First Impressions: Darkest Dungeon


I heard about this game a little before actually trying it, but most of what I learned was just that its difficulty level could be punishing. It was suggested to me that I try a game on the ‘Radiant’ setting instead, as it would be a little more enjoyable, so that is what I did. The opening video reminds me a lot of a motion comic and the art style looks like Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy—well drawn and perfect for establishing a setting and tone. There is just enough story to pique interest and get the player started. There is a paragraph that pops up where the game says how it will handle you as a player, which I didn’t have enough time to read, but one part I did catch scared me, “this game expects a lot from you.” I’m never good under this type of pressure.

Though I love the art style, this game probably won’t impress many people with its visual presentation, but for what it is trying, I liked it. There is some solid ominous music that can be a bit heavy at times and helps with the mood. This game is about putting a team of four adventures together and dungeon crawling, and there are a ton of different classes that can be thrown in a group. I got to try out several different ones, because even if your party members don’t die—and that will happen a good bit—they might be traumatized from the experience or have picked up some nasty negative traits from clearing out demonic fiends from various lands surrounding the old family home. It reminds me a lot of playing D&D and is almost as equally frustrating. I enjoyed my time playing this, but there were parts that didn’t work as well for me.

First, there is a lot of reading and many different things to learn and build on, which is cool for having a meaty game and something that people who like it will want to return to, however, I found myself still asking a lot of questions about how to do certain things and get to particular options that were not covered. The tutorial is pretty short and helpful for the basic play, but there will be questions. I personally had some issues with using a controller for this as well, causing me to switch to keyboard and mouse and having to relearn the buttons, as not all of them are shown on the screen.

“You will endure this loss, and learn from it.”

This is a game that a first impression isn’t going to say much about, because I think the surface has barely been scratched. I thought I was doing well at first and then had my first big party wipe, which made me realize how to play a little bit better and to be more selective in what crypt raiders I took with me. Stocking up on supplies can be expensive, but there are some that are must haves, and money is always short. I will most likely give this one another go, but like any good adventurer, I need to do a lot more preparation.



This article originally appeared on my Patreon page. 


About stephenwilds

Writing in the dirty South, this recovering internet addict wakes up every morning wrestling with nightmares of Silent Hill, Battletoads, and where to put that third comma.
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