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I was sent a key to Darkest Dungeon by the developer as I was itching to give it a go. I've been playing quite a bit of it and found out just how brutal it is.

I genuinely love dungeon crawlers, especially when they are done with such amazingly dark art like Darkest Dungeon. Just look at how creepy it is:

So far the Linux port seems very well done, albeit it does have one minor issue I will get out of the way first.

Sadly, it isn't without issues. The only issue I have come across is having a blank map. This was reported by various users during the Beta, but it seems the issue is still there. The porter Aaron from Knockout Games is still trying to track it down. It's not a game breaker, as you only need to quit to the menu and continue again from where you left off and the map will be fine. Annoying, but easy to workaround. I do hope they manage to find and fix the issue.

The game
The game is completely unfair at times and your resolve will be tested. You will lose characters you've invested blood, sweat and tears in. It is not an easy game, so go into it thinking you will die a lot and you will at least be a little bit prepared for what is to come. It's like XCOM 2, it's an unfairness simulator at its very core, and it presents it extremely well.

It has everything you might expect like character classes, skills to unlock and an old and husky narrator. The narrator is actually excellent, the perfect old voice to accompany such a dark and unforgiving game.

You will pick four characters out of your roster for each excursion. If they return, and I do stress if, they may very well return with their mind slipping away. The order in which you place your characters will play a vital role, as some characters prefer certain positions due to the reach of their chosen weapons. It's no good having a swordsman at the back of the group for a very simple example.

The game will happily lull you into a false sense of security due to how well laid out all the elements are, but once you properly dive into it there's quite a lot you need to manage. You aren't just managing inventory or health, you also need to look after the stress your companions build up and let them release it in certain ways which will remove them from your party for a week. It's an interesting, but frustrating system. You could end up losing your favourite character due to too much stress, rather than just outright slaughter during a run.

Every run of a dungeon needs a very careful balance of light level which you can increase using torches. A higher light level makes it easier with less stress on your characters, but you will get less rewards. A lower light level is the direct opposite. A low light level will also increase the stress on your characters, which is why you need a careful balance.

Stress is a real pain in the ass too, it builds up quickly and the negative effects of it are really quite harsh. Characters can and probably will end up refusing to do anything, which can really mess up your battles.

It's not just your characters that will need upgrading, you will also need to acquire certain items from your runs to upgrade the different buildings. The Blacksmith for example will need Deeds and Crests to unlock higher tiers of "Weaponsmithing", "Armoursmithing" and the "Furnace".

The actual gameplay is excellent, with dangers lurking around every corner. You will curse at it, you will rage-quit, but you will come back for more. Darkest Dungeon is a rare breed of game that made me appreciate the genre in a whole new light. Each time I play it and have to turn it off, all I end up doing is thinking about when I can next boot it up.

A fantastic and hard game with one minor issue. A unique stress system you will fumble about with trying to manage, great artwork and solid gameplay. Go check it out! Just try and not get too attached to anyone, they might not be around for very long.

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About the author -
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I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
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The comments on this article are closed.

Leerdeck 4 May 2016 at 2:29 pm UTC
Remember Liam "There can't be bravery without madness!"

I encountered the blank map once in the beta, no issues since then.
Can't count anymore how often I have ragequit after my party got destroyed. But I always come back... I'm bound to this game ;D
J 17 May 2016 at 6:41 pm UTC
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I am enjoying, it is also a type of resource building game.
But be warned it is a grind ... and that is a core part of the Torchbearer RPG by Thor & Luke

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