Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Shantae was unable to hold my attention for long, and I settled comfortably back in to more constant companions - Overwatch and Darkest Dungeon. Last night I decided I was going to play anything but Tracer and Mercy, leaning mostly towards support, and ended up with two back-to-back PotGs on Symmetra. Very nice! Then, later with my brother, I went Zarya on Eichenwalde attack and ended up with a very nice PotG there thanks to a Sombra who ulted pefectly when I popped my Gravitron Surge on a group of four, so the D.Va who was still in her MEKA couldn't defend her team as we tore them apart.
Mind if I post some Darkest Dungeon spoilers? The game's titular dungeon is specacular.
It ignores a lot of the mechanics that enrich the experience, with familiarity of the earlier dungeons. There are no curios to interact with, there is no scouting, there are no surprised enemies and your team cannot be surprised - but your team can and will get the holy hell kicked out of them by these foes.
For me, it's the strangeness of the Darkest dungeon when compared to the Ruins, Warrens, Weald and Cove that make it so exciting. A run through any of the four initial dungeons is still very engaging and replete with thrills - which is probably why I'm still playing the game - but the Darkest dungeon is the first time... probably since that one time I had to fight the Brigand Vvulf that the game has felt like a real exploration, a discovery again. The same way it felt when Early Access launched back in 2015.
It's hard, it's worth noting. The enemies here are heavily skewed in one direction or another - one quest may have a ton of heavy bleeds in store, while the next offers the most debilitating blights you've ever seen, to the point that you want to spec your whole party accordingly - but you'll never know what you need to bring for the next Darkest quest until it's already killed you. (Luckily, there are four final quests in the dungeon, and they remain static - so you can go in, learn its tricks, get killed, and try again with a better set-up).
And I'm closing in.
I'm on the second-last quest. I'm two successful dungeon dives away from completing Darkest Dungeon, and I'm really unsure of whether or not I actually want to do it.
I think I'm worried that, if I beat it, I won't find the game as consistently pleasing as I do, now. Up until now, it's all been prep work and building up a team of kickass Champions and enjoying the pleasures of flinging desperate heroes into familiar but always-surprising Lovecraftian haunted houses.
Maybe I'm worried that once I glimpse the game's ultimate goal, it will scrub off some of the romance I feel for the rest of the game. That I won't be able to enjoy comfy-exciting runs through the Ruins and Cove as much, when I know what it's building towards at the end.
I'm risking my pleasures in one of the most pleasurable games to come down the pike in years, and for what? To "get" where the story is going? Let me take a guess: all the heroes you've lost in the previous 100+ hours with the game have been used as fuel for whatever unholy pandimensional God my Anscestor summoned up? Truly I am the greatest evil, here! Ohohoh I get it.
And I'm risking it for... that pleasure of the unknown. The pleasure of exploring Darkest Dungeon truly at the edge of my seat again, aware and afraid that the next encounter could just end my heroes just because I've never seen a Mammoth Cyst before and have no idea what this thing is capable of.
And that's very pleasurable, in the same way exploring a new castle in a Souls game is pleasurable.
But it is worth the trade?
Well... let's find out.