Darkest Dungeon Xbox One X Review

The interface and difficulty are intimidating at first but Darkest Dungeon provides a deep foreboding atmosphere complemented by the intense challenge that will test even the most seasoned gamer.

By Grayshadow, Posted 03 Mar 2018

Darkest Dungeon doesn't attempt to hold your hand or give you any breathing room. Instead, it tosses you into this horribly cruel world where the only way to survive is by collecting treasure and earning coin by heading into the lairs where deadly monsters live. You're giving the tools to survive and provided ample creative room to choose your own path, but one mistake could mean the death of a valuable ally. The interface and difficulty are intimidating at first but Darkest Dungeon provides a deep foreboding atmosphere complemented by the intense challenge that will test even the most seasoned gamer.

Darkest Dungeon,NoobFeed,Red Hook Studios

Darkest Dungeon kept me engaged with the rampant and merciless enemies. It's all about probability and increasing the odds in your favor. Whether it's keeping morale in your party high or maintaining a well-lit torch. Tthe idea of certainty is completely removed in Darkest Dungeon, creating a series of tense and difficult battles that each require your absolute best performance and a bit of luck.

Victory is blissful but defeat is agonizing since anyone who dies is permanently removed from your party. The hand-drawn art style and outstanding narrative help craft this grim atmosphere with your deep-voiced ancestor providing constant information about the story and important elements to the gameplay. 

Battles are violent and great to watch. Using a few frames of animation to create movement each attack conveys action and excitement. The monsters themselves range from bandits, fish men, pig monsters, skeleton warriors, zombies and all manner of nightmarish creature. The bosses offer the ultimate challenge as they're equipped with powerful, and unique abilities, that test your preparation and how well you performed getting to it.

Darkest Dungeon,NoobFeed,Red Hook Studios

Increasing your odds of survival in these deadly areas isn't easy. You have a number of factors to consider such as your team which consist of 4 members from a pool of 14 distinct classes. Not all abilities are complementary and creating the right build is extremely important since wrong addition can cause a domino effect, destroying the team's synergy. 

Each character has 7 skills and only 4 can be equipped at a time, with skill upgrades and new unlocks requiring time and effort. This system encourages you to specialize each character with a specific set of skills such as a healer or front-line damage dealer. There's enough flexibility that characters can access multiple roles for diverse builds.

Character placement in the 4-character lineup affects which skill can be used. This means you cannot use the Poison Dart if the Grave Robber is placed in slots 3 or 4, only 1 or 2. Enemies can cast abilities to rearrange your placement or ambushes can flip the party's entire positioning, forcing you to shuffle your characters around before any significant damage can be done.

Darkest Dungeon,NoobFeed,Red Hook Studios

In addition, you have to equip loot to boost character stats. However, you also have to carry an array of items such as food and torches. Without light enemies become more powerful and violent and afflictions can happen at any time. Shovels allow you to cross barricades, keys open chests and medical items such as bandages and anti-venom heal your allies. It can easily become overwhelming since anything can go wrong from losing hope to not having enough ranged damage. You also must take care of your allies mental and physical health.

Stress plays a major role in maintaining your allies health. In camp sending your allies to pray, drink, gamble, or visit a brothel will benefit their mental health. It adds another layer of management as you invest time and resources to better improve each individual character. If not treated this can led to paranoia, irrational, or hopeless that'll make them act independently such as passing their turn, refusing to attack, heal, or even hurt themselves.

There's a steep learning curve and you'll have to dedicate a lot of time to get used to the interface and various management systems. Sometimes the game can feel unfair, with characters suddenly missing a lot of their attacks only due to bad luck behind the scenes. During one boss battle, my entire party missed 2 turns worth of attacks with no stress or debuffs to hinder their performance. This lead to my entire party dying and since a lot of time and resources are required to upgrade a single character losing anyone is a significant loss.

Darkest Dungeon,NoobFeed,Red Hook Studios

Darkest Dungeon is a punishing tactical strategy game with many layers to it. The complex unpredictable randomization of different deadly enemies and situations put my frail characters through hell. The excellent narrative and expressive animation give amplify the dark fantasy atmosphere.

Also, check our Darkest Dungeon PC Review and Darkest Dungeon: The Crimson Court PC Review.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC, Vita
Publisher(s): Red Hook Studios
Developer(s): Red Hook Studios
Genres: Roguelike
Themes: Strategy, Dungeon-crawler
Release Date: 2016-01-19

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