Darkest Dungeon II review: All aboard the murder-coach

Darkest Dungeon II review: All aboard the killing boss

Darkest Dungeon II review: All aboard the killing boss

  1. Carriage ride through desolate
  2.  A wilderness on the verge of annihilation.
  3. Assemble a group of anti-nail heroes who are also annoying.
  4. When faced with darkness, you must fight against the real and emotional demons.

The emotional and mental toll an adventure must take on an adventurer is rarely depicted in fiction, whether in literature or film. The dark side of fighting an endless swarm of orcs, cannibals or real dragons practically never appears. Heroes die, sometimes in rather horrific ways if you think about it, but the main group or hero keeps up the good fight.

When Red Hook Studios' Darkest Dungeon brought the concept of PTSD into the classic crawler framework, he turned the genre on its head. In that game, the heroes were presented (for lack of a better phrase) as more humble ordinary people than you often see.

Are you afraid of the dark?

Yes, there is a professional poisoner among them, as well as a highway worker, and they all have unique abilities and, in some cases, magic. But in the end, they were meant to be ordinary adventurers.

Of course, the fact that they live in such a bleak world does not help matters. The phrase "grimdark" is an understatement. In this world, you can either starve, be eaten by something, get sick, or you can put on an eye patch, pick up a sword, and go to the dungeons. You can starve, get eaten by something, or catch the plague while on a great adventure.

Darkest Dungeon II further develops that main premise. Actually, he takes that concept and puts it on the bandwagon, because that's what you do in the sequel. Your ragged band of sad haters are stuck in a shocking old carriage rather than resting in an inn between dives.

All on board the assassination bus

It moves over the shadowy landscape, following old paths through twisted, thorny forest and ancient passageways, breaking through obstacles and illuminating the darkness with its single flickering flame. This flame represents your Hope, and if it burns out (which it will from time to time), you're out of the game. You'll get morale and combat prowess benefits as long as it thrives.

You must keep the light blazing by winning fights and assisting the less fortunate. Fighting is, unfortunately, a very tough sport to master. See, Darkest Dungeon II follows in the footsteps of its predecessor in penalizing you even after you win. Even if you win a fierce battle against a horde of zombies or a group of mad cultists, you'll be transformed.

Your party members will be devastated if they take hits, miss blows, or witness their comrades perish. You start with just four people, a decent crew consisting of a tank, a couple of DPS types, and a plague doctor who, sort of, doubles as a healer. The problem is that the enemies in Darkest Dungeon II are just as powerful, if not more so.

Bonds of battle

As a result, you'll lose customers. When anything bad happens to your heroes, they will lose a point for their mental health. They'll have a breakdown if they fill the gauge (really a small row of dots under their name). This, as well as other undesirable repercussions, can have a wide range of implications. You may lose your ability to hit your target, or your damage or defense may be decreased. Certain characters lose their ability to do certain actions.

What's more concerning is that you won't know what ailment your heroes will have until it happens. Surviving confrontations necessitates a combination of skill and luck. It's not simply a matter of surviving; it's also about what you'll have to live with thereafter.

Red Hook Studios has gone to great lengths to deepen the systems at play in order to take this notion to the next level. Character actions now have direct consequences for the other characters. If you heal one of them first, they'll accuse each other of kill-stealing or favoring other members of the party. They can form relationships during small periods of relief, but they can also break up.

Love in a time of plague

They'll create bonds from time to time, though not usually romantically. They can grow to respect one another, at which point they may strike in unison. They can develop feelings for one another, in which case they will frequently step in front of their beau to take the brunt of the damage. It's a complicated system, perhaps a touch too complicated.

See, it's nearly impossible to predict which acts will lead a character to fall out, and it all seems to happen at random. Furthermore, certain activities can quickly break previously formed bonds, which is both frustrating and inconvenient. Dismas, my Highwayman, became so enraged at the Plague Doctor that he lost his ability to shoot straight. A full-fledged blind wrath.

Despite this, it's still a lot of fun to play. You see, you were born to die. That's how it's supposed to go. Darkest Dungeon II, on the other hand, is far more of a roguelike than its predecessor. On each run, you'll now be able to unlock permanent gear and trinkets — or at least the prospect of them. Everything you find will be added to the loot pool in later attempts, and unique shrines can be used to acquire permanent skills for each character.

Tragic heroes

On the road, you'll come across people who need your assistance now and then. Although there is no actual transaction here and you can't actually say no, it is still a technique to form or break relationships. Mind you, you don't have much control. You can choose whatever you want, but if your Plague Doctor delivers your Defender the final After Eight instead of the Highwayman, chaos ensues.

The combat is what makes Darkest Dungeon II so darn awesome, despite the inherent difficulty and the unpredictable relationship system. It's incredibly powerful, even visceral, if you'll pardon the expression. The battle music is ethereal, and witnessing your heroes leap in front of one is thrilling.

It's a shame, therefore, that it occasionally strays from this, seeking to cram in what can only be described as mini-games. If you want to unlock new skills, you'll have to indulge as well. The Shrines are a bit hit-or-miss, requiring you to fiddle with additional features, none of which we'll spoil except to say that they're not as much fun as simply fighting the opponent for your life.

It does, however, appear to be strangely lovely, with more world detail, color (all dark colors, obviously), and careful attention to the characters than the last entry.

Completion & Achievements

Despite the fact that Darkest Dungeon II appears to be finished (and it certainly does), it is still in early access. The first of five chapters is now available, but you can acquire additional characters and talents, and the game's roguelike nature allows for a lot of replayability.

It may only take a few hours to complete a run straight through, but it will take several hours of trying and failing, shouting and sobbing before you get there.

Final thoughts on Darkest Dungeon II

Relationship system has massive✅ potential
Looks and sounds amazing✅
Combat is brutal and addictive✅

Negative effects are too❌ unpredictable
New mechanics are hit and❌ miss
So, so grim❌

3 out of 5 stars

It's easy to see why Red Hook chose the Early Access route in this case. This is not just a sequel or a new version of the first game. It includes a large number of new gameplay mechanics and items, and not all of them work as planned. Although it's technically incomplete in terms of the campaign, it somehow looks bigger, maybe even bigger.

What's here now, on the other hand, is worth your time. However, since it is intentionally dark and dim, some individuals may turn off. However, if you enjoy learning about the world and its processes, you will not be disappointed with what is on offer.

On the Epic Games Store, Darkest Dungeon II costs about $19.99. Recommended details and specifications can be found here .

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