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With the Daily Prompt being removed from our lives, some of us may need another source to jog our creative brains. I have been struggling, honestly.
I was recently introduced to Quora, which is a site dedicated to asking and answering questions. I find it to be incredibly entertaining with questions like “what is the worst fiction writing advice you’ve heard?” and answers that range from in depth analysis to social media-esque punchlines.
Anyway, I found a question that asked me about the potential interaction I would have with a female character on the last game I played. Well I play a ton of RPGs so naturally this happened to be a character I wrote. It allowed me to take a chance and think about the character I had designed and how someone else might feel about the time they had with them.
I think it is a wonderful writing exercise and I just wanted to spread the love.
And if you are interested in the post, you can see it here.
An underrated game is going to get a rerelease. Owners to the original Steam version will get a free copy of this and for those who don’t own it you may be able to pick it up for the low during Steam’s summer sales. I know what I’ll spend some hours doing this Independence Day. The game will be available July 3rd.
Following my trends of late, I will play the game for a few days and write up a bit of a review to share my experience and analyze some of the changes.
Game: Darkest Dungeon
Age of Nightmares – Week 22
I see now that I had only brushed the surface of the fetid horrors that haunted this accursed estate. I thought my will and wits impenetrable to the creeping darkness fabled to lurk here but as that very same ravenous damnation inevitably consumes me I see that it was naught but foolish bravado and greed what carried me to this miserable end…
In darkness I have spoken with the Twilight Dreamer and she swept the fool’s veil from my eyes. We are to meet our end in this place yet my comrades prove impossibly stubborn. They will not flee. They will not turn back or admit defeat. Their ignorance sickens me; however, to make the journey back to the blackened estate on my own…
We will die here; even so, no one deserves to die alone.
The others have noticed my wavering sanity and though they offer I know there is aught they can do for me. Percy’s devil-dealing cannot save us now. Malvallet’s dry bed-side manner cannot cure bedamned souls. I have only found some minor solace in Eurn’s cryptic quips and grim humour in light of our desperate situation. We have seen many weeks together and, admittedly, my heart aches –
-the writing scrawls off haphazardly toward the edge of the crumbled page-
-the next few lines are even more shaken and illegible than before-
These creatures are relentless, ever-prowling and seeking to destroy humanity. Our campsite is ruined, our efforts to inure ourselves in shambles. We barely fought them off in the pitch black of this watery tomb. Still, we push on.
Perhaps it is my final curse to be amongst courageous and willful souls while I sink ever deeper into the blackness of Twilight’s embrace.
If ever these pathetic ramblings are recovered, I implore you: flee these treacherous lands.
Game: Darkest Dungeon
Age of Nightmares – Week 18
Tiresome grumblings and bellyaching touch every corner of the shambled hamlet. Many of those calling themselves adventurers were ill-prepared for the grueling quest they had set themselves upon. Battered and beaten back by undead horrors and the terrors of the transmundane, many of my peers could hardly endure, on top of it all, insufficient lodging, scarce food, festering disease, and watered down ale.
A squalled few approached the Benefactor about the condition of the hamlet and he admitted to depleting coffers. More than half of those who had gathered deserted the perilous quest that day. While I wish the best for them and meditate for their opportune future, I am gratified to see the weak abandon our ranks.
I was barely enjoying my ale at the tavern when I overheard a pair of nomadic traders discussing antiquated findings they had scrounged up sweeping the estate and its surroundings. They spoke of coin – more coin than previous expeditions had been able to hustle up. When I offered an opportunity to delve further into those otherwordly lands for greater reward they excitedly accepted. Fearless and willful, although frail, they are fools, but I would sooner join arms with those of foolish grit than those who would flee to save their own cowardly blood.
Confident as I was in my ability to slay any danger along our excursion, I knew my hafted blade would not be enough to protect them from the maladies of the tortured and blackened land we walked. I sought medical expertise only to be approached by a newcomer and troubled Sister of some righteous order or another. I would have preferred the devilish shaman’s aid; even so, she seemed ill-concerned with my “heretical” beliefs. She is quite unlike the other “holy warriors” that have gathered here. She joined me in silent meditation and honing then passed on a short blessing to each of us. I know not what greater being she reveres but if she is willing to accept the presence of my belief then I will treat her in kind.
We are to explore the deep, dank, and infested tunnels beneath the bedeviled manor. The antiquarians assure that there is much to be found in the unexplored depths of an estate such as this. We shall see what they find.
I hardly envisioned the artifacts they were able to accumulate in those tunnels. Or the sheer weight they could carry considering their minute frames. By the end of it we were dragging packs and bags of statues, mosaics, heirlooms, and gold. They have impressed me, both in battle and in their resourcefulness. Perhaps I have found some compatriots in this damned land after all.
Now all’s we need is to find a buyer or two and we can finally get some decent ale around here.
Word of The Day: transmundane
Game: Darkest Dungeon
Character: He Who Fled (Ser Phanhardt)
Age of Nightmares – Week 16
A smattering of young knights have followed in my wake. They too see this as a holy quest – the ultimate test of our very faith and our role as defenders of humanity. They believe, as I do, that sacrifice and dedication to She Who Mother’s From Beyond will lend strength to the guardian spirits that watch over us all. I have not presented myself to them and my desecrated garb is beyond recognition. I sicken at the thought of detailing my cowardice transgressions to the might of our…their Order, and those most faithful.
Following my desertion, and after I cleansed the demons of my soul, I returned to the estate anew; not even The Benefactor recognized me beneath the crusted wounds and rags dyed deep with blood. There are few here that were before I fled in sin and I can tell that they too have been effected by the gravity of our task. I have spoken to them and they were remiss to tell me that Ser Phanhardt and the expedition that left under his watchful eye had perished long ago.
One of the young knights, Ser Giffard, boasts of a hunt he plans to spearhead. He speaks of a twisted miscreant claiming to be a voice from The Beyond. None of his fellow knights stood well enough to lend their strength to his glorious cause. I offered myself to his fight and he accepted me. He went so far as to squire me. Despite fumbling over a handful of verses he performed the ceremony adequately.
I had thought I would never again feel the warmth of her embrace, but I have been purified in blood and reborn an initiate so that I may prove myself worthy of her love. Never again will my comrades fall while my blood runs warm.
We emerge bathed in victorious light. We crushed the false prophet’s doom-seeing eyes and silenced his twisted evangelism. Ser Giffard offered a sacrifice for our victory – the dull-minded prophet leapt upon him and chewed through the thin leather of his armor. It is an unholy wound that I fear the Benefactor’s surgeons and physicians will not be able to cure. While I detest the practice and his occultist manner, I will request the aid of the so-called spiritual alchemist, Percy. His methods have proven fruitful before.
Game: Darkest Dungeon
Character: Khaliel, heir to the Fading Sun
Age of Nightmares – Week 13
They’ve taken my hand. Not at the elbow but just at half my fore. I’ve got a nub for a left arm now, so forgive my scrawlings.
Faint flashes of the sensation I felt creeping into my flesh remain, despite the amputation, and I have inquired beneath the crusted cloth of my treatment to find healthy flesh, albeit a tad short in supply.
Losing flesh and sinew did not rank amongst my worries when I set out to test my fate against this land; however, the Void Lady teaches us sacrifice fathers’ victory.
Your surgeons did well in-spite of their faithlessness. I am not convinced that the corruption has been removed from my body but I am certain that I will turn my blade against your enemies until the day I falter.
I wanted to personally thank you for your hospitality. Your staff proved professional and vigilante albeit a little stale for my tastes. Even so, allowing me guests in those troubling times more than made up for what they left to desire. A grizzled busybody and close friend found their way to me and I was enlightened to the plight of your very own lineage. That very same chevalier tutored me back to fighting form in shield-baring combat.
This is becoming long winded, my translator bores, even so I want to highlight these events so that our children’s childrens remain allies throughout this endless nightmare.
As I go on, this next statement may sound a bit strange: I feel like I share kinship with this game. Everything from it’s thundering thrilling music to the methodical deadliness of the mechanics leaves me starry-eyed and inspired.
Red Hook Studios’ pilot project Darkest Dungeon is a turn-based RPG about the harrowing difficulties of dungeon crawling. It was released in 2016 was nominated Best RPG of 2016 by PC Gamer and Game Informer. Boasting the “Affliction System”, this game is not for the faint of heart, or rather, those who are afraid to lose. Death and madness are lurking around every corner and they are patient.
The Hermit Says ~ “I’ve felt darkness like this before. It is insatiable. It latches onto worlds and devours everything. That’s its strength. It’s a tragedy. Much more has been ruined here than that fool’s family; still, to hold back an inevitable end for this long…help them if you will, t’ain’t matter to me. Just know: the fight to live always ends in the darkest places.”
Under The Hood
i5-8600K Coffee Lake 6-Core 3.6 GHz || Ballistix Sport LT DDR4 (2 x16GB) || NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760
Story ~ This game’s tale is told through a series of memoirs written by the player’s Ancestor, a willful and stringnet noble. The player is informed, via a particularly manic letter, that they are now the current owner of the estate and the surrounding lands. During the Ancestor’s excavation beneath the manor where he sought fame and fortune, he unearthed otherwordly portals and unleashed horrific nightmares unto the surface. To correct the mistake of the Ancestor, and to protect their families lands, the player rallys and recruits adventurers and mounts expeditions to purge the land of the evil and put an end to heart of the great darkness.
Throughout the game, the Ancestor will comment on events and reveal the past through tales, facts, memories, and snark. His narration is gripping and melodramatic in a tasteful way that brings a sense of drama and tragedy accentuating the game’s aesthetic.
Graphics, Sound & UI ~ A 2D side-scroller, the game’s art direction bleeds Gothic. It breathes Lovecraftian. Overall tones are muted and shadows are exaggerated and weighty. Combined with echoing and eerie locales such as harrowing forests and hazey graveyards, Darkest Dungeon takes you into the depths of the deepest, dankest, corners of your family’s estate and berrates your with terrible and gruesome creatures. Heroes and creatures are fully animated sprites in a cinematic, almost comic-book fashion befitting its dramatic horror theme.
Music, voice, and sound effects are all gripping and crank up the intensity. I recommend a good pair of headphones to soak in every last thundering drum note and every rough, dispassionate comment of the relentless narrator.
The UI looks gorgeous, gritty, and ominous. Each tile and image carry the same artistic excellence of the over all game and blends perfectly which is a powerful supporting feature for the immersion. Now, I played this game on both console and PC and I prefer the PC when it comes to controlling and interacting with the UI. The console UI can prove to feel a little clunky and convoluted at times but that is a minor gripe; mouse and keyboard input is just faster, easier, and more intuitive.
Gameplay ~ Downright evil. Unforgiving, punishing, threatening, taunting, teasing, deceitful – this game just hurts my feelings. I was confident heading in and decided to play one difficulty level above normal, coined “Blood Moon”. I crawled out a new man, broken and tortured by the ghosts of my heroes. Learn from my mistake. Start on “Darkest”.
Darkest Dungeon is an RPG first. You will have to manage your roster of heroes as well as your estate. This includes training heroes’ skills, upgrading equipment, maintaining their stress levels through activities such as praying at the church or drinking at the bar, and much more. You will launch one expedition at a time with four heroes with the choice to delve into various locations such as your families madness ridden manor or the plagued forests. Each expedition has a specific goal in mind whether that be purging the area of monsters or simple scouting. Prepare you expedition gear bringing plenty of food and tools and delve into the darkness. Along the way you will encounter vicious monstrosities and fend them off with your parties unique abilities, but remember, physical ailments are not the only threat. Heroes can, and will, lose their mind, turn on their allies, or even act on their own wasting precious time and resources. You must be mindful and efficient with every step you take. Only through successfully completing your objective and making it out of the dungeon alive do heroes gain experience; however, abandoning the expedition is a viable tactic when faced with loss of life. So is sacrifice.
If you are like me, this game will piss you off plenty. Sometimes those odds are just pure BS. Why does my party have to eat again when I just ate two tiles ago? Why the hfil is there even a possibility to roll a zero on a heal?! Even so, it’s that same difficulty and frustration that gives its value and helps immerse you in the experience. Sometimes I just don’t agree with those odds
Moment to Remember ~ Doing a meager amount of homework and getting cocky about the team that I had planned out, I launched an expedition to slay a Wizened Hag. Whether overconfident or suffering a lapse in intelligence, I found myself in a battle where I could not hit my foul opponent consistently. Two of my party members were cooked alive while another lost their mind and killed the fourth member in a disturbed frenzy. The now crazed and murderous member of the expedition fled and returned to the hamlet and refused to leave the brothel for two weeks.
In Conclusion ~ This game is a masterpiece in nearly every category and truly one of the most charmingly demented games I have ever played. It brings death and vulnerability to games where many others opt to make the player feel powerful and exhilarated for the majority of the game. You will rage quit this game. You may save scum this game (I had to promise myself not to). You will hate this game. But it’s that kind of hate that keeps you coming back eager to be the victor.
Overall ~ 9\10
At the time of this posting: this game is on sale here on Steam, as well as its DLC.
I’ll be writing a full on the latest DLC “Color of Madness” within the next few days so keep an eye out if you enjoyed this.
Keep on keepin’ on, and stay true, friends! =]