Both games have a place in the hearts of their fans, but Darkest Dungeon 2 has made some improvements that should be praised.
It’s hard to compare the first Darkest Dungeon to the second one. From the start of Early Access, it was clear that the game would be different. The art and style were the same, and there were some things that came back, like ways to deal with stress.
But the creators of Darkest Dungeon 2 didn’t just want to give fans more of the same. Some players will, of course, like the first game better, and they might even think that some of the “improvements” are worse. But the team at Red Hook needs to know what worked well in this sequel so they can figure out what players want in a possible series.
Darkest Dungeon’s dungeons and travels are still based on the same basic idea. But in the second game, the Confessions are beautiful allegories in and of themselves. Each hero tries to save something from sin. The person telling the story does a great job explaining how these things happen.
Take the first boss in Denial Confession, for example. It looks and feels like players are fighting a brain, but they are actually trying to break the brain’s locks. This is exactly what it feels like to be in denial, to fight to get the information that has been pushed out of your thoughts. As the team moves forward and the enemies’ Ordainment gets stronger, the other bosses have the same theme.
Some players really liked the Hamlet, and getting everything ready for a run could take up to 30 minutes. That is a totally reasonable thing to love and miss. But many players find the second game easier to get into because it’s easy to choose a few heroes, unlock and choose a hero path, choose some skills, and start playing.
Some players’ plans work better if they can start right away. People who played the first game and had time to mess with everything might find that the less strict time limits work better for them now that they have more responsibilities.
Before, players had to find ways to gain power. It was a fact that they had to find certain items and upgrades. Now, instead of making a plan and a goal to unlock power, gamers unlock options. Most of the time, getting Candles of Hope to spend at the Altar of Hope doesn’t give you strength; it just lets you find more strength.
Whether you like it or not, this means the second game can be played more than once. When you reach the highest level of power in the first game, there are no more challenges. Even if players have unlocked everything, including the best things at the Inn, they will always have to adapt in the second game.
Multiple Successful Strategies
In the first game, the strategies were used so often that they almost became the same. It was possible to win without all the heroes, but there was a clear order of power. In the end, it was just plain easier to win with some setups than with others.
Some pros like that in the second game, any group can win as long as they play it with a lot of intelligence. It feels good to make the right moves and take the right risks.
No longer can you just let the stagecoach go where it wants and hope for the best. Even a fully upgraded stagecoach can have its wheels knocked off, lose armour plates, or hit one too many Loathing stacks. Even if everything goes as planned, the stagecoach will barely make it.
If the team gives up too much light or gets into too many fights, it could be doomed. No longer are left, right, and straight easy choices that players can return from with more skill.
At some point in Darkest Dungeon, the players learn enough and feel safe enough that nothing can hurt them. Before the run starts, opponents can be figured out and dealt with. Before an expert leaves the Hamlet, victory is already certain.
Because there are so many random obstacles on the path and so many possible buffs and debuffs, no run feels the same, even when the same team is doing the same Confession. Every run feels harder, and every win feels like it was a close call. Depending on the case, you have to choose which skills to improve.
More Impactful Combat
If you make a bad choice in the first Darkest Dungeon, it’s easy to make up for it at the Hamlet. In Darkest Dungeon 2, if you make a bad move, it could be the end of your run. The enemies hit harder, pile up more stress, and have more ways to kill the party.
But not everything is against the player. On the other hand, healing wounds, getting combos, and being in a better situation can all make the player’s characters hit harder. In the sequel, the bad things are worse and the good things are better. This means that every move must be carefully thought out.A team can get by on good ties, but ignoring the Affinity system will destroy it.
Darkest Dungeon 2 has a great sense of balance. No one will say that the Plague Doctor in the first game was a bad character. She’s one of the best characters ever, no matter what. But in Darkest Dungeon 2, the Plague Doctor can be the worst or the best of the team, based on who else is on it.
Some heroes are more likely to succeed than others, but even the “worst” one can be the star of a team that is built around them. Because of this, there are fewer heroes in the second game, but each one has a part that is just as important as the others.
Candles of Hope are the only thing you can “farm” in Darkest Dungeon 2, but getting them is easy. It’s no longer a chore to look for certain items and routes. “Farming” now means nothing more than putting together a good team and going as far as possible.
It’s true that some gamers like to aim for specific jobs with specific rewards. Playing the same game over and over until you get all the loot has its own prize. But some gamers will like the freedom to play how they want and get paid for it.
True roguelike games sometimes have more options, but they don’t have anything that makes the beginning of Tunnel Rush game better. Because of this, neither Darkest Dungeon game is a true roguelike. Some upgrades make the heroes better in a clear way.
Still, this is a lot more like the second game. Trinkets aren’t promised, especially the rare Stained items, and combat items must be found randomly after being unlocked. Darkest Dungeon 2 gives people who wanted more of a roguelike feel a chance to get it.
Darkest Dungeon 2 can now be played on PC.