Okay, so here's the deets.
- September 27th
- 20% off for PS+ members
- yes, on Vita
- yes, on PS4
- yes, cross-buy
- yes, cross-save
Oh my God I'm so happy about this.
As a reader of this humble publication, you're no doubt familiar with Darkest Dungeon, and require no further information - I've been dying for this game since its first concept trailer went up, exclusively on GameTrailers like three years ago. The first time I wrote about it I said "this thing should be on Vita."
I didn't actually imagine that it would be on Vita. I'm not, traditionally, that lucky, but you know I was harassing the third-party folks at Sony as soon as that concept trailer appeared, in October of 2013.
I kept harassing them throughout the following year,
@shahidkamal,@giocorsi the Darkest Dungeon folks are "very interested in consoles".Imagine it on Vita! Now you can't stop thinking about it.— David Ferber (@DavidFerber2) February 10, 2014
A game I really wish we'd seen more of at E3 is @DarkestDungeon. @shahidkamal, @giocorsi, have you approached Red Hook about... say...Vita?— David Ferber (@DavidFerber2) June 15, 2014
and on December 14th, 2014, Adam Boyes went onstage at PSX and announced that Darkest Dungeon was coming "to PlayStation." That was later clarified to mean, yes, PS4 and Vita.
Then, I went and changed my pants.
So what is Darkest Dungeon? Well, it's fucking incredible is what it is. A few months after that reveal trailer, the game appeared on Kickstarter in February of 2014. They asked for seventy-five grand, and they got over a quarter million.
It is the one Kickstarter I repeatedly kick myself for not having backed.
|Don't listen to the ravings of the Gibbering Prophet!|
The short version is Darkest Dungeon is a Roguelite turn-based tactical dungeon-crawler with a stress system, but that's like describing Earth as a vaguely spherical object with land, and also water and sky. The core conceit of the game is one that, upon reflection, almost shoulda' been central to RPGs since the dawn of time:
If a group of hardy adventurers went down into the inky depths of most RPG dungeons, they would come out blubbering madmen, driven to lunacy by what they'd witnessed and suffered. They would have some straight-up PTSD. Oh, it also draws heavily from H.P. Lovecraft horror, with art direction that channels Mike Mignola (Hellboy).
And so, Darkest Dungeon's central tenet is that everything shitty that happens to you in the dungeon - and just the experience of being in a dungeon - stresses out your heroes. A monster crits your healer? The healer gets worried about that shit, along with half your team. Your Plague Doctor crit-kills their leader and a burst of hope will flood through the team, reducing their stress, but oh shit she just got hit with the fearful ichor of the Bone Courtier's Tempting Goblet, which throws her stress over 100 points!
Roll affliction check!
|Great. Now we're fucked.|
Whether or not your hero is prone to become fearful, abusive, bloodthirsty or masochistic, bringing everyone down in their wake and dooming this expedition - or whether they have a tendency to become heroic in the face of certain doom, raising the spirits of their squad and leading them to victory - all runs behind the scenes, and each hero ends up developing a unique personality over time.
Each hero is constantly picking up and shuffling positive and negative traits, diseases and afflictions - and some of them can lock in, making them very difficult to remove if you're so inclined - so you'll end up with a Hellion with a magnificent ability to deal damage thanks to her +crit trait when combined with the fact that she's got rabies, though she becomes terrified when the torch burns low, and you can't send her to the brothel to relax in town any more. Not since "the incident."
|Arrrg! He rocks so hard!|
Each hero has a collection of active skills to choose from, which you may wish to invest in, but you can only take four with you into a fight at a time - so choose wisely. Each trip will reward you with gold to further invest in your troop, and double-edged trinkets that permit you to further specialize each hero. The amount of customization, combined with the game's procedurally-generated personalities, combined with its procedurally-generated dungeons and the constant, unexpected horrors that lurk around each corner, ensure no dungeon run is ever the same - no dungeon run is ever easy - and every attempt is a nail-biting thrill.
You'll fall in love with these heroes, and curse yourself for your arrogance when they fall in battle. Then, you'll go hire four more mercenaries, fresh off the stagecoach, and fling them down into those horrific warrens to battle the ungodly pigfolk.
After a lovely 2015 where the game was smoothed out and refined through Early Access on Steam, it officially launched on PC in January of this year. It's continued to see content updates and patches, and let me tell you, buddy, this game is spectacular.
Of course I had to get in on that Early Access, and Steam tells me I have invested... one hundred and eighty one hours in the PC version of Darkest Dungeon. I hate playing games on PC - but such is Darkest Dungeon's power - and I am slavering to have this thing on my Vita.
Can't wait. Day one. Want a Limited Run Games release. Badly.
I'm trying to think of a single piece of gaming news that's occurred in 2016 that's more meaningful and thrilling to me than Darkest Dungeon's Vita release date.
There isn't one. This is as good as gaming joy gets. I've been in an awesome mood all day, thanks to this. And now... I just have to wait two months.