“Remind yourself that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer.”
All it takes is seeing one a single quote from the Ancestor in Darkest Dungeon, and I’ve instantly got his voice booming in the back of my mind. I suppose it’s quite fitting for a roguelike RPG based on lovecraftian horror to still hear voices after you turn it off.
The gothic roguelike has some of my favourite ever voice acting, all done by this Ancestor, who acts as the narrator for almost every move you make. Sometimes it’s simple quips and one-offs each night you arrive at the Hamlet, others it’s thundering interjections in the heat of battle. Though, often the best quotes are the ones that don’t make an awful lot of sense for the action you’re doing to prompt it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve clicked on a unlit torch, only for the Ancestor to get over-excited and start spouting nonsense about “trinkets and baubles”, when in reality the loot I got from that was, well, a torch.
While the one-offs are all great, there’s something special about the storytelling, too. During the loading screens for quests to kill the game’s big bad eldritch bosses, the Ancestor will regale you how these beasts wormed their way into his estate. These tales make you feel like a real hero, going into these deep dark places to be the light amongst all the evil.
But as the quests go on, you can detect that something isn’t right about these stories. It’s just what he says, but the way he says it. Is there a hint of smugness towards these creatures’ ill-fate? A certain disregard, perhaps, for the mistakes he’s made. But then, before you have a chance to really consider his words, you’re plunged once more into a dungeon, racing against the dying light of your torches to complete your mission.
“Success so clearly in view… or is it merely a trick of the light?”