attack the enemies in the beast body. Still, each transformation affects other team members with high amounts of stress.
  • Antiquarian — even though this class is one of the most useless for combat, Antiquarian has the best skills of treasure detection. If you have a hero like that at your party, you will receive an increased amount of gold and antiques. Their camping skills is also their strength.
  • Arbalest — a class of fighters who carry a heavy crossbow. It's a perfect ranged damage-dealer despite that the most significant amount of damage appears only on ranks higher than 3.
  • Bounty Hunter — a class of skilled warriors who combines both offensive and defensive skills. Still, Bounty Hunters can wear only light armour which makes them unsuitable for tanking. Instead of that, they are good at marking the enemies for other characters.
  • Crusader — one of the first tank classes available for players. Crusader has increased damage against unholy enemies and a wide range of offensive and supporting skills.
  • Grave Robber — a class of heroes who have numerous throwing knives and different dangerous traps. This kind of heroes can fight on any position in a squad.
  • Hellion — a mighty barbarian who has a range of powerful abilities. These heroes fight at the first rows of combat and cause the most significant damage to enemies.
  • Highwayman — an offensive class that successfully fights from any position. The main advantage and disadvantage of Highwaymen are that their skills are all about causing damage: they're not as durable as other damage-dealers, but they fight perfectly against almost every enemy.
  • Houndmaster — a class that can support allies and cause severe damage to enemies. This class of fighters applies the bleeding effect to almost every opponent.
  • Jester — a hybrid between healer and damage-dealer. This kind of characters is one of the hardest to use because they often switch the position, but they're mighty and multi-task adventurers.
  • Leper — a class of perfect tanks and damage-dealers. Lepers can absorb colossal attacks while causing the highest damage rate from all available characters. Still, the weakness of this class is that it's not very helpful in the first stages of the game.
  • Man-at-Arms — a frontline defensive class which has excellent supportive skills. Still, they also can cause a considerable amount of damage if their skills are used in the correct situation.
  • Occultist — a support class who specializes in debuff spells and healing. However, their healer abilities don't always work correctly: Occultists can heal for 0 or even kill the ally with their help.
  • Plague Doctor — an excellent support class. Doctors can heal wounded allies and increase their stats with the help of specific abilities.
  • Vestal — a sister of battle who performs as the most effective support class. This kind of heroes is excellent for long dungeons and challenging boss fights.
  • Flagellant — a frontline class that absorbs the highest amount of damage caused by enemies. Their most effective skills can be used only when they have less than half health.
  • Sheildbreaker — a class of hybrid combat style. These heroes are good at different positions, and they have one of the best melee attacks.

Darkest Dungeon System Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: Open GL 3.2+ Compliant
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • File Size: 2 GB
  • OS: Windows XP

Recommended Requirements

  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics Card: Open GL 3.2+ Compliant
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400
  • File Size: 2 GB
  • OS: Windows 7/8/10