Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

In this preview we will talk about Darkest Dungeon 2, the new title released in early access by Red Hook Studios on the Epic Games Store

The first Darkest Dungeon was published in early access gives Red Hook Studios in 2015 and immediately managed to carve out a place in the hearts of many gamers. Now, 6 years later, the team has finally released a sequel of his acclaimed first work and, once again, the early access model was adopted.

From the launch of the game to today we have had the opportunity to try Darkest Dungeon 2 very thoroughly and, if you are interested in learning more before buying it, in this preview you will find all the information you need to understand what state the title is currently in.

A desperate journey

The story of Darkest Dungeon 2 unfolds shortly after the end of the first chapter and sees the protagonist intent on facing the corruption unleashed in the world by the Darkest Dungeon. To be able to stop the looming apocalypse you will have to undertake a long journey through the ruins of civilization, but luckily you won’t be alone. In fact, during your mission you will be accompanied by a group of heroes decadent that will help you face the terrifying creatures that haunt the world.

Basically the story of Darkest Dungeon 2 it is not very different from that of its predecessor. Sure, right now in Early Access you can only play one of the five chapters that make up the full game, but in any case the goals don’t seem to be very different.

In this sequel, however, there is a novelty that we really appreciated a lot, that is the will to deepen the backgrounds of the various heroes. In the first Darkest Dungeon the story of many characters was only hinted at through dialogue lines, while here you can easily discover their past and even experience some very important moments of their life firsthand.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

Life on the Road – Darkest Dungeon 2 Preview

Although Darkest Dungeon 2 is a direct sequel to the first chapter, the game is very different from its predecessor. Among the many innovations, the one that catches the eye most is linked to the structure of the title. In the first chapter the players could count on a small village to use as a base where to look after the needs of the heroes and from which to start short expeditions to the surrounding areas. In this sequel instead you will take part in a long journey aboard a carriage and you will have no safe place to return to. The caravan will form a bit of your base and it will be customizable with several upgrades that will benefit you and your heroes, but most of the healing and support features offered by the Borough will now only be available in some specific places that you will meet along the way.

The path that leads to the mountain is quite linear but during the expedition you will often find yourself in front of gods bivi. In these cases it is extremely important to plan your route carefully using the map, as you will be able to do some along the way meetings that can simplify or complicate your journey. For example, you might come across merchants, altars where you can unlock new skills for heroes or survivors looking for help, but you could also end up in a den of monsters or fall victim to an ambush along the way.

Considering the difficulty of confrontations many of you may think that it is always wise to avoid battles when possible, but sadly this is not always the case. In fact, in Darkest Dungeon 2 it has been added impiety, a new mechanic that will often inspire you to fight. If you spend too much time without a fight, the bar of Unholy will start to fill up, making subsequent clashes more and more difficult. Also when the indicator is completely full your caravan’s torch will burn out at double the speed. If the torch light were to decrease too much, the enemies would end up earning various bonuses during the battles and, if it were to go out completely, you will end up suffering a very dangerous ambush by some really powerful opponents.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

Battlemates – Darkest Dungeon 2 Preview

The system of combat of Darkest Dungeon 2 has roughly remained unchanged compared to that of the first chapter. Whenever you run into a group of enemies, you’ll need to engage them in one turn-based battle where you can control a group of up to 4 heroes. Currently there are only 9 heroes in the game and of these 8 were already present in the first chapter, but for sure over time new ones will be added.

These few characters, however, already manage to really give lots of variety to the battles of the game, as each of them owns a specific role and truly unique abilities. Also, although each hero can only use five skills at the same time, during your games you can unlock many more and equip the ones you prefer according to your play style. You can also customize them even more by assigning them gods trinket, that is, rare artifacts that can offer several advantages.

In the battles there are several elements that those who have played the first chapter now know very well, like the positioning-based attacks, the appearance of corpses on the battlefield and the presence of dangerous DoT, but there have also been changes. For example now consumable items must be equipped, the buff and debuff system has undergone a rework completo and many have been added new penalties and bonuses.

The biggest change, however, is related to the Stress, which now works in a very different way than in the past. In the first Darkest Dungeon, when a character’s stress bar filled up completely, the character was struck by a severe behavioral disorder. In the sequel, instead of going crazy, the hero will lose a large portion of HP and his relations with other comrades will deteriorate noticeably.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

Sick Relationships – Darkest Dungeon 2 Preview

That of relations between characters is a very important new mechanic and for this reason we have decided to dedicate a paragraph of its own to her. Compared to the first chapter, in Darkest Dungeon 2 the heroes are much more characterized and they may often have conflicting views. For example, in front of a group of survivors, some characters may want to help them, while others would prefer to rob them. Deciding to listen to one hero rather than another can lead to different results, but above all it will affect relationships among the members of the caravan. In fact, every time you make a character make a choice, others may approve or disapprove of his actions.

The relationships between each pair of heroes are indicated by a special bar and of course they can be both negative and positive. Once the gauge is completely full, the characters will squeeze a bond and they will get different bonus or malus. For example, two heroes very much in tune could protect each other, while two who hate each other might weaken or even become damaged. Having a lot of heroes with negative relationships could really complicate your game, but luckily it is always possible to have them put their differences aside. In fact, in addition to choices, it is also possible to influence relationships through positive action during fights (such as heals, buffs, etc.) or using specific objects in taverne scattered along the path that leads to the mountain.

Be careful though, why sometimes positive relationships could bring disadvantages and vice versa. For example two heroes lovers they could prove themselves jealous, thus sometimes preventing the partner from healing or empowering another individual. On the contrary, a character jealous he might get some benefits when his rival takes a critical hit.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

Die and Repeat – Darkest Dungeon 2 Preview

The first Darkest Dungeon had elements that could be somewhat reminiscent of i roguelike, while this second chapter instead belongs 100% to the aforementioned genus. In fact, the game is no longer based on a long adventure, but on of the shorter individual matches. In fact, every time you start the game you can decide your initial training of heroes and then set off along a new one randomly generated path. In addition, every time you finish a game (both winning and losing), you will earn hope points that will allow you to unlock new items, artifacts, traits and even heroes.

For the moment, once the final boss of the game is defeated, nothing seems to happen, but this happens only because the game is still in early access. In fact, at the moment it is only possible to play the first chapter of Darkest Dungeon 2 and most likely, once they are released, it will be possible to access the others only after completing a run.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin

A New Dimension – Darkest Dungeon 2 Preview

The first Darkest Dungeon featured a truly exceptional artistic sector and of course the sequel is no exception. The second chapter in fact even manages to evolve compared to its predecessor, applying the unique style of the a dei series new 3D models. This step also allowed the realization of new animations that are much smoother and more accurate which make the clashes even more spectacular and satisfying. The title also also boasts a outstanding soundtrack that manages at any moment to immerse the player in the crumbling universe of Darkest Dungeon. Moreover, this second chapter also boasts a truly phenomenal dubbing, since fortunately Wayne June has once again lent his voice to the iconic narrator of the game.

For what concern technical sector instead we have some small problem, but fortunately this is nothing serious. The game unfortunately suffers from time to time frame drops during the sections aboard the caravan and at times we happened to run into some freezes. Also during our test we happened several times to run into lmissing text files, translation errors and graphical glitches but, considering that the title has just entered Early Access, these problems are more than understandable.

Darkest Dungeon 2 preview: traveling through ruin


Now the point of our preview has finally come where let’s sum up Darkest Dungeon 2. Despite still being in early access, the sequel it has already proven itself up to its predecessor. This second chapter incorporates many elements of the first Darkest Dungeon, but manages to get its own identity thanks to the addition of new original mechanics. At present they are also present really a lot of content and, since it belongs to the genre of roguelikes, will already be able to entertain you for many hours. If you want to enjoy the finished product directly we suggest you wait but, if you want to get a taste of this sequel while supporting the developers at the same time, then we are sure that the early access version …