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ca05baec5d93cba8b57de5ed687d85d7-970-80The first one to lose his mind is the plague doctor. His crow-faced mask wobbles as his sanity snaps, and he starts to pour abuse on his comrades. As the party fights unholy monsters in the crypts beneath a swamp, the chaos and his shouting break the rest. An armored paladin falls dead from a heart attack. Another chokes on a cloud of spores thrown by a monstrous, sentient fungus. The mad plague doctor runs alone out of the dark. He’s sent to the sanitarium. Like all veterans of bloody conflict, he’ll never be the person he was before.darkest3-1920x1080In Darkest Dungeon, this disaster is known as “Week 3.” Every week goes about as well. Dungeon diving and tomb raiding have been staples of PC gaming for decades, but Darkest Dungeon is the first time I felt how awful this quest must be for the people involved. In Darkest Dungeon, explorers don’t just have to bandage their wounds and sharpen their axes—their biggest vulnerability is their minds.darkest-dungeon-07png-9977d9_765wTo be successful at Darkest Dungeon, players will have to become heartless managers who send countless heroes to their untimely demise in one of the games five varying dungeons.  As heroes gain experience in combat, they will also be collecting stress from enemy encounters. Too much stress leads to the development of negative traits, and players will find themselves dismissing many a hero just because they picked up too much psychological baggage. Of course, players can reduce stress between each adventure by paying for activities in the town, or even remove some negative traits at a sanitarium, but those are costly endeavors – and picking up new heroes is free, which means its far more cost-effective to throw troubled people out than it is to fix them proper.tumblr_inline_o187jstBYI1s0yvfr_1280When your party of maniacs runs up against a squad of horrors, a short, turn-based battle starts. Combatants take turns using abilities to attack, heal, or cast spells. Especially at the beginning of the game, I found the few characters and abilities available made these battles more of a slog. Combat gets more fun as more character types arrive in town and new abilities get unlocked. Battles are always tense, though, and I found myself dreading them as expeditions grew longer and more dangerous.tải xuốngIt’s hard enough keeping everyone alive, but battles put adventurers under a lot of stress, too. Seeing a friend die or barely surviving a critical attack has a tendency to make people freak out. When characters crack, they take on random debilitating traits like “abusive” or “afraid.” This is the well-executed balancing act of Darkest Dungeon: I love trying to keep people healthy and sane. It’s easy to do one or the other, but that’s not enough. Your heroes can die just as easily from a heart attack as from a sword.tải xuống (4)I also enjoyed tinkering with character classes in different party positions. The order of the heroes is important, with heavily armored tanks taking the front spot and spell-casters, archers, and healers holding in the back. Most melee attacks can only be aimed at the front ranks, and some spells can only be cast from the middle of a group. The most interesting classes are those in the middle. I enjoyed experimenting with characters who could fight in a melee role from one spot, but a support role from another.tải xuống (3)During one of my early expeditions, I had poured through character sheets to find the perfect set of four heroes and assigned them in the perfect order. In the team’s first battle, an enemy summoner opened a portal to hell. A massive tentacle reached through it and grabbed my healer, shoving her to the front of the party and flipping my careful plan right on its ass. Darkest Dungeon’s greatest delight is finding new ways to screw you.tải xuống (2)The art style of the game is simply gorgeous, and fans of H.P. Lovecraft will be delighted to find plenty of nods and inspirations within the game’s dark and foreboding corridors. To match this cryptic theme, Darkest Dungeon employs an arcane narrator who guides players through the story: he is the player’s ancestor who toyed with the dark arts and brought the family name into darkness, and the player is there to restore the family to glory. The voice work is perfect for the setting and feel of the game, and a deeper secret lurks right beneath the surface.ss_621351309428bbbdd1ac69452a5f666195dcc7fbThere’s a plethora of boss missions riddled throughout the game, and they force players to drastically change their typical dungeon strategy to defeat them without loss. Each boss has three tiers of increasing difficulty, and they do a great job of extending the longevity of the game, especially since the narrator reveals a little bit more about the history of the mysterious hamlet when players embark on each mission. And finally, the ‘end game’ objective is to get to the namesake of this entire title, The Darkest Dungeon. Here, players will face the toughest of challenges, and curse the enemies who take down their precious top-tier heroes which had survived so, so much before entering the Darkest Dungeonimages