Final Darkest Dungeon 2 update before launch adds pets, out now

The final Darkest Dungeon 2 update before the Lovecraftian roguelike game’s release date, Redemption Road, revamps travel and adds pets that aid you in combat.

The last major Darkest Dungeon 2 update for early access is here, and it brings an overhaul to the game’s travel systems, refinements to several key systems in the Lovecraftian roguelike game, and introduces adorable pets that can help you both in and out of combat. The Redemption Road update is the final one before the Darkest Dungeon 2 release date arrives in May, but there’s plenty to keep fans playing in the meantime.

By far the most exciting news is the arrival of pets, with ten different pets across five different cage styles. Six of these are used as part of your stagecoach build – for example, the Unnatural Owlet gives you a +5% debuff chance for each Tinker’s Gear you have equipped. These tags have been added to items, so this particular one applies to the explosives magazine, blueprint tubes, assay gear, tinker’s bench, and trapmaker’s kit, for example. The remaining four pets bring “powerful combat effects” to the table.

Routes have been overhauled to implement more strategic planning on the part of the player. Your stagecoach will now have ‘wheels’ and ‘armour’ tokens that must be manually replenished at an Inn or found in certain encounters. Keeping both topped up provides you with a nice benefit, while running out will expose you to potential ambushes.

There are also new road types, which can deplete your wheels or armour tokens, as well as a random event that demands you urgently repair your coach or face a roadside ambush where one of your heroes each turn must focus on repairing the coach rather than engaging in the fight. This means you’re forced to take on the pillagers at a notable disadvantage.

Darkest Dungeon 2 - two developers showing off a selection of the new pets in the Redemption Road update

The stagecoach controls and the way intersections operate have also been touched up slightly. Now, if you make a route decision quickly you can take the turn without slowing down. If you delay, however, the coach halts at the intersection, giving you time to choose your path more carefully. Developer Red Hook says, “These changes affect the overall feel of traversal and will require a bit of adaptation for experienced players,” but adds, “We’ve found it better suits the game.”

There are lots more tweaks in the update, including a whole raft of balance changes. Candle spawn rates have been buffed up slightly, and early-game scoring has been increased “quite a bit” as the team concludes, “we were a little too stingy before.” The torch’s gameplay effects have also been adjusted slightly, with more focus on blind chances based on the light levels and less on crit and DoT resists.

The Valley region has been “significantly shortened.” There’s a big rework to the Loathing system, which will now build when passing through Oblivion Tears or visiting void-touched locations but decrease during combat. If your Loathing maxes out, you’ll have to deal with the Confession boss that has different effects dependent upon your confession choice.

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There’s also a variety of loot and economy balance changes, with prices reduced for stagecoach items and trinkets and shop selections altered in numerous locations. The memory system has also been updated “to be closer to our original design goals of linking memories directly to success against Confession bosses.”

Darkest Dungeon 2 Redemption Road is out now. For more details and all the minor character, monster, and item balance tweaks, you can check the full patch notes courtesy of Red Hook.

PCGamesN spoke with Red Hook at GDC about how the team plans Darkest Dungeon 2 DLC to help fund “making cool things.” We’ve picked out more of the best tactical RPGs on PC if you love a good ponder, along with our favourite turn-based strategy games to give you plenty to enjoy.