Reviewed by: Ian R. Betts
If you like old fashioned Role Playing Games (RPG), filled with stats, tricky decision making and an absorbing gaming experience, then you are in for a treat with Darkest Dungeon. Available on Xbox One (Reviewed), PS4, Vita, iPhone, PC and Nintendo Switch, this dark and psychological RPG will test your nerve, and challenge your inner self if you want to succeed.
You inherit a large house, which features a large dungeon, which of course, is filled with hideous monsters. You’re goal is simple, to head into the dungeon, and close the monsters portal. This of course, requires the player to to travel down a huge maze of corridors, risking life and limb, to reach your goal. Sounds fairly straight forward, however this game is tough, and dealing with stressful situations actually can affect the player, knowing death’s are permanent. Similar to Fire Emblem I guess.
Overall, you can fill a roster of 12 characters. Each can have their own skills and weaponry. However, you can only adventure with 4 characters at once. Also remember that death means death. No second chances, with makes gameplay more stressful than most other games in the genre. You can train up your characters, however, this can take an age, and even more heartbreaking if you fall to an Ogres sword.
Graphically, the game is dark, moody and relatively drab. This is meant to be the case, as to tell the story, and set the atmosphere, however, as this is meant to be a game in which you can play for hours at a time, it can get a little depressing at times. The action is 2D and from a side on perspective. The background effects are ok, but again, slightly drab and depressing, but I guess this is what the developers were after. This is pure old school, so don’t expect and outstanding and flashy graphics here.
The actual gameplay, as mentioned before takes place on a side viewed 2 dimensional screen, and in real time. Battles are instantly swapped to a slower, turn based system. This actually works superbly, and you always feel to be in complete control. The dungeons are randomly generated, which will please some, and not others. I personally fall in to the latter category. The game is extremely difficult, especially if you start to lose your characters, however, this is what makes the game so absorbing and intriguing.
I don’t think I have played a more stressful game in over 30 years of gaming. Also, the time just withers away, and you can easily do what I did, and start playing at 8pm, and before I knew it, it was 2am, Despite it only seamed to have played for a couple of hours. You also know a game has it’s claws into you, when you can’t stop thinking about it when you aren’t playing it, and try to squeeze an hour or so in your day around it. I genuinely loved this game, despite a few small issues, and would recommend it to and RPG fan.
Cracking Role Player, where you genuinely care for you’re hero’s. Could have been an all time classic except for a few minor issues.
Absorbing gameplay which sucks you in.
Hours upon hours of intriguing Role Playing.
Moody art design making the game atmospheric.
The graphics aren’t exactly pushing the Xbox One.
The controls take a bit of getting used too.
Slightly fiddly menu screens
Score. 9/10. Awesome.
Reviewed on: Xbox One, also available on PS4, PS Vita, Switch, PC & iPad
Developer: Red Hook Studios
Release Date: Out Now