As darkness approaches and your sanity slowly vanishes, will you be able face all the psychological and physical stress of adventuring through the deepest of dungeons to solve your ancestor’s wrongs and cleanse your family’s manor? Darkest Dungeon, the successful roguelike turn-based RPG from Red Hook Studios finally launches on Xbox One an adventure like no other before! Recruit mercenaries willing to help you, in exchange for some coin of course, train their skills and abilities and take care of their mental and physical health as they venture deeper and deeper to defeat an ancient evil. Now bring your torches and follow us through this review.
- Since I first heard about this game somewhere in 2016, I knew it had a lot of potential. Its concept of dealing with the fear your characters are subject to and the outburst of stress that can happen when the fear is high enough to the point of suffering a heart attack is something so unique and works even better than I imagined!
- The gameplay sucks you right in, unlike anything I have experienced before. You start your adventure recruiting some heroes in the city (you can always recruit more between missions) from classes like knights, clerics, thieves, archers and others not so common like aberrations, occultists and leprous (each one with a set of skills, strengths and weakness), select a group of four fearless members from these heroes in your crew, buy some provisions (like food and medicines) and start your adventure by selecting one of the available missions (that can be played in any order that better suits you). Missions have little variation, like cleaning all rooms in a dungeon or winning all battles, but they still feel very fresh even after long hours of gameplay. Missions are divided in short, medium and long duration (in these last two you have the option to camp to restore some health and treat wounds) and have a recommended level. When you feel you are not ready to take a long and high-level mission, you can always play lower level missions to level up your heroes before taking harder assignments. During missions you encounter chests with gold, consumable items and heritage related items that can be used to upgrade the installations in the city. We’ll talk more about them soon.
- Another great aspect that deserves mentioning is how your team will suffer during missions. Beyond the fear that increases as your heroes takes damage and as the lights slowly fades, enemies will inflict bad status and diseases that will diminish your team performance and can literally kill them. The game works with a perma-death system so It’s a good idea to consider falling back when things are getting out of control. After you return to the city, you may need to treat their physical or mental conditions or simply give them some deserved time to rest. To do so, you have buildings (a hospital and a tavern, for instance) that, in exchange for gold, will treat their conditions. Other buildings can be used to train their abilities, increasing their chances of success (and survival!) in the dungeons.
- The RPG aspects in combat are deep enough to satisfy the more demanding fans. Damage, damage reduction, accuracy… the full package is here. Another aspect, the exploration, works in 2D: you walk from left to right until you reach a room with more connections, from where you must choose (with your right analog stick) to what direction you want to go. Simple and utterly efficient.
- The battle system demands a good amount of strategy and preparation. There are four positions for allies (in the left side) and four positions for enemies (in the right side). The position of each hero plays an important role in what abilities he/she will be able to use. In the same way, the position of enemies shall be taken into account while aiming your attacks and skills.
- The visuals in the game are incredible! An admirable gothic 2D atmosphere that is immersive, rich and very well detailed. I’m no graphic whore, you already know that if you read some previous reviews of mine, but I must state that graphics in Darkest Dungeon are top-notch!
- Sound is equally great! The music, sound effects during combat and specially the voice work from the narrator builds up the atmosphere and enriches the experience.
- Just to mention: I’m from Brazil and the game was fully translated to Portuguese. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you all the languages it has been translated to, but you can expect to find the most common idioms in games on it.
- I won’t lie to you: it took me some time to understand all mechanics from the game. To comprehend how each item, how each bad status and how each building works, I lost some important heroes and failed in some missions. To help you, the game has many quick tutorials that pops up as you progress during gameplay. So, don’t bother if you don’t get everything right on the beginning: the experimentation, the failing and retrying, is also an important facet of the game.
- Something bad? Not today… try again tomorrow ?
Darkest Dungeon [Score: 9.5/10] In my time reviewing games for LifeisXbox I never said it about a game before, but Darkest Dungeon is a truly must-buy for RPG and roguelike fans. It has an interesting story, deep mechanics, an amazing artwork and really engaging gameplay where I lost the notion of time during my days with it. I’ve been waiting for quite some time to play it and I’m happy to be able to do it now on my favorite platform. And you won’t regret to give it a try
Dev: Red Hook Studios Publisher: Red Hook Studios Played on: Xbox One | LifeisXbox received a digital Preview code, provided by the developer.
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.