January’s Best Game: Darkest Dungeon
January 2016 is coming to close…which feels shockingly quick. This month saw the release of a few quality titles, mainly Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC and The Witness. Neither of them games managed to grab the Game of The Month title, that prize has been set aside for a much darker game.
The Darkest Dungeon hates you, and it wants you to hate it. Never before have I played a game that revels in the fact it’s causing the player so much pain. It cackles as your plans are torn asunder, teeth on show as it growls with every success the player enjoys. It’s truly a beautiful video game experience.
Difficult games have carried their own appeal, be it from the late 70s to the end of 2015. People can’t get enough video game failure. Darkest Dungeon is all about making the best out of a bad situation. No matter how much you plan and prepare, shit will hit the fan. Dealing the mayhem around you is where the game shines. As your party begin to descend into madness, refusing to take orders and arguing with each other, the player is left to bare witness to their failure. Everyone is marked for death, no encounter is ‘just another fight’.
It all may sound like a terrible experience, but the sense of satisfaction from victory is immense. Scraping through a battle is a blizzard of emotions, frustration followed by joy. The littlest of victories feel like achievements, clearing a dungeon ascends to new levels of rewarding. Things are further enhanced by the attachment formed to your party members. Each of them have a name and role in your setup. Treasuring the time Ansgot saved your party with that big crit, mourning the passing of the great healer Basset, it carries weight.
You could see these experiences as the perfect set-up for the coming release of X-Com 2, and you’d be right. Darkest Dungeon is fantastically brutal, often spitting in the eye on the player. Its relentlessness thirst for blood is both frustrating and brilliant. For those looking for a challenge, Darkest Dungeon is the perfect opponent.