Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Darkest Dungeon

The Darkest Dungeon gods were kind to me

4:00 PM on 04.18.2014 // Patrick Hancock

I didn't panic, and neither did my crew

Hot off its huge Kickstarter success, Darkest Dungeon is already in a playable-enough state to have a demo at PAX East 2014. Although the demo was only a short snippet of what's to come, it was easy to get a sense of the themes Red Hook is shooting for with this roguelike RPG. 

It looks great, it plays like a strategy-RPG, and its structure was likened to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This game is brilliant.

Darkest Dungeon plays like a positional turn-based RPG. Everything happens on a 2D plane, which forces characters to line up one behind another. The characters for this demo were, in the order from front to back, Crusader, Highwayman, Plague Doctor, and Vestal.  The Crusader was akin to a Knight class, the Highwayman used firearms, the Plague Doctor inflicts status ailments, and the Vestal fits the healer role. 

Certain moves are only available if a character is in a certain position. The Crusader really thrives in the first position, but if he switches out with the Highwayman, the Highwayman can then use his Point Blank Shot ability to deal some serious damage. There are certain moves that will push your characters around, however, so it’s best not to get too comfortable with a single arrangement.

Characters will also have certain personality traits that affect their stats and behaviors. They begin simple enough, with things like +10 Protection or -20% Critical Chance, but as players traverse the dungeons they will gain more. The traits in the PAX demo were random, and luckily I didn't get a Crusader with minus accuracy or protection or anything just as bad. As I explored, my Highwayman encountered a strange artifact, and after inspecting it, got a new personality trait that made him more prone to inspecting future ones. He just couldn’t resist the temptation...

This is easily one of the coolest aspects of Darkest Dungeon. Characters will gain more and more traits as the player uses them, and this allows them to develop and evolve, even if it is for the worse. When characters enter the titular "darkest dungeon," the game's last dungeon, they gain a trait that prevents them from ever entering that dungeon again. They've just seen too much and refuse to go back.

Other than health, characters also have a Stress bar. If their stress bar maxes out, they will become afflicted with something. Luckily, I avoided this during my playthrough, but the player before me had all of their party members afflicted by the end. Their Crusader, for example, became a Masochist and no longer accepted heals in any form. They aren’t all terrible, but they are unpredictable and not exactly ideal. Critical hits can increase stress if your team is on the receiving end, or reduce it if you’re the one dishing it out.

Darkest Dungeon even has strategic camping mechanics! While exploring an area, the party has the option to camp in an empty room with some firewood. During this time, the party is allocated a certain amount of camping points to use camping spells. These spell can reduce stress and increase health, but the better the skill is the more points it will use up. It adds a lot compared to the typical “rest button” in most other games that just heals everyone up.

While it wasn’t in this demo, I was briefed on the town aspects of the game as well, which will function similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown. While at the town, players can recruit more characters, especially if theirs have died since death is permanent. This is also where players will access the various areas, which they may go to at any time. The exception to this is the last dungeon, which is the titular Darkest Dungeon. Spoooooky!

The art is amazing and does a lot to add to the dark and morose tone that the game sets up. Attack animations aren't fluid swipes and movements, but rather a quick frame change with a smash cut that really add impact to attacks and spells. The art is clean, yet grimy. I loved looking at it because of how grimy the characters looked. The atmosphere is absolutely perfect, which adds a lot to Darkest Dungeon

I came away from Darkest Dungeon with nothing but a lust to play more. I really enjoyed what the team at Red Hook Studios has put together so far and am eagerly awaiting the full game's release. If you're interested in Darkest Dungeon but missed out on the Kickstarter, you can still buy/pre-order the game from their website.

Patrick Hancock, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure therealhancock Tips
Watching and playing competitive games like Dota and StarCraft take up most of his time. His three favorite non-video game things in the world are space, dinosaurs, and puppets. So if there we... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Darkest Dungeon

  Feb 23

Windows Store selling fake versions of Darkest Dungeon

Apparently anyone can pass for a legitimate publisher on this marketplace

  Feb 03

In Darkest Dungeon, what doesn't kill you only makes you more peculiar

Early Access impressions of Red Hook's impressive gothic roguelike RPG

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

Steam Controller Review

RAE - Back in Town

Thankful it's ov

Half - Life 3 FINALLY 100% confirmed...maybe.

Surprisingly... I'm *really* enjoying Fallout 4!!

Where the Hell is Breath of Fire?

Comments of the Week - バーガーベスト, ですよね?

My Month in Games - November 2015

Cblogs of 11/28/15 - Lonely Thanksgiving, Gatchaman Crowds, and more

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I really hope Xenoblade become it's own franchise, it has way too much potential to simply being reduced to 2 games.
Sotanaht avatarSotanaht
Touchable Holograms? When this eventually matures and hits market, almost all our regulars will vanish for weeks.
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Xenoblade Chronicles Wii for €10? Sure, Nintendo, don't mind if I do!
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Super Smash Bros. 4 has too much content. So much so I almost don't want a sequel. I honestly hope that NX gets a "Super Smash Bros. For NX" port rather than a new installment. It could be a GOTY edition and come with all of the DLC.
Batthink avatarBatthink
Flegma avatarFlegma
Bought my first full-priced physical 3DS game ever - New Style Boutique 2: Fashion Forward. I'll try to write a post on the previous game at some point before doing the same with NSB2.
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
How do you guys manage to buy all these games at day 1 with such huge backlogs?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Guys if I were to do a thing, how many of you would watch my thing because I was thinking of doing a thing but I dunno if people really like that kinda thing so I just wanted to know if you liked that thing because I'm thinking of doing a thing, you know?
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Bayonetta 2 is 40% off in the EU Nintendo eShop today. If you have a WiiU and don't have this game you are a horrible person and I want nothing to do with you. You can amend your errors by buying it. Xenoblade Wii is also 50% off as well.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Protag shipping is best shipping. [img][/img]
El Dango avatarEl Dango
My dreams are really weird and scary, so I hope it's okay if I let them be dreams.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Finally played the last two Shantae games. Risky's Revenge wasn't bad, but Pirate's Curse was damn good.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Memo to self: spend your time cleaning before wasting ten or so hours on a cblog you'll end up just scrapping because you're incompetent and incapable of writing on the subject.
Is there an occupation out there for people who want to give up and not worry about shit for a while until they can recompose themselves before going back into society?
Parismio avatarParismio
That test was pretty raw. Some decisions cut deep, some I didnt care for at all. But im satisified with the end result.
Lawman avatarLawman
Torchman avatarTorchman
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
People are having serious anthropological discussions about video games and here I am reminding people that they have one more day to get a dumb card I painted:
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
I just finished this thing here: I'm mostly happy with my results, altough it lacks some stuff like Skyward Sword or Sonic & Knuckles [img][/img]
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -