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Darkest Dungeon Review

Darkest Dungeon Trainer
 CHEATfactor Game Review by:  Joe Sinicki Reviewed on: PC 
 

Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Darkest Dungeon. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.

Reviewers Note: This is a review of a game currently available in Early Access on Steam, and should be viewed as such. However, it is our belief that if a developer wants you to pay for a game, you should know how it is and if it's worth your money.

Imagine someone gives you a gift, they promise what's inside is really great but it's wrapped in a box, within a box, within a box. You get through the first few layers and then someone comes through and wraps what's left in duct tape. You get through that and someone puts a combination lock on the next layer. When you finally get through that? Someone smashes all your handwork. This, in essence is what playing Darkest Dungeon feels like. It's a rouge-like dungeon crawler that both rewards your persistence and laughs in it's face at the same time. It's a remarkably addicting experience, even if it's incredibly and almost unfairly punishing at the same time.

 
...you're going to fail miserably.
<em>Darkest Dungeon</em> Review Screenshot
 

Darkest Dungeon tells the story of an adventurer who finds a letter from one of his ancestors saying how he's found a hole to a very nasty place at the bottom of his manor and heroes, adventurers and bandits start coming from everywhere to try to take out whatever down there. What does this mean for you? You'll be assembling a team of four of these adventurers and journeying down to the newly discovered pit and trying your hand at making your way through it in hopes of securing the treasures within. Spoiler alert - you're going to fail a lot. And you're going to fail miserably. You'll have a number of classes to choose from including warriors, healers, and even jesters, grave robbers and highway men. You can choose almost any combination of these classes and it's a lot of fun to see how they interact and trying to combine them to find a great unit.

Gameplay in Darkest Dungeon is simple enough really. You move from left to right on the screen exploring rooms in connected dungeons. There are traps to avoid and ruins to dig through in search of treasure but you'll mostly be doing battle with demons and other monsters who block your path. Much like the rest of the game, combat is simple enough and based on classic turn based mechanics. Most of the enemies you'll encounter in the early stages of the game won't take much to beat but there's an underlying amount of strategy built in as each character is more effective from certain spots in battle and you'll have to gamble whether it's worth it to try to attack from a less useful spot and deal what damage you can or use their turn to move them somewhere else in hopes of landing a huge attack in the next round.

Combat is fast paced and remarkably satisfying. The hand drawn style animations flash on the screen with a sense of brutality that's unseen in most games. The narrator is also always handy to give context to your hits and it all adds a ton of depth to the battle system. Unfortunately though your success and failure isn't based on anything you've done, especially as you progress into later parts of the game. There's no block button here, nor is there one for dodging and the game decides when you're able to do these and when you're not. One of your characters on their last bit of health? You better hope the game is kind to you and allows your character to dodge otherwise you'll be down one party member very quickly, and Darkest Dungeon features permadeath, so everything is final. It's really depressing to watch your characters who you've built up die to no fault of your own, but to be fair the game is pretty liberal with dodges and blocks.

 
...fighting some pretty gnarly beasts and demons...
<em>Darkest Dungeon</em> Review Screenshot
 

What separates Darkest Dungeon from other rouge likes is the emotion/stress system at play here. Your party is made up of humans, humans who are fighting some pretty gnarly beasts and demons and that will all effect them. During battle your party members can be stricken with anything from despair, where they give up on the battle to masochism, where they refuse to take healing from other party members. This too is random (for the most part, it usually happens when you're close to death in a battle but the game doesn't limit itself to that by any means). Characters also have normal ailments like lockjaw and even diarrhea which effects their mood. For what it's worth, characters can also get better through this system, like one who became enraged enough to ward off death multiple times in battle, and one who felt determined and kept giving encouraging speeches to the rest of the party. There's always a sense of guilt when you send a party member to their death in a game featuring permadeath but it's extremely profound here, seeing as you're the one who ignored their symptoms and kept them in battle.

You can heal your party members, and doing so is highly recommended, especially for those who you'e built up for quite some time but the key here is that not everyone relieves stress the same way. Some like to go to the bar and drink away their sorrows, while some seek salvation at the church and some even like to visit the ladies of the night. You'll only be able to heal a few of your party members at a time while in town, so it's good to recruit as many as possible, especially as you progress deeper into the game since not doing so pretty much means you're sending them to their death. You'll also be able to acquire new gear and level up your characters in town so there's no shortage of things to do here.

Darkest Dungeon is a tough game and it's one like I've never played before - for better and worse. It's a punishing experience that forgives you for almost nothing but for some reason, you'll always find yourself coming back. The remarkably well done hand drawn visuals and atmospheric sound quality add to the experience and you'll be spending a lot of your time trying to figure out just how to get past the game's many layers. Darkest Dungeon is not a game for everyone, but if you're looking for a punishing experience it could be your next favorite game.

 
Overall:  7/10 Presentation: 8 Gameplay: 8 
Lasting Appeal: 9 CHEATfactor: 7 
 
 
CHEATfactor
 
CHEATS USED: No Stress, Add Deed, Add Gold, more
 
How can you go wrong with a cheat that gives you no stress? It helps you get through some of the game’s tougher battles and will help you keep your heroes for longer, allowing you to max out skills and abilities even faster. There are also cheats for adding gold, deed and filling your torch which may sound like a minimal thing but it has a huge effect on the gameplay. I also loved the ability to add ten spaces to my inventory with the trainer.
 
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