Darkest Dungeon 2, we tested the highly anticipated early access RPG

Darkest Dungeon 2, we tested the highly anticipated early access RPG

Darkest Dungeon 2

When we think about the creative process that should lead to creating the perfect sequel, unless you have the economic and creative means of Naughty Dog, one of the most shining examples that comes to mind is that of XCOM 2. Firaxis Games, in fact, has not simply enriched the original formula, but has deconstructed its masterpiece and reassembled it in an externally very different form, but extremely faithful in the soul.

The comparison with XCOM 2 seems very fitting when we think of Darkest Dungeon 2. Red Hook Studios, in fact, confirms that it is a very talented team, self-confident and ambitious enough not to be satisfied with re-proposing a more of the same of its blockbuster and not even limiting itself, just to continue with Englishisms, to a bigger, better and more badass by Cliffyana memoria.

Red Hook took its primary work, listened to the impressions of its community and started with a work of hammer and chisel to create an experience that is original, but also deeply faithful to the original material.

Let's find out how in our tried and tested early access version of Darkest Dungeon 2, available exclusively on the Epic Games Store.

Early Access

The 4 starting characters of Darkest Dungeon 2 Before we begin, let's do some sorting. Darkest Dungeon 2 has been available for a few days in early access on the Epic Games Store, where it can be freely purchased for around 24 euros. If all goes as planned, it will remain in this state for about a year, after which the game should arrive in its final version also on other PC stores (Steam, GOG, etc ...) and perhaps even on consoles, as it is. been for the first chapter.

At that point the team will also decide the final price of Darkest Dungeon 2, but don't expect big discounts: the first chapter has recently exceeded 5 million copies sold and continues to be very sold and in demand despite the price "high". Not bad for being the first work of an independent studio.

Everything changes so that nothing changes

The carriage of Darkest Dungeon 2 is the main element of novelty As we said, the backbone of Darkest Dungeon 2 has remained almost unchanged: we are talking about a turn-based role-playing game in which you have to try to make a group of 4 warriors survive the misadventures that fate will throw up against them. Just like the first chapter, in fact, the game of Red Hook is not a ride to glory or omnipotence (yes, Skyrim, we're watching you!), When a grueling and bloody stride towards the end of a monster-infested journey , marauders and a whole host of such amenities.

Due to limited supplies, insufficient skills and hordes of enemies ready to fight, every game of Darkest Dungeon 2 is a fight for survival, for get out of difficult situations in the best possible way, as the game warns at the beginning of each session.

This is because not only will you have to let your heroes survive, but you will also have to make sure that they do not go crazy along the journey. Being surrounded by darkness, with legions of ferocious and corrupt beings ready to cut our skin is not an easy thing to metabolize, especially if the only people you can rely on are a grave hunter, a leper, a jester or a of the other 6 "heroes" that make up the cast of Darkest Dungeon 2.

Also for this reason the mental health of the warriors will be almost more difficult to maintain than the physical health. Psychologically breaking down will not only have physical repercussions, but it will ruin relationships with other teammates, making battles even more painful and difficult. Red Hook Studio has made the mental aspect of warriors very central who, in this sequel, will be much more influenced by nervous breakdowns, but also more likely to forge positive relationships with the closest traveling companions. However, it only takes a little and everything will crack, leading the team into an ever deeper spiral that will inevitably force them to confront the darkest labyrinth (2) that is the title of the game.

In a carriage!

Along the way to Darkest Dungeon 2 there will be places where you will have to decide what to do The story of Darkest Dungeon 2 restarts exactly where we left the progenitor, too bad we will soon discover that our efforts have been in vain and not only have we not the evil that dwelt in the depths of the dungeon of the first game has been eradicated, but now it has spread all over the world, also affecting the rotation of the Earth's axis.

A handful of heroes set out in search of a solution: as already mentioned, the journey will be full of pitfalls, but at least it will be more comfortable than in the past. Instead of walking, the four heroes will try to reach the top of the mountain aboard an upgradeable carriage that will be used to recover some energy, change equipment, as well as move through the game levels. Instead of two-dimensional labyrinths, in Darkest Dungeon 2 it will be necessary to guide the cumbersome stagecoach along pre-established paths along which enemies or bonuses of various kinds are scattered. At the end of each stage there is a main "event" (it could be a fight, the possibility of discovering the past of a character or helping the survivors) after which there could be the possibility to choose the path to take, so as to give the player a little control over events.

Even the basic steps of exploration can sometimes be avoided, but this will come at the expense of very scarce resources. Avoid a collision or risk being left in the dark along the way? Every choice has consequences in Darkest Dungeon 2 and often these are dramatic.


The relationship between the heroes of Darkest Dungeon 2 is at the center of this new chapter For the moment the group of heroes available is the same as in the first chapter. The main differences concern the evolution of their skills and especially their recruitment. Starting from the end, in Darkest Dungeon 2 the heroes are unique, they have a well-defined past (which you can discover during the adventure in certain places) and therefore they are not replaceable. The other consequence is that it will no longer be possible to make groups composed of the same warriors, but only have to concentrate on 4 of them at a time. It will therefore no longer be necessary to recruit them, but they can be unlocked by raising the level of their account, failure after failure.

To make them grow and become stronger, you can increase the level of their moves or the affinity with teammates. No levels of weapons and armor things like that: the combat system has been dried by some superfetations seen as superfluous. For example, there is no longer the aiming parameter, but the possibility of hitting an enemy is determined by any buffs applied in battle. From this point of view the readability of the statuses is much clearer and next to each warrior it will be possible to see what is strengthening him or what is consuming his life.

However, the legibility of the moves and of the match is optimal. Often you are hit by unexpected penalties or do not understand the effects of a certain move. But Red hook will have time to work on this too.

The blows received seem less deadly than in the past, not punishing the player excessively in this way, but the impression still remains that often bad luck can also ruin the better strategies and that sometimes we are powerless in the face of fate and do not have the countermeasures to limit everything that happens on the battlefield. One thing that, on the one hand, is part of the charm of Darkest Dungeon 2, on the other creates frustration at not being able to intervene in any way as the group slowly slips into a spiral of death. Spiral that cannot even accelerate and that leaves you speechless, helpless (and a little nervous) staring at the screen waiting for the inevitable fate.

Once all the warriors die, we will have to start all over again, making Darkest Dungeon 2 look like a roguelike. After each game, however, the player's level will rise by unlocking new character classes, bonuses and abilities.


Darkest Dungeon 2 is made with a fine 3D engine, but the style is always recognizable Another aspect on which Red Hook has worked very well is from a technical point of view. Darkest Dungeon 2, in fact, maintains the very particular visual style and the marked trait of the first chapter, but converts it into a pleasant 3D graphics full of details. During the fights it will be more difficult to notice the differences, since the view is the same and the fights are still rather static and turn-based. A keen eye, however, will notice many new animations that embellish every move, such as a blade scraped to the ground after a blow and many details of this type.

The new engine shines in all its splendor during the phases of exploration aboard the carriage. Definitely beautiful to look at, thanks to the dark tones and the scratchy design of the whole work, even if after a while they become monotonous, due to the landscapes that are all the same and the lack of interactivity of the travels. The only thing that can be done, in fact, is to "invest" the scrap along the way, in the hope that it will hide some kind of bonus. The downside is that this action could generate stress in the already tried fighters.

The sound sector is also good, with Wayne June's narrator returning to "comment" on the salient phases of each match. Note of merit for the adaptation of the texts in Italian which, despite some holes, is already present in this edition in early access.

Darkest Dungeon 2 is finally here and all the fans of the Red Hook series have the opportunity to immerse yourself in this new nightmare. The game structure has apparently changed a lot, but the core of the experience, from the relentless combat to the fighter classes, has remained virtually unchanged. Some elements of group management and game evolution have changed, some moves and the way to manage the status during the clashes, but in the next year the studio will be committed not only to expanding the contents, but also to finding a perfect balance of experience, also thanks to the indications that will come from their fans. The only reason you shouldn't consider this is that you want to save yourself the surprise for the final version. If not, do yourself a favor: descend into the bowels of Darkest Dungeon 2.


Unique style Deep and magnetic gameplay Development is not finished yet DOUBTS It can be frustrating The interface is not is always readable Have you noticed any errors?

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