May 30, 2023

Darkish Dungeon II is the sequel to the 2016 indie hit Darkest Dungeon, which noticed gamers combating to reclaim an inherited property from hordes of demise and mutation whereas discovering the secrets and techniques that lay beneath. Darkest Dungeon was an enormous success, thanks in enormous half to its phenomenal artwork and presentation and its use of Lovecraftian themes and a setting that made it distinctive within the sea of video games out there on Steam on the time.

For a lot of gamers (together with myself), Darkest Dungeon was the primary introduction to Cosmic Horror, a horror subgenre that emphasizes the phobia of the unknowable and incomprehensible, making the human kind really feel really small and impossibly insignificant to a universe of obscure terror. The sport distinguished itself with its distinctive system of grim spelunking and its enthralling narrative, which at occasions didn’t have to (and wouldn’t) say a lot to color a broad and colourful image of the world round you.

Picture: Pink Hook Studios

All developer Pink Hook Studios actually wanted to do to capitalize on the raving starvation for a Darkest Dungeon sequel was to launch a really comparable, barely improved sport. The sport’s system has confirmed profitable, and sometimes followers of a sport ask for nothing greater than a rehash of the gameplay they loved a lot the primary time.

Pink Hook, nevertheless, took the far riskier route and tried one thing new, making a sequel to their profitable system with completely new mechanics, a refreshed artwork path, and a plethora of different modifications. The danger taken by Pink Hook to attempt one thing new is commendable, and one thing that I want much more sport devs would attempt, and the very best a part of all is that it completely works.

Within the unique Darkest Dungeon, you’re tasked with managing an property inherited out of your ancestor and exploring and combating off the depths of his debaucherous experimentation positioned beneath. Gameplay revolved round spelunking a number of dungeons, taking over randomly generated ranges with randomly generated teams of heroes, and burning via them like coal to proceed fueling the metaphorical hearth of your ambition. You’d typically have complete groups of mercenaries drafted for no different cause however to assemble as a lot gold and provides in your major get together as potential, buying and selling their lives to make a bit of progress towards the Darkest Dungeon.

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Picture: Pink Hook Studios

Darkest Dungeon was brutal and unforgiving, tasking gamers with leveling up a celebration of inherently expandable and outmatched heroes to the impossibly excessive metric required to tackle the ultimate dungeon, which made the grueling work main as much as it seem to be little one’s play. It was a sport about recovering from failure and making the very best of a nasty scenario, the place a single failure might undo hours of grueling work and see you beginning once more in the beginning. Whereas loved by many, this actually wasn’t essentially the most enticing design philosophy to everybody, and the inherent useful resource administration concerned within the sport might make these failures seemingly unimaginable to recuperate from.

Darkest Dungeon II retains the philosophy of failure and makes it much less of an agonizing expertise as a participant by totally leaning into the sport’s roguelike foundations.

In Darkest Dungeon II, you’re now not managing your property — The occasions of the sport have lengthy since unfolded and your get together units out on the trail to forestall the apocalypse. I believe. I’m not 100% positive on how the 2 sport’s tales join to one another, with some modifications to character relations that make the narrative connection a bit of complicated, however I’m 90% positive it’s a direct continuation of the primary sport’s story.

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Picture: Pink Hook Studios

With no property to handle and never loads of time to forestall the apocalypse, all the sport strikes to the stagecoach and the path towards the mountain. The frantic chase to forestall the top of the world presents the narrative extra as one singular journey than the story of numerous events employed and misplaced within the pursuit of your aim. Because of this every demise, somewhat than a grueling roadblock to progress and a lack of invaluable assets, is a complete reset of the story, placing you proper again in the beginning.

That is nice for various causes, the primary and most necessary being you don’t lose your hard-leveled characters. Like different roguelike video games, you earn assets that can be utilized after a loss to completely enhance your run and characters earlier than the run itself, making every journey towards the mountain a bit of extra forgiving. Taking full benefit of the roguelike style’s mechanics removes the participant punishment inherent in Darkest 1, making the sport a lot simpler to get pleasure from with out sacrificing on the theme of grueling hardship and sorrow.

Every run sees you main an assembled get together of heroes towards the mountain to forestall the apocalypse. To get there, you first should journey via a number of zones with their very own distinctive hazards, enemies, and managers. It’s your selection the place you are taking the stagecoach, with the one caveat being that you could defeat a number of bosses earlier than you possibly can tackle the mountain.

Every route you are taking has a branching path to discover as you see match, providing you with the choice of enjoying it secure and avoiding hazards or dealing with hazard head-on to earn extra assets in your journey.

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Picture: Pink Hook Studios

The modifications to the gameplay go deeper than a style switch-up and are paired with the sport’s new presentation. A shift in model reveals characters rendered way more lifelike than the paper-doll model that they had earlier than, and the introduction of a 2D-3D combine and tons of recent animation breathes new life into the sport’s dying world. Each character is now totally animated, together with your horrifying enemies.

The brand new model is fairly jarring when you’re coming from Darkest 1, and I wasn’t positive if I appreciated it at first, however a couple of runs into the sport and I’m decidedly a fan. The animation provides a ton of persona to the characters, who’re now not faceless adventurers however distinctive, named individuals who exist on the earth. That is expanded upon by new backstory content material that fleshes out who these persons are and had been earlier than they discovered themselves in your make use of.

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Picture: Pink Hook Studios

Alongside these daring new instructions is the basic Darkest Dungeon gameplay, refreshed for the 2023 launch. Whereas a lot could seem totally different, followers shall be relieved to seek out that the battles play almost identically to the unique sport, making use of its distinctive turn-based system with very slight enhancements to make the expertise smoother. Whereas there’s loads to study, being a veteran of the primary sport will nonetheless actually support you on this new journey.

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Picture: Pink Hook Studios

That’s actually the right option to describe Darkest Dungeon II. A well-recognized expertise that’s daring sufficient to attempt new issues. The sport performs shut sufficient to its predecessor to provide followers familiarity, however nonetheless new sufficient to be its personal factor. Not like so many sequels, Darkest Dungeon and Darkest Dungeon II are totally different sufficient to justify enjoying each video games, with the sequel being far more than simply an improved model of the primary.

The Closing Phrase

Darkest Dungeon II will enchantment to followers of the previous sport and new victims. I imply, gamers, alike. The cosmic nihilism and battle to protect hope in Darkest Dungeon II’s narrative is paired with stable gameplay enhancements which can be much less prone to flip gamers into nihilists themselves.


Darkest Dungeon II was reviewed on the PC. Discover extra detailed appears at widespread and upcoming titles within the Recreation Opinions part of our web site! Darkest Dungeon II is on the market on Epic Video games and Steam.

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