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Just regular dark: Darkest Dungeon getting shorter mode

Dark Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon [official site] is the year's best dungeon crawler, sez we, but I must confess I find it a bit of a grind at times. So, good news: developers Red Hook Studios have announced plans for a mode which won't necessarily be easier but will cut the game's length down from 80-ish hours to around 40. They've also revealed a smidgen more of its upcoming vampiric DLC, The Crimson Court, by showing off the grizzled vampire hunter who may well come after your party. Lovely! All this plus details on yesterday's patch (controller support!) below.

The shorter 'Radiant' mode will be added in a future update. Here's Red Hook to explain what Radiant is and why:

"One of the most common critiques of the game is that the significant length to completion (approximately 80+ hrs on average, though this varies widely) can lead to some players abandoning their campaigns, especially after a particularly nasty party-wipe with a valuable trinket loadout. Game length also exacerbates some of the grindier elements of the game's design. While a portion of this endurance test is simply Darkest Dungeon as we intend it, we also would love for more players to be able to see the story through. So, we are planning an alternative game mode (RADIANT), which will have balance changes and rule tweaks aimed at bringing the completion time down to approximately 40 hours. Rest assured that even in this alternate campaign ruleset, we won’t be compromising on some of the core ideas that make DD what it is (e.g. permadeath, autosaving). However, we will flex here and there on some things and generally structure it so that a reasonable investment of time and effort can see things through to the deepest parts of the Ancestor’s trail. This also paves the way for additional modability, via exposing more options."

That sounds good, that. I'm near the end of a Darkest Dungeon campaign myself and yes, have become a bit bored of grind. I'm not crushed and I'm not angry but I am sick of rebuilding my lineup and inventory after disasters. I like the difficulty and accept smitings from RNGesus but the grind is simply dull. I might give Radiant a go once I'm done with this (and once the update arrives).

Conversely, if you want it tougher, hey, Red Hook tease they're planning to beef New Game+ mode up a bit in the future.

Darkest Dungeon's first paid expansion, The Crimson Court, will arrive in early 2017 and Red Hook have recently revealed its take on vampire hunters. Rather than a traditional Van Helsing-y figure with a big hat, The Fanatic is a flipping furious godman ↑ with a honking great hammer. And no, he's not necessarily on your side. Red Hook say:

"The Fanatic will mercilessly hunt parties whose members are infected with the Crimson Curse, burning them at the stake, or smithing them with righteous fury!"

Killscreen took a long look at The Fanatic recently, if you're interested. I'm still really into the mosquito-ish look of its bloodsuckers.

That's all in the future, though. In the present, we've just received a fairly big Darkest Dungeon update porting over features and tweaks from the recent console releases. This means DD now supports gamepads (PS4 icons for now, with Xbox to follow), has picked up three new trinkets, and has a few fixes and balance tweaks too. Check out the patch notes for all that.

I'm sorry to see the Highwayman's Riposte powered down a little. I mean, sure, my funtime party lineup of three Riposte Highwaymen and one Jester was clearly cheesing it, but I did quite like having a team who could look gloriously skilled dancing and dodging between blows then utterly collapse when one big hit landed.

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Darkest Dungeon

PS4, PlayStation Vita, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch

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Alice O'Connor avatar

Alice O'Connor

Associate Editor

Alice has been playing video games since SkiFree and writing about them since 2009, with nine years at RPS. She enjoys immersive sims, roguelikelikes, chunky revolvers, weird little spooky indies, mods, walking simulators, and finding joy in details. Alice lives, swims, and cycles in Scotland.