Is anyone playing this one? A friend gifted me a copy of Darkest Dungeon, and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. It’s basically as if Final Fantasy had a child with FTL and named H.P. Lovecraft the godfather.
I love the Lovecraftian theme, the general game feel, and the mechanics. The graphics and sound design are excellent. I usually have a blanket policy about avoiding Early Access games, but this one was recommended by my friend as well as Extra Credits. And the fact that it was free for me didn’t hurt either.
Some of the mechanics are definitely in need of balancing. For example, I discovered a couple of ways to aggressively debuff the last remaining enemy so I could near-endlessly heal and de-stress my party. Since the Abbey and Tavern are so expensive and time consuming, they are much less useful for destressing than simply using party abilities. Of course, taking the stressed folks out on an easy mission just to destress is rather time-consuming and tedious.
That said, I love the stress mechanic. I do think it’s a little too easy to build up a lot of stress thanks to multiple enemies that spam stress attacks. But seeing someone’s resolve get tested never fails to unnerve me. Are they going to get afflicted and kick off a snowball effect, dragging the rest of my party down? Or are they going to get a second wind and act as a rallying point to push the party forward to victory?
The game swings back and forth between being reasonably easy and cruelly difficult. I’ve found that things often go straight to hell if the party gets surprised. That can turn what would be a straightforward fight into a complete fiasco. It definitely adds a lot of excitement to the game.
The boss fights are excellent so far, though I’ve only faced three of the easiest ones. I love how you’re forced to go in mostly blind, with no clue as to their strengths or weaknesses. I had to flee from one boss fight and abort the quest because I had no idea that I needed to fill my party with people who could attack the back two rows. Another boss nearly wiped me out before I figured out its behavior and started hammering its weak spot.
Part of me wants to hold off a bit and let them finish the game. Aside from the aforementioned balancing issues, I have also encountered some annoying rendering bugs. However, it’s a lot like FTL, and I suspect that it will similarly be able to hold my interest for a long time.