Developed By : Red Hook Studios
Published By : Red Hook Studios
Category : Role Playing, Strategy, Adventure
Release Date : 01.18.2018
For as long as video games have been around, everybody at this point has at least played an RPG once, possibly more if you’re a fan of the genre. It goes back even further to tabletop gaming, sitting around a table with a group of friends playing some Dungeons & Dragons. In the respect of video games though, RPG’s tend to be simplified more often than not, lending a helping hand to the players and their heroes. That helping hand is most certainly not present in Darkest Dungeon for Nintendo Switch.
On the surface this game doesn’t look like a lot, just an easy going, side scroll RPG that will bring more snore than gore. Stay that early judgement though, because this game will put you to the test as soon as you boot it up. You, as the player, become the key role in this game, as you’ve inherited a mansion from an ancestor. You also discover a series of their memoirs, in which they detail a quest to exterminate the catacombs beneath the mansion which contain portals to all sorts of evil dimensions. Now, with the assistance of heroes hired throughout a nearby village, you must pick up where your ancestor left off.
Now, the game only has one main mechanic to it as far as gameplay : Combat. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, you’ll need to undertake missions and quests to further your work on clearing the estate. Each quest you sign up for will have room for a party of four, and you can customize your loadout before you leave as well. This can be anything from camping equipment for full-party healing, food for single member healing, torches to help light your way, and countless other items. No matter the mission you sign up for, all you have to do is wander deeper into the dungeon, fighting whatever gets in your way.
Combat itself is turn-based. Your squad will line up on one side of the screen and your enemies on the other. Once the attack order is determined, each character gets a chance to do one thing : attack, heal, or move. Attacking is (obviously) the only way to deal damage to your opponent, healing (also obvious) can restore HP to either the active character or to their entire party. Moving allows you to fall back in line further, since only the leading party member takes damage from most attacks (only ranged attacks can deal damage further in line).
Still sounds like a simple snore and bore game right? With how simple it is? Well, once you look under the hood of this beast is where you see the simplicity isn’t all it seems. First, your party members can suffer from a number of different effects in and out of combat. These include bleeding, paranoia, stress, and these things can stack into other hard hitting and permanent effects. Lets just say in one of my first combat experiences in the game, I lost a party member because they got so scared they had a heart attack.
The attack order is completely randomized, based on an invisible roll of the dice behind the scenes. As far as I could tell, this “roll” occurred after each phase of attacks as well. So if you’ve got someone barely hanging on by their last bit of health, you better hope things come around to them for a chance to heal before your enemies can get their attack in.
My best advice in regards to this game is simple : if you don’t enjoy a challenge, you won’t enjoy this game. Darkest Dungeon is one hell of a challenge, and give you no opportunity to get into any sort of rhythm. Post-combat effects can linger until you allow your party member(s) to rest properly, so you’ll almost never get to take the same team consistently. If I had to liken this game to anything, I’d say it’s best described as a 2-D, side-scrolling Dark Souls. Its tough and unrelentless, but the setting is incredibly done and it is such a beautiful experience. Even if you’re not a fan of big challenges, if you’re completely sure you’re not the kind of person to throw things (read things as Switch) when the nerd rage sets in, this game would still be worth it.