Darkest Dungeon: The Crimson Court. Not sickly sweet vampires

1 min read
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A child of Twilight and Dark Souls from the world of rogue-likes

On June 19th Steam released an expansion for the best RPG game of 2015 (or even the best RPG of the last 10 years) – Darkest Dungeon. So it happened that updates for this game is a rare thing. Each of them also brings solid changes to the game, adds new hero classes and tries to diversify weekly runs to the dungeon of the snarky father Ancestor who shot himself.

And this time is not an exception. The update is called “Crimson Court” and it’s full of amazing content to explore.




What are you talking about, gentlemen?

Back in 2015, Red Hook studio released a rogue-like game focused on dungeon runs. While being in Early access, the game quickly accumulated the required amount and got released just six months after, in January 2016. As for the early access game, that’s a great indicator that Darkest Dungeon is a full featured product and not some cash cow launched with intention to just earn money on endless transactions and donate goals for game polishing (hello DayZ, H1Z1, PUBG and other projects that stay in early access for years and feel no shame).




The game itself consists of two parts – mansion and dungeon. In your mansion you construct new buildings, equip your heroes with weapons, armors, skills, items and provision. In dungeon you do your best to not completely waste your entire crew because monsters you face on the road deal both physical and mental damage to your adventurers. You might not know, but after reaching a certain level of insanity, heroes might become uncontrollable and will not obey your orders (at the same time we figure out what exactly happened and how all this mystic stuff emerged under our Ancestor’s mansion).

The RPG is created using gothic style, the grim and sinister art of the locations and characters looks on point.

Is this update any good?



Let’s start with small things: a few items and hero perks got reworked (spoiler alert: as always, not the most useful ones); the narrator’s more chatty now and comments more of your actions; a whole bunch of new interesting items were added, new bosses and many other nice (or terrifying) things (full list is available at the devs’ website).

Let’s get to the point

“Crimson Court” brings a new story branch to the game which tells a story about youth of the Ancestor. It should explain why he couldn’t handle the desire to dig deeper the insanity by the end of his life. First we need to look through the new location – Courtyard (although swamps and mosquitoes resemble Karelia more). Thinking that players need new “type” of enemies, devs decided not to combine the Courtyard inhabitants with the existing archetypes (like Human, Beast or Undead) and made the mosquitoes and vampires Bloodsuckers. As it usually happens, the creatures are mostly weak to the damage mechanics they use themselves. Same here, Bloodsuckers have very low bleed resistance so take that into account while making your party.

First dungeon of the Courtyard will greet you with a serious resistance – the swamp is filled with predators you’ve not seen before…

Also, starting at July 19 we’re getting one more hero – the mansion welcomes the Flagellant (who’s called Martyr in Russian version for some reason but that’s a story for another article).




At level 0, Flagellant already does full damage with one of his abilities and puts a 4x3 bleed (Punish); second ability heals himself and one more ally for 34% of HP (Redeem); the third one (Exsanguinate) does full damage, heals for a third of your HP and puts a bleed on your target. It’s so weak though. People on the forums were crying the new hero would be OP. But there’s one catch: the most powerful perks of the hero have one requirement – Flagellant must have 50% or less health to use them. Sure, we lose theh status after healing yourself for a third of HP so you’ll have to get into battle and get hit a few times to be able to use Exsanguinate again. Another “feature” shows itself at the death’s door and paranoia. New hero can stay at death’s door for a long time: basic resistance is 73% and with the help of items you can put it up to the full value – that’s almost like immortality! But the 5% chance does not mean anything, does it? Am I right?

Stress is another deal though. After reaching 100 stress, Flagellant can only end up with one thing: Paranoia. Chance to get any other deviation is zero. While paranoid, he refuses to be healed, deals damage to himself and allies – basically, he keeps his HP level at 50%. With that, his damage and speed increases but dodge loses 20 points. That’s not OP at all. Keeping all the requirements for a successful activity of Flagellant is too expensive for other three heroes. Plus, it takes time getting him to the edge therefore first battles in dungeon he’s probably going to spend getting his butt kicked.




About new hero, in short 

And the last new feature – Crimson Curse. It’s not the vampirism mechanics per se. I don’t think you can impress Vestals with life transfer. The curse works as a system changing a hero depending on the illness stage: the further it reached, the more focused it is. But, the more “cursed” heroes you have in the team, the more dangerous the Fanatic is (new boss wandering around the dungeons).




Will you be able to keep your sanity watching as your team hungers, catches crits, falls asleep at death’s door and wakes up from ambushes? It’d be harder to find a better reason to do that. Let’s go to the Darkest Dungeon!

As far as the expansion concerned, we’re pretty much done but I’ve got something to say about game localization.

Lost in translation: opinion of a no-name

It’s a bit sad that we can only make a rough translation of the expansion’s name. It’s 2 years since the game appeared on Kickstarter (and a year and a half since release) and Russian speaking community is still just making a “rough translation”. Official localization in Russian is terrible by two reasons. First one is that the font used in English version is not adapted for Cyrillic and localizers have to use a different font. But it loses its charm! Just compare yourself: three different fonts make three different moods for further story-telling.




Second reason is a wrong translation. Spell that increases hero stress level – heavy curse? Flagellant is Martyr for some reason? Snails throwing slime – brine in Russian version, what?! Sorry but with this approach I’ll probably be better off translating it on my own. I guess we’re lucky they didn’t change the narrator’s amazing voice with a Russian counterpart. The only reason to switch to Russian language is to read notes and the Ancestor’s monologues before every boss.




And now I’m done, for sure :) Don’t forget to take dad’s plants into the dungeon, don’t take stress and see you around at WePlay.tv

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