Darkest Dungeon launches shorter ‘Radiant’ mode

‘Radiant’ mode has arrived in Darkest Dungeon [official site], offering a shorter — but not necessarily easier — crawl through the deadly depths. The new difficulty mode removes a lot of grind by boosting XP and cutting gold costs, but your troops will still certainly be at risk of losing their minds when they get spooked by a skellington or booed by a ghoost. Or, if you’re a bad enough dude, the ultra-hard mode is now even harder. And for everyone, four new monsters have been added and a lot’s been tweaked and rebalanced. This is a cracking update!

As the patch notes say:

“Radiant Mode is a version of the game that is intended to take less time overall to complete than normal (‘Darkest’) mode. The mode is still challenging–monsters have the same stats and nothing about permadeath has changed. But some gameplay rules have been flexed or altered in ways that reduce some of the more time consuming mid and late game elements.”

A lot of them boil down to: if you lose a decent hero, you’ll be able to replace them quicker. Developers Red Hook Studios have said Radiant mode was intended to cut completion time from 80 hours to about 40. Peep those notes to see quite how it works.

I am surprised by how much else has changed with this update. Four new enemies are now roaming Champion-level Dungeons (the Bone Bearer, Swine Skiver, Hateful Virago, and Squiffy Ghast), new town events are in, the economy is rebalanced to reduce the gold drought in the mid-game onwards, the Stagecoach is less RNG-y… lots of good stuff. Do read the notes for the full story.

Darkest Dungeon is half-price for a few days to celebrate this launch, down to £9.49/11,49€/$12.49.

The next big thing on the Darkest horizon is its first major expansion, Crimson Court. It’ll be all about v-v-vampires! Red Hook do plan to keep tweaking the base game, mind, planning a balance pass over trinkets and hero skills next.

In case you missed it, I’ll again point out The Mechanic’s recent look at Darkest Dungeon.


  1. Seafoam says:

    Does anyone know if you still need to beat all the bosses 3 times?
    I loved darkest dungeon, but I stopped playing it after losing a fuckton of amazing heroes and I would still had to do most of the bosses again 1 or 2 times.
    Even if there’s a strange, masochistic joy to playing and failing in Darkest Dungeon, not a single masochist enjoys the same pain for 3 days straight. For reasons that it’s just too much and gets quite boring.

    • Hieronymusgoa says:

      somebody told me recently that you never had to actually beat them, it just seems that way bc of the “quests”. i was annoyed by many of the bosses, too, because to me it seemed like they are just really hard and you don’t get anything worth it out of killing them.

      i played the game for some time but will try again with the radiant mode. perhaps then i manage to beat it finally before giving up again :)

      • Coming Second says:

        The darkest dungeons are always open, so feasibly you can always attempt them. Beating the bosses opens up more quests, and beating their final iterations gives you powerful, downside-less trinkets which are invaluable for the final quests.

        For me, an intuitive way that the game could have been made far less grindy is to have the primary bosses (Necromancer, Hag et al) show up at beginner level only, the secondary bosses (Prophet, Cannon et al) show up at intermediate level only, and then all of them at champion level. Having to do them all three times is a massive and pointless burden.

        • Hieronymusgoa says:

          i would be very happy to play that version of yours :) good point

  2. Benratha says:

    Ooh, shiny!
    Unfortunately (or even fortunately), the word ‘radiant’ still conjures the ‘suits you sir’ sketches from the Fast Show :-)

  3. Barts says:

    My game of the year 2016 and I still play it! Glad to know that devs keep pumping updates and DLC is coming!

    How quickly the tide turns

    Noooo, not again! Hate this game, hate it, hateithateit!! Argh.

    Okay, maybe one more try…

  4. Catchcart says:

    That took pen and paper and some google-fu but I’m now proficient in Scottish. Thanks, Alice.

  5. Lassypo says:

    It *sorely* needed this mode. I tried playing it before but it turned into such a grind so very quickly, even though the core concept and atmosphere was beautiful.

    I’ll actually go back to it now, I think.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Agreed. Loved the concept when it first came out, realized very quickly that it was going to be incredibly time consuming. And that was before there was even that much content!

      I think I would be more patient in my early teens, just don’t have the time these days.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      If they make a Radiant Radiant Mode that lasts like 8-12 hours I might finally finish it. It found it very cute for a while but rapidly a dispiriting, tiresome grind, and I had no idea it could go on for fourty hours, never mind eighty.

  6. Gothnak says:

    I’m sure i’ve missed it in the main text of this article, but the game just announced 50% off on Steam, i assumed that was why this was posted.

    • Coming Second says:

      I assume it was posted because it received the major update the article details yesterday. One might further assume it went on sale to promote said major update.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      I hadn’t even noticed the sale; it’s the update that interested me.

      I’ve added a mention of the discount, thanks for the… snippy remark?

      • Gothnak says:

        The power of snippy text. All i meant was that i got an email saying it was on sale and then i went on RPS and there was an article, i assumed it was linked, i was wrong :).

  7. Ergonomic Cat says:

    So I just picked it up. Should I start with Radiant mode, or do the normal mode first?

    • Coming Second says:

      I’d go for Radiant mode, deffo. It doesn’t skimp any of the toughness and depth that make the game, but makes progress feel a hell of a lot more achievable.