Quickie Reviews – Darkest Dungeon

Quickie Reviews’ is a super quick run down of a game I don’t have time to dedicate a full review to. That doesn’t mean I won’t come back to it later and drop a full ramble. Basically, if you want a review but don’t want to read 20 paragraphs, then these are for you!

You are a nameless, faceless and practically formless entity. One who has suddenly inherited a wonderfully downtrodden estate. Your late relative whom left you this joyous locale loved to partake in debauchery, however his true love was digging. Being the charming plonker he is, he dug way too deep and unleashed what can only be described as a Cthulian horror – forming the titular Cloudy Calaboose. Having royally cocked up, he sploots his noggin and you are left to pick up the pieces – probably literally in this case.

Fear not, you are most certainly not a fighter – you are a fierce dictator. Therefore mercilessly using, abusing and disposing of countless mercenaries and would-be-heroes is basically your job. You might even send the poor sods to murder Lovecraft’s wet dream. Who knows? Your not-so-mighty pawns come in various shapes and sizes – priests, musketmen, crusaders, thieves and even the occasional leper. Once you have assembled your squad of cannon fodder, you can ship them away to one of the four disease ridden hell holes. Here you will engage in a brutally difficult combat system that will destroy their bodies and minds. One turn at a time. As they fall deeper into the fantastical world of insanity, they will become afflicted with various traits, debilitation, delusions and even the occasional heart attack. A couple of days at the local flagellant’s office should fix all of that, if not, merrily throw them by the wayside for the dogs. Who cares? They are nothing but meat for the grinder. Feel bad yet?

Darkest Dungeon has a staggeringly disturbing art style. Enemies, bosses and even your “heroes”, range from horrifyingly grotesque to almost passably human. Attacks employ a very satisfying slow motion zoom that manages to make every attack incredibly impactful. Needless to say, when a deformed pig demon vomits on you and gives you the clap, you with feel every droplet. For a game about the dark side of traditional fantasy, the game’s visuals sell it faster than you sell your comrades.

Arguably the best aspect of Darkest Dungeon is its mixture of horror movie-esque music, blood curdling sound effects and the articulated, choral tones of the narrator. His wonderfully sexy voice will inform you of every grisly detail, every failure and every hard fought success. Sure his lines will eventually repeat, but when the vocals are this good, the dialogue this engrossing, in a world this beautifully horrid, he never gets old.

Darkest Dungeon is a wonderful example of how a stellar art style, pant tinglingly good voice acting and brutal combat can elevate an often stagnant genre into something truly special. Yeah the game is ball bustingly hard, but so long as there is more flesh in your wonder-wagon, there is always the opportunity to plunder more booty. An easy 9/10.

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