Darkest Dungeon is a grim and merciless tactical strategy game whose great tension comes from its many layers of complexity, unpredictable randomization, and willingness to put our fragile characters in mortal danger if we dare to venture into its depths in search of treasure and glory. Brilliant narration and stiff yet surprisingly expressive animation make it easy to be drawn into its vague but tantalizing world, though the end feels artificially out of reach.
A wonderfully executed, brilliantly stressful reinvention of party-based dungeon-crawling, Darkest Dungeon is great fun, even when it's cruel.
Punishing and beautifully crafted, Darkest Dungeon is cruelty at its classiest.
A fantastically well designed and presented roguelike, that makes your heroes' mental health just as important as their physical well-being.
While the game can feel grindy at times and losing a critical team permanently is soul crushing, taking down big bosses, collecting treasure, and restoring the fallen hamlet to glory is challenging and fun
A richly satisfying and wonderfully executed masterpiece.
In its best moments, Darkest Dungeon makes me feel crazy and hopeless. There's something I can't say for most games: The times when I most felt that I had irrevocably fucked up were also the times when the game was at its strongest. Though some of Darkest Dungeon's more annoying design concessions detract from the overall experience, I'd be foolish not to recommend such a singular experience.
Being a hero has consequences, and Darkest Dungeon lays them bare.
I can't say enough nice things about Darkest Dungeon. Its presentation is brilliant, its systems are smart and well-constructed, and it does a lot to subvert what we should expect from the average dungeon crawler. For a game built around slowly grinding up multiple parties of adventurers, it's remarkable how fresh it can feel even after more than 50 hours. It's only January, but Darkest Dungeon is already one of my favorite games of the year.
Despite the grind, despite the perhaps undue commitment to brutality, and despite what I feel is a joke at the player's expense at the end, Darkest Dungeon still manages to be one of the most engaging and intriguing roguelikes I've ever played and I'll probably still be diving dungeons and trying new party compositions weeks from now. After all, it would be madness to stop at this point.