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Sins Of The Father – Darkest Dungeon – Review

Sins Of The Father – Darkest Dungeon – Review

Darkest Dungeon puts you in the shoes of a young man who has found himself in possession of his ancestral home. Unfortunately for him, it comes with a curse unleashed by the previous resident of the mansion, your dad, who in his greed dug too deep into the dungeons beneath, unleashing an ancient and fearsome evil. Succumbing to the madness that followed, your dad puts a bullet into his head, right after bequeathing everything to you, leaving you in charge to setting things right. Things are looking bad.

Darkest Dungeon is a rogue-like RPG, which focuses on the stress and psychological duress that comes as part of adventuring in dark and perilous places. You recruit and train a band of warriors, healers and other adventuring types, to face whatever horrors await that night beneath in the dungeons. Some of them make it back alive, others may not. A weekly supply of new recruits is provided by a stagecoach that passes through. You can also upgrade weapons and equipment, and train your party with new skills. There’s a blacksmith, medical facility and some recreation available for worn out dungeoneers. The game eventually become a complex loop of managing party members, upgrades and skills. And on top of that comes the complexity of managing their psyche, morale and health.

Events inside the dungeon can take an immense toll on party members. Looting chests and corpses can expose them to deadly diseases and infections. Seeing a team-member die can put further duress on others, leading some to behave irrationally or even panicking and suffering a heart-attack. The behaviors can be really unpredictable, and that’s what keeps Darkest Dungeon from getting stale. The gameplay is turn based, but round order can get shuffled, and even when you are convinced about the strength of your party, you can never foresee with surety how battles will play or what the end result will be. You can only hope to stay sharp and vigilant, and never underestimate any encounter.

Combat and exploration happens in a side-scrolling interface, and you have a set of attacks, spells and healing that can be dealt out. Initial fights can go a bit slow, but as you recruit more members, and upgrade existing ones, the game gets a lot more interesting. It still remains as challenging and grueling as ever though. The order and positioning of members is also an important considerations as they affect the potency of attacks. Melee attacks happen at the front while some ranged can only happen from the middle or back. It’s also better to keep healers to the rear, so that they take less damage. However, as carefully you might plan, Darkest Dungeon finds new ways to mess things up, and you are forced to come with a new creative solution. Healers can get pushed to the front, while swordsmen to the rear. You will lose, your party members will die. The best you can do is not get attached, retreat, revitalize and try again.

After successfully returning back to town, party members can spend earned money to heal wounds and refresh themselves by gambling, drinking, etc. You can further upgrade these establishments in town in order to have the party-members rejuvenated. There are multiple layers of management, and while for the most part the presentation is very strong, it can get a bit overwhelming at the start. But for those who are patient and persevere, Darkest Dungeon offers a challenging and even fun gameplay experience unlike any other game.

The game doesn’t have a lot going on when it comes to graphics, but it makes up for it with it’s unique presentation and art style. Attacks are well animated and pop out in comic book fashion, and the narrator does an excellent job of setting the mood.

Darkest Dungeon offers a compelling, punishing, and ultimately rewarding dungeon crawling experience that you will not find anywhere else. It can keep you hooked for long hours, plotting and planning, just to trip you up with a single hiccup on the very first encounter. It can be slow going, but for those who do keep going, the lure of the dungeon never gets stale.

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