Towards the top of my list of games to immediately buy once they’re out of Early Access is Darkest Dungeon, the all-my-friends-are-suddenly-dead squad based RPG from indie studio Red Hook Games. It’s macabre, bloody and rock hard, like a more lethal night out in Glasgow. Delving into the depths just got a little less scary with the addition of a new class, the Houndmaster, and his dog, Dog. To counteract all this pup-related happiness, Red Hook are also adding diseases as another way to murder your heroes, along with a host of other changes.
The Houndmaster himself works as a double team with his dog, who attacks enemies and returns for delicious treats and, presumably, to be told he’s a very good boy indeed. Red Hook are fairly sure that he’s ludicrously overpowered, but are excited to see what the community can do before their nerf scythe cuts him down to size.
Elsewhere, the game is getting ever harder. Diseases are an expansion of the quirk system, which provides random buffs and debuffs to characters based on their actions. They’re “a little more nasty but shorter lasting” than negative quirks and can be removed through a new medical ward back at home base. There’s also been some changes to the system in general, letting you choose to keep quirks permanently, with the chance that some bad ones will tag along for the ride.
Monsters have also received some significant buffs. Their corpses now stick around for a while, stopping you from flanking quite so easily. Various enemies now have significant damage reduction too, meaning the newly improved damage over time and debuff skills have to be used to keep them in check and get them dead.
Numerous other bits of tinkering have been applied to monsters, classes and difficulty scaling, particularly in the late game, to keep it in that “utter nightmare from which you can never escape” territory Red Hook are aiming for. They’ve also warned that, as with Early Access any patch, there may be some unforeseen consequences to their actions which could effect your save games negatively. You can grab the game on Steam if that sounds like something you’re into. If you’d rather save your masochism for when it’s good and ready, it should be in full release before the end of the year.