Clarissa Obongen looks at “Darkest Dungeons”, a psychological horror sure to make you rage quit like no other.
The all-too-familiar feeling of rage quitting does not escape players of Darkest Dungeon. This is a single-player game that explores the psychological stresses associated with adventuring with deep in-game lore to unravel. The player’s journey is narrated by their deceased ancestor, offering their wisdom, their tales, and simple commentary throughout the game. The aim is to recruit adventurers to conquer the horrors that plague their ancestral lands that they are to inherit. Through their adventures they become stronger or, in some cases, weaker.
The recruitment and development process of these adventurers allows players to become emotionally attached to the characters: giving them a unique name, building up their stats, and applying cool equipment that benefits their abilities. Their downside, though, is their likeliness to becoming stressed or gaining afflictions faster, affecting the whole party. These afflictions include paranoia, irrational, hopeless, fearful, and more. The player may experience deep frustration when all their efforts are lost at their beloved adventurer’s untimely death. In addition to this, the game auto-saves so if you tried to exit the game to get your favourite character back, it would result in failure and the player must either continue or start a new save. Personally, the Vestal was my favourite adventurer for their healing abilities.
The game is undeniably challenging but equally very intriguing, enough to keep players interested between their fits of anger. The game’s difficulty increases as you progress and the downloadable content adds more difficulty to the already near-impossible main game. It includes additional lore, new dungeons, game mechanics, and enemies. The music suits the theme of the game and adds to the tension during battle encounters. The graphics are excellent, the hand-drawn gothic art style that is aesthetically pleasing for this type of game really adds to the appeal of the game.
In my experience, I’ve had to take long breaks from the game before returning, only to rage quit after realising the initial mistake I made. Making a new save file to start all over again became an all too familiar feeling. It’s difficult and requires a lot of patience, which I definitely did not have. The Darkest Dungeons experience of rage quit is not the same as what another player would experience through other games. Iconic ‘Gamer Rage’ behaviour includes comical keyboard snapping, table-flipping, and a flurry of curse words, but in Darkest Dungeon the rage may be more psychological. It might not have been the same for all the players, but I felt the full effect of the game and empathised with the adventurers. After playing the game for a while, I don’t feel the need to scream or table-flip, I just felt like I needed a nap. Overall, it’s a fantastic strategy game, featuring turn-based combat, RPG elements, and a Lovecraftian twinge to it all. Trust me though, this game will make you rage quit a lot.