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Darkest Dungeon: the meat grinder simulator 2015

When your family is left in ruins, an ancient unsettling tale suggests the family mansion is a gateway to a fabulous and unnameable power. An excavation begins, exhausting your family fortunes to enter a damned portal to the elusive evil. Through the darkness and madness, you can only go deeper…

Darkest Dungeon is a hard-core side-scrolling game, featuring a gothic grim comic art style and is an immense challenge to the player. It is a rogue-like, dungeon crawler video game developed by Read Hook Studios and another successful indie game, which has already received very positive comments on steam at its early access stage.

Like other rogue-like game, Darkest Dungeon has a randomly generated dungeon, all sorts of magical item loots, turn-based battle, and permadeath – once a character dies, it is non-recoverable including their equipment. Luckily it is not you who dies a million times but others. The player acts as a recruiter, hiring flawed heroes and sends them to face monsters. Progressing through the game, there will inevitably involve many deaths, but don’t worry about running out of labour, since men seeking fortune pop up like new graduates.

To make the game harder or—realistic, Darkest Dungeon introduces a stress system. Your heroes will gain stress very quickly during exploration and when their stress level is full, they will either develop a positive trait, which will help you in combat; or a negative trait, which will make your heroes who are halfway to death’s door die faster. Heroes with full stress may refuse to take orders, decline healing from other heroes, give up fighting, blame teammates or escape from battle, rendering your hero unusable.

Stress can be increased in a lot of situations, the length of time exploring, being surprised by enemies, hunger, getting hurt by traps; basically all accidents. You are responsible for stress

relief as well. Depending on your heroes’ preferences, they may need to pray or repent. Some will need to get drunk, gamble, or even find prostitutes.

One other brilliant aspect of the game is that it’s highly fortune-based, which makes the gameplay quite arbitrary. The chance of encountering enemies is random and the chance of a hunger event is random. You may enter a low level dungeon with endless weak enemies, heroes all stressed out and say goodbye to your A-team. Or, you may enter a dangerous dungeon with only few battles, but dig up the finest items ever and walk out with four newbies.

One drawback of the game is that the main character gets frustrated very easily. The combat system is totally randomly generated, including how your heroes and enemies take turn in battle, as well as critical hits and dodging. Most of the time it’s fun but it can become irritating to a keyboard smashing level when your entire team is wiped out before they even have a turn. Of course it can be entirely the other way around when your heroes are all stressed but become heroic, killing all enemies in one shoot.

If you don’t like the feeling of losing control it is suggested that you watch a number of gameplays before buying the game. However, if you are a hard-core gamer, or simply masochistic (with a character that has a trait that makes you want to touch everything and get Syphilis) then this is game is for you.

About Wing Lam Kar

w.l.kar@student.reading.ac.uk'

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