Red Hook’s team-based, disaster-packed roguelike Darkest Dungeon [official site] always seemed slightly at war with itself. Was it a tongue-in-cheek romp through Cthulhian dungeons, or was it a painstaking exercise in squad micro-management and not-a-foot-wrong combat strategy? Both, in practice, but increasingly it seems Darkest Dungeon was intended to be the latter. Its own internal cold war between merriment and masochism came to a head last week, as long-term fans griped anout the latest changes to the early access game. Graham summarised these yesterday, but in a nutshell: focal point for the discontent was a new system which sees defeated enemies leave behind corpses, which in many cases block your guys from attacking any still-living foes stood behind the carcass. Other, apparently difficulty-hiking features (such as heart attacks) also came under fire.
In a game which heaps upon your heroes an unrelenting onslaught of misfortunes including bleeding, starvation, blight, phobias, fetishes, curses, traps and addictions (not to mention straight-up murder at the hands of various monsters and malcontents), this latest cruelty seemed one too many. The volume of complaints eventually caused the developers to add an option for players to deactivate corpses and heart attacks. Curious as to whether this was a case of knee-jerk internet pitchforks at dawn or the developers having made a bona fide boo-boo, I descended back into the Darkest Dungeon to sample its latest horrors for myself.