Darkest Dungeon Review - Best Of Foul Inventions

Darkest Dungeon Review - Best Of Foul Inventions

Darkest Dungeon will kill your party, drive you insane, and leave you craving even more.

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I quite enjoyed my time with Darkest Dungeon since I bought into its early access about a year ago (didn't have the money to kickstart at that time) but I do feel that they made a bit of a mistake by making the adventurers a tad too disposable. Too many die and it begins to lose its impact. Plus stress is still often just outright cheap. Its not a bad system and better implemented than most morale systems but its still got a few glaring flaws. Can't disagree that its worth playing, though.

I tend to deactivate corpse piles before starting new games, personally. I get that they add the need to think about your attacks in terms of how fallen enemies might hamper other assaults, but it feels like an extra hassle to me.

I'd say DD gives me the same overall sense of accomplishment that the Long War mod for XCOM does. Then, of course, it tramples all over it by slaughtering my A-Team, but there ya go.

Looking forward to playing this on my ps4/vita when it comes out later this year.

Here's my experience with the game:
Step 1: Get hit, character starts bleeding.
Step 2: Use one of very limited bandages, or ignore bleed. If ignore, proceed to step 5.
Step 3: Spend turn using bandage, immediately get hit with bleed again.
Step 4: Return to step 1.
Step 5: Ignore bleed, die from bleeding.
Step 6: Repeat until entire party is killed from bleeding before the end of the second fight.

I liked the idea on paper, and I've played my share of games that have an abundance of methods to screw the player over, but this game was absolutely unfair, and not enjoyable in the least. It is literally the ONLY thing I have ever refunded in my life. Is this the part where I say "6.8/10, too much bleeding"?

suzaku4489:
Here's my experience with the game:
Step 1: Get hit, character starts bleeding.
Step 2: Use one of very limited bandages, or ignore bleed. If ignore, proceed to step 5.
Step 3: Spend turn using bandage, immediately get hit with bleed again.
Step 4: Return to step 1.
Step 5: Ignore bleed, die from bleeding.
Step 6: Repeat until entire party is killed from bleeding before the end of the second fight.

I liked the idea on paper, and I've played my share of games that have an abundance of methods to screw the player over, but this game was absolutely unfair, and not enjoyable in the least. It is literally the ONLY thing I have ever refunded in my life. Is this the part where I say "6.8/10, too much bleeding"?

This was early access, I assume? Bleeding seems to stop after a few rounds in the finished version.

Yeah this part, right here, is bullshit...

"Which brings us to the game's fabled difficulty. Rest assured, Darkest Dungeon is a hard game - but also a fair one. It's always possible to defeat even the most challenging enemies with a little forethought and planning. In a worst case scenario, you can always abandon a quest or battle to save the lives (and loot) of your prized adventurers."

It's RNG and tilted to the games side every time, think of it like a casino in that regard. I've lost full health and no insanity parties after one or two turns because RNG decided it was to be. Boss immediately feared a party member before fight started, then boss had first turn, crit the feared hero and went full insane and became abusive, all other heroes were at 3/4 insanity at this point and my one guy did the rest. Kept us from leaving, abandoning the quest, and attacking. There was literally nothing to do but hope he died and the others would let me leave. The problem is that this game is so far up it's own ass trying to be difficult that it ceases to be fun.

Is the random hunger still part of it? I've tried the game at a friends place and the randomness to the hunger was beyond stupidity. This was one of the early access builds but it turned me off the game very quick. Despite the fact that I'm the type of gamer that enjoys relentless dungeons.

Every now and then your party needs to eat, if they don't eat they suffer health and sanity damage. But thing is the timer on hunger is random. I've literally completed long dungeons with just one "party is hungry" event in the entire long dungeon and then gone to a short dungeon and have had the party require food 3 times before I've even gotten halfway through. There was just no way to know how much food would be needed.

Now that's just one example of the stupid RNG that ruins the game. Talk how much you want about the "plan ahead" aspect. In the build I played it was not there. Because there was no way to know if my party were bulimic or whatever they did to starve 3 times within 8 rooms. Yes I checked, no one had any insanity or quirk relating to hunger.

This is just one example of it's stupid RNG and you better believe they crammed a whole load of things you can never plan for because of the random nature of it.

I've been playing the game since early access and really enjoying it. I'm really hoping they come out with a mobile version for tablets, since I think the interface would work well with a touchscreen. It's definitely challenging as hell, and sometimes seems unfairly stacked in the game's favor, but I can forgive most of that in the long run. I love the Lovecraftian aesthetic and tone of the story, which goes in hand with the sometimes-unfair-seeming difficulty. Not that it always exuses it when the RNG decides to knife you in the back, but it can at least seem thematically fitting. The developers also seem to have listened to player input during late-stage development, which is encouraging. Case in point: I and several others on the official forums voiced frustration about how, in early versions, after each mission any unused provisions were just discarded, making it hard-earned money just flushed away without reason. Apparently the developers took this to heart and now leftover equipment is partially refunded; a welcome addition that can mean the difference between keeping one of your best adventurers or dismissing them because you can't afford treatment for that crippling disease or mental disorder.

This game is definintely on a Dark Souls level of difficulty, and some might argue even moreso, since combat is heavily reliant on stats and the whims of the aforementioned RNG. But like all good Lovecraftian works, the chance for victory is always there; distant, unsure, and fraught with peril, but there. You won't reach it without hardship and likley it will require sacrifice to some degree, but if you're smart and skilled (and fairly lucky) your adventurers will come through; just don't ever expect them to come back unscathed.

I was waiting for this to come out before I tried it, and while I haven't played much yet I've enjoyed it so far. Nice and atmospheric with a good and very fitting art style, and the combat is far more interesting than many games with turn-based combat that I've played. My biggest complaint is with the lack of useful tutorial and information in general. What does blight do? Seems to be some sort of DoT but I had to figure that out myself and I still don't know exactly how it works (unlike bleeding which gives all the information on the tooltip). What do the building upgrades do? Not a clue, you have to unlock them before you can see the next ones. What does holy water do? Not a clue, according to some reading on the internet it can somehow interact with some things you can find somewhere, but I still don't know what, where or how. These aren't things that you're supposed to have fun finding out as part of the game, they're fundamental mechanics that you have to understand to have any chance of progressing, and all too often the game simply doesn't tell you how they work. Games that are hard because the rules make them that way can be fun, games that are hard because they refuse to tell you what the rules actually are are just annoying.

As for the RNG, I really haven't seen a problem so far. Yes, the RNG can completely screw you over sometimes and there's basically nothing you can do about it. That's how this sort of game generally works. FTL is exactly the same, for example; no matter how good your choices are, if you don't find the right weapons or happen to encounter a particularly tough enemy at the wrong time, you have no chance of winning. Actual roguelikes tend to be even more harsh about it. If anything, I would say that Darkest Dungeon is actually quite forgiving in this respect. A bit of bad luck can leave you with a few adventures dead or insane, but even early in the game you have plenty of resources to survive one or two wipes and keep going. In a game like FTL, on the other hand, one bad encounter and it's game over. And the length of time for a game isn't necessarily the issue either, TOME is more of a pure roguelike and a campaign can be 10 or 20 hours before something screws you over. If you're looking for a game where your skill and knowledge are everything and can guarantee a win, sure, you're not going to like this game. But you're not going to like any of the other games that uses similar ideas. That's not really a problem with these games, it just means that you happen to not like that sort of game. Other people do.

Wanted to buy it since it's EA launch, never came to do so. Then Holiday Sale came and I was very tempted, buuut:

What is it now? I've heard with one of the last major updates, it plays like a P2W game like Dungeon Keeper without even the option of buying anything. Hope that metaphor won't fall flat.

All I heard was that it got so hard and grindy with that one update that it broke the game completely, that it got much 'harder' than before. Was that all whining, did they change this again now with the release or did/do these critics have a point?

Naldan:
Wanted to buy it since it's EA launch, never came to do so. Then Holiday Sale came and I was very tempted, buuut:

What is it now? I've heard with one of the last major updates, it plays like a P2W game like Dungeon Keeper without even the option of buying anything. Hope that metaphor won't fall flat.

All I heard was that it got so hard and grindy with that one update that it broke the game completely, that it got much 'harder' than before. Was that all whining, did they change this again now with the release or did/do these critics have a point?

I have literally no idea what is meant by this. Unless it refers to the heirlooms you use to upgrade buildings? I can see those amounts getting higher...but that's kind of how progression works. I'm only a few hours in, and I've restarted once, so it could be that I'm not far enough in to worry about the grind.

Thyunda:

I have literally no idea what is meant by this. Unless it refers to the heirlooms you use to upgrade buildings? I can see those amounts getting higher...but that's kind of how progression works. I'm only a few hours in, and I've restarted once, so it could be that I'm not far enough in to worry about the grind.

Since I haven't played the game, I can't answer that specifically. Just scroll the negative reviews on Steam about this. Maybe it would also help if you had played it before the release or that infamous patch. It was one patch that made the game, according to these people, much harder than it already was because of supposedly increased RNG and grind.

While inside, they'll search chests, disarm traps, and facing enemies like adventurers do.

I think that might be grammatically incorrect (dangling participle).

OT: I haven't touched the game in months, but I found that once you reached a certain threshold, the game became really easy: your heroes wouldn't stress as quickly, and if they did you could cure them pretty cost-efficiently. I might give it another go since I haven't seen the Cove yet.

suzaku4489:
snip

Unless it's something that was changed, or has changed, you don't spend turns to use bandages etc.
Or you can use a char that has a bleed heal ability.
Or increase bleed resist with items.
Or just take the hits as bleed only lasts about 3 turns.

Recently a lot of negative reviewes surfaced to the top of the list, and some of them mentioned unvillingness to fix some of bigger complains or murky promotion tactics.

Naldan:

Thyunda:

I have literally no idea what is meant by this. Unless it refers to the heirlooms you use to upgrade buildings? I can see those amounts getting higher...but that's kind of how progression works. I'm only a few hours in, and I've restarted once, so it could be that I'm not far enough in to worry about the grind.

Since I haven't played the game, I can't answer that specifically. Just scroll the negative reviews on Steam about this. Maybe it would also help if you had played it before the release or that infamous patch. It was one patch that made the game, according to these people, much harder than it already was because of supposedly increased RNG and grind.

You're talking about the update that added heart attacks and corpses, the corpse mechanic has been made toggle able, and heart attacks have been toned down. The mistake you are making is in comparing it to dungeon keeper or P2W games. What made dungeon keeper a giant pile of shit was the insane wait times to get anything done, like waiting 24 hours to mine out a block, there is nothing like that in DD.

What people complain about in DD is the RNG system being too important on whether you succeed or fail, and the grind required to level up new heroes if you get your high level ones killed. The game gets really grindy if a streak of bad luck kills your a and b team. I'll admit, I've modified the game myself to give me a little more gold to work with mostly to avoid the tedium of dismissing and hiring heroes every week because it's cheaper to save your gold and just dismiss low level heroes with bad status effects or high stress. It saves a lot of time I would have spent grinding up low level heroes if my front line gets wiped out because I'm not constantly losing 50% of my level 0-1 guys every time because I have the extra gold to send them to the bar or the sanatarium, not so much gold that I never run out, but enough that I can pay to de stress a couple guys and buy supplies every week.

Naldan:

Thyunda:

I have literally no idea what is meant by this. Unless it refers to the heirlooms you use to upgrade buildings? I can see those amounts getting higher...but that's kind of how progression works. I'm only a few hours in, and I've restarted once, so it could be that I'm not far enough in to worry about the grind.

Since I haven't played the game, I can't answer that specifically. Just scroll the negative reviews on Steam about this. Maybe it would also help if you had played it before the release or that infamous patch. It was one patch that made the game, according to these people, much harder than it already was because of supposedly increased RNG and grind.

I'm unsure about all this talk of 'grind' but a lot of people got mad when the corpses got put into the game. It was also around the same time that Helion got nerfed so some people got salty. Otherwise the grind is mainly for gold to try and replace the fallen as the dungeon chews them up. Along with levels if you end up losing an entire "A" or "B" team to the dungeon.

Honestly I looked and a good deal said "Grindy" but don't say what. I have more than enough of the resources besides gold which tends to fluctuate.

Thank you all for your input.

It's really fun at first, but after awhile, it just becomes too demanding. The stress management and dungeon advancement is really bad, since dungeons get harder and harder, while you have to keep switching to new parties. The game will also just straight up steal

Plus, if you overspend your gold, and don't save enough for stocking up on supplies, you might as well delete your save, as you really won't get through the dungeon without those supplies, and you won't get money without successfully clearing the dungeon. I do sympathize with the difficult mixing of rpg and rougelike, which kinda have opposite appeals, as RPGs reward playing long sessions of the same game, and rougelikes reward experimentation and shorter sessions, so i get that those elements are going to be in conflict regardless, and that makes things hard, but the game seriously needs refinement in preventing you from just straight up loosing and not being able to come back from it, or if not, at least giving your new games advantages or options for things you did in previous games.

And this is sad, since underneath all those problems, there's a great game! I love the mental quirk buffs and dubuffs, it's a really cool mechanic, as is the sanity and disease and provisions mechanics, there's a lot of positive things to say about the game! and it's a shame to see the developers pulling all this BS that jim always warns against, rather than just spend that effort making fixes that really wouldn't be that hard to make. Give the option to set some gold aside for adventuring supplies to not overspend, maybe make the recruitable heroes level 2 by default once you hit a certain point, or have a dungeon that's permanently on lvl 1 that doesn't reward much, just to get more heroes leveled up a bit so you have a proper A and B team.

And again, these are not impossible hurdles, the game still has some refinement to be done, but with a bit more refinement it could be stellar! Maybe a bit more time in early access would have done it some good, but the developers are going to need to spend more time working on refining the game and less time deleting negative reviews.

9tailedflame:
It's really fun at first, but after awhile, it just becomes too demanding. The stress management and dungeon advancement is really bad, since dungeons get harder and harder, while you have to keep switching to new parties. The game will also just straight up steal

Plus, if you overspend your gold, and don't save enough for stocking up on supplies, you might as well delete your save, as you really won't get through the dungeon without those supplies, and you won't get money without successfully clearing the dungeon. I do sympathize with the difficult mixing of rpg and rougelike, which kinda have opposite appeals, as RPGs reward playing long sessions of the same game, and rougelikes reward experimentation and shorter sessions, so i get that those elements are going to be in conflict regardless, and that makes things hard, but the game seriously needs refinement in preventing you from just straight up loosing and not being able to come back from it, or if not, at least giving your new games advantages or options for things you did in previous games.

And this is sad, since underneath all those problems, there's a great game! I love the mental quirk buffs and dubuffs, it's a really cool mechanic, as is the sanity and disease and provisions mechanics, there's a lot of positive things to say about the game! and it's a shame to see the developers pulling all this BS that jim always warns against, rather than just spend that effort making fixes that really wouldn't be that hard to make. Give the option to set some gold aside for adventuring supplies to not overspend, maybe make the recruitable heroes level 2 by default once you hit a certain point, or have a dungeon that's permanently on lvl 1 that doesn't reward much, just to get more heroes leveled up a bit so you have a proper A and B team.

And again, these are not impossible hurdles, the game still has some refinement to be done, but with a bit more refinement it could be stellar! Maybe a bit more time in early access would have done it some good, but the developers are going to need to spend more time working on refining the game and less time deleting negative reviews.

Pardon?

You can salvage your save if you just use cannon fodder. If your stagecoach is upgraded to the point where you get 4 people a week/adventure, you can send them out to get loot. Unless a patch changed it, you keep everything in your bag when you retreat from the dungeon.

There's no real failure state, just how much more of a hole you have to dig yourself out of.

Kahani:
What does holy water do? Not a clue, according to some reading on the internet it can somehow interact with some things you can find somewhere, but I still don't know what, where or how.

You know when you find things in rooms and corridors, like urns, bookshelves, chests etc? That's where you can use your holy water, keys and a bunch of other things. Doing so increases the reward for using the item (a chest opened with a key yields more loot, using holy water on an urn can remove stress and quirks etc.). There is a comprehensive guide on Steam for what item goes with what curio/object, or you can start trying it out on your own.

Gethsemani:

Kahani:
What does holy water do? Not a clue, according to some reading on the internet it can somehow interact with some things you can find somewhere, but I still don't know what, where or how.

You know when you find things in rooms and corridors, like urns, bookshelves, chests etc? That's where you can use your holy water, keys and a bunch of other things. Doing so increases the reward for using the item (a chest opened with a key yields more loot, using holy water on an urn can remove stress and quirks etc.). There is a comprehensive guide on Steam for what item goes with what curio/object, or you can start trying it out on your own.

One of the more recent updates added a Resistance buff if you use holy water/herbs on a character too. I forget which does which effect, but its probably also on a wiki (or mentioned in the game, which has gotten better with info in the release version).

I love Darkest Dungeon. Talk about Witcher 3, Fallout 4, Undertale, MGS V, and whatever else all you want; this is my favorite game to come out this year.

Gethsemani:
You know when you find things in rooms and corridors, like urns, bookshelves, chests etc? That's where you can use your holy water, keys and a bunch of other things. Doing so increases the reward for using the item (a chest opened with a key yields more loot, using holy water on an urn can remove stress and quirks etc.). There is a comprehensive guide on Steam for what item goes with what curio/object, or you can start trying it out on your own.

Sure, I know that now because I looked it up. But that's exactly my point - I shouldn't have to go hunting around Google in order to figure out how to play the game. Figuring out which items to use with what is part of the fun, but knowing that it is possible to use items on some things and how to do so is just basic mechanics that need to be explained in order to play the game at all.

On a related note, I think this lack of explanation is probably behind a lot of the complaints about the RNG nature of the game. Using FTL as an example again, it's always made obvious when something is going to happen and what can be done to affect it. If you get shot at, there's a percentage chance to hit, and you can take certain actions to improve your chance to dodge or reduce the damage. If you travel to a new area, a random event will occur and you can pick a route that's more or less likely to have major things happen as well as pick modules, crew, and so on that can affect those events. In Darkest Dungeon, there's almost none of that. Stress, for example, gets handed out apparently at random. Sometimes you get it after being hit, other times you don't. Sometimes it will suddenly pop up as you're walking along, sometimes it won't. Is this time/movement based? Is it actually just random? Are there abilities or conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood or amount? The game simply doesn't mention it at all.

If you take a game like FTL, or even more obviously something like Blood Bowl, it's possible for the dice to screw you over at pretty much any moment, but you always know exactly when you're going to be throwing those dice, and you know exactly what outcomes are possible and what actions you can take to affect the outcome or tip things in your favour. In Darkest Dungeon, half the time you don't even know there are any dice being thrown, and you don't know what the results might be or what you can do about it. That's why the RNG can feel so unfair at times. It's not that you got an unlucky roll that tipped someone over the boundary of stress into madness and ended up cascading into a total wipe, but that you didn't even know the roll was going to happen in the first place.

 

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