Darkest Dungeon II is a dark and brutal game that will test your skills and patience at every turn. The game’s signature mechanic, the stress system, is back and more unforgiving than ever before. With no checkpoints, a single mistake or stroke of bad luck can wipe out hours of progress, making for a tense and nerve-racking experience.
Despite this, Darkest Dungeon II is also one of the most cathartic and rewarding games I’ve played in a long time, providing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that I keep wanting to go back to.
Just like the original game, you set out to create a party of four heroes, each with their own unique abilities and strengths, to take on turn-based battles against a variety of monstrous creatures and thugs. The combat system is complex and requires strategic thinking, with position, synergy, and a bit of luck playing a crucial role. You’ll need to experiment with different combinations of heroes and tactics to find what works best for you, making every battle feel like a puzzle to be solved.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, the stress system adds an additional layer of complexity to the game. When your hero’s stress meter is full, they can have a meltdown, losing most of their HP, or earn a positive outcome and heal up, although the latter is much less common. With a single meltdown capable of ruining an entire expedition, managing your heroes’ stress levels is crucial, making battles even more challenging and rewarding.
The new affinity system also adds to the game’s complexity, with your heroes’ relationships affecting their performance in battle. Making even small decisions can turn your heroes against each other, adding negative effects to specific skills. While frustrating, the system also adds a tremendous challenge, one that makes victory all the more satisfying.
Exploration is also an essential part of Darkest Dungeon II. As you travel in a Stagecoach, you’ll encounter hazards and enemies along the way. You’ll need to choose your path carefully, weighing the risks and rewards of each option. The regions you explore are beautifully designed but also disturbing, adding to the game’s dark and ominous atmosphere.
Despite its many positives, Darkest Dungeon II is not without its flaws. The lack of checkpoints means that a single mistake can undo hours of progress, making for a frustrating experience. The early stages of the game can also be overwhelming, with little guidance provided to new players. However, these issues are relatively minor compared to the overall quality of the game.
In conclusion, Darkest Dungeon II is an excellent game that will test your skills and patience. Its complex mechanics and challenging battles make for a satisfying and rewarding experience. If you’re willing to make the necessary sacrifices and put in the time and effort required, Darkest Dungeon II is a journey well worth taking.