I will do a close reading of this game (of sorts?) in a future presentation, so I wanted to get some thoughts on virtual paper as the presentation progresses.
I had heard that this game was difficult, and unlike other games, and those characterizations are accurate but not that all that useful. What I find fascinating about this game is the way that it builds upon all kinds of genres (fantasy, horror, goth) to imagine what happens to folks who consider themselves heroes when they enter a game world that appears pretty standard. Darkest Dungeon is sort of Diablo without the glitz, Dungeons and Dragons with a stress meter instead of a six-sided die.
I am clearly out of ways to describe it, so I’ll let this imagine speak for itself…whoever heard of a character becoming paranoid?
The game presents an interesting paradigm – usually games reward players who level up their characters, and that is very very very good, as Tripod notes:
But Darkest Dungeon does the opposite. It punishes gamers for leveling up characters (up to a certain point), and encourages them to instead discard or dismiss heroes as soon as they become unreliable.
In some ways this sounds like a beautiful anti-war message, one that combats (!) the standard gamers message by forcing those playing it to throw away their warriors rather than carefully shepherd their growth. The game goes so far as to give heroes negative quirks if you can’t control their stress, and then the means by which the gamer can control their stress bankrupt you.