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You were right to fear the world. It has gone mad. The gutters brim with poets, and decency lies burning in the street. But this is not a time for heroes. Look instead to those battered souls who have known fear and failure in ample portion, but rise again to reclaim a glimmer of hope from the spreading stain of the Darkest Dungeon.
~ The Narrator, "A Glimmer of Hope"

Darkest Dungeon II is the sequel to Darkest Dungeon. The game was revealed on February 19, 2019 with a teaser titled "The Howling End".[2] It launched on the Epic Games Store in early access on October 26, 2021. With Wayne June reprising his role as the Narrator, the RPG combat gameplay of Darkest Dungeon will return in a "tuned-up" form, and the metagame will feature a "completely different" structure involving a "grueling journey" instead of dungeon-delving in a single locale.[3]


Setting[]

Ruin has found you at last. My protege - my friend - our calculations were correct: the ephemeral equation is unbalanced. The earth spins on a strange and terrifying new axis, and everywhere... unbridled consequence. The world is a wasteland of failures past, and yet you must ride out into it, unafraid. Take this - it is Hope. The very last of it. It is yours now. You were bold once. Be bold once more. Free yourself from this suffocating stillness, fix your gaze on the horizon, and face the fearsome truth... of the Darkest Dungeon.
~ The Narrator

Following the events of Darkest Dungeon, the corruption defeated at the Estate is found to be only a symptom of a far greater evil that is already on the verge of ending the world. As madness consumes everyone, and apocalyptic cults and monsters spread chaos and decadence, the player and their party of heroes must journey to a distant, foreboding mountain with the last flame of Hope to avert disaster.

Gameplay[]

Darkest Dungeon II features significant gameplay changes from its predecessor.

Confessions[]

I hereby acknowledge and accept the fullness and severity of my mistakes.
~ "Complete your Confession" choice prompt

The game's story is divided into five acts, or "Confessions", with each one consisting of a single full playthrough. The chosen Confession determines which boss the player will confront once they reach The Mountain. The player can select which Confession to play at the beginning of a playthrough, and also replay previous Confessions.

During early access, Confessions will be made available one at a time as development of the game proceeds to the full launch.

  1. Denial - The shackles of denial must. be. destroyed.
  2.  ???
  3.  ???
  4.  ???
  5.  ???

Travel[]

The player is tasked by their mentor, The Academic, with traveling to The Mountain and defeating the source of evil there. This journey takes the player and a party of four heroes across a kingdom fallen to ruin and chaos. The party's means of transport is The Stagecoach, and they are protected from the evil presence by The Flame, which must be kept lit. Certain actions and encounters, such as winning a battle, can cause The Flame to wax or wane, affecting the party's safety and sanity. Once it is extinguished, the party is attacked by a group of deadly cultists. Surviving the cultist ambush will restore The Flame to its weakest state, giving the party one last chance to finish the journey.

The journey itself is divided into multiple routes, always beginning with The Valley, a tutorial segment, and always ending with The Mountain. The regions that the party travels in between can be chosen by the player at The Inn, the safe haven that marks the endpoint of each route. Random modifiers, layouts, and goals mean that no trip through a region is exactly the same. For example, during one passage of The Sprawl, the party may be granted extra rewards, while during another, they may be required to avoid a specific encounter, such as a mini-boss, or suffer severe consequences. It is possible to avoid combat situations, but this can leave the party unprepared for the final boss.

Combat[]

The player selects the four members of their party at The Crossroads at the start of each playthrough. At The Inn, the player may have the chance to recruit a new or replacement hero, but the party's number can never exceed four. At first, only four heroes are available, but as more playthroughs are completed, the player's Profile Level will increase, unlocking new heroes for later playthroughs.

A new aspect of party management is relationships, which complements stress. Over the course of the journey, the heroes will interact with each other in different ways, building a rapport and perhaps romance, or fostering rivalry and hatred. Positive affinity between heroes can grant boons in battle, while negative relationships can cause distractions, mistakes, and more stress. Should a hero's stress meter max out, they will experience a meltdown, reducing them to a single health point and inflicting stress on the rest of the party, but also resetting relationships with other heroes. Player actions, such as choosing who to heal, influence relationships and stress.

Heroes' abilities are now dependent on skills instead of armor and weapons. Skills can be upgraded by the Mastery Trainer at every Inn.

In battle, gameplay no longer includes any Accuracy component, but turn order, speed, HP, and status effects remain. Hits are guaranteed unless the enemy has a special trait token that allows them to dodge or block. Dodgy enemies can avoid attacks, while blocking enemies will still be hit, but receive only half damage. Other tokens include Bleed, Blind, Blight, Burn, and Immobilize. These tokens represent certain effects, in contrast with the buff and debuff system of the previous game.

Heroes must equip Provisions outside of combat in order to use them. Trinkets can still be collected, but are not persistent across playthroughs, meaning any Trinkets obtained are lost upon party death or playthrough victory.

Heroes[]

Enemies[]

The game features various new and returning enemies. Each region that the party ventures through features a different enemy faction, such as the Plague Eaters, who are found in The Foetor. Enemies are also randomly encountered during road travel sequences, where unique encounters can occur.

Development[]

In the howling darkness of the end, men will become monsters. But hope will ride with those courageous enough to carry the flame.
~ The Narrator, "The Howling End"

Darkest Dungeon II was first announced as a direct sequel to Darkest Dungeon with a teaser trailer narrated by Wayne June in his role as the Narrator on February 19, 2019.[3] Eight hero classes from the original game were confirmed to be returning: Grave Robber, Hellion, Highwayman, Leper, Man-at-Arms, Occultist, Jester, and Plague Doctor, as well as a new introduced ninth hero: the Runaway.[3][4] Red Hook Studios also revealed that whereas Darkest Dungeon had taken place at one main location, the Narrator's Estate, the sequel would involve a "grueling journey" in which players would get to see the "supernatural apocalypse twisting and distorting the world beyond the estate".[3]

For its work on Darkest Dungeon II, Red Hook Studios expanded considerably from the 5 full-time developers who created Darkest Dungeon. At the time of the sequel's announcement in February 2019, Red Hook had increased to 14 employees, and had plans to hire another 6 over the next 18 months. The studio also confirmed that it would likely launch the game in Early Access, just as they did with the first game. The reception of the game early on would determine how much additional resources and features Red Hook would put into the project.[3]

Red Hook Studios remained silent about the game until March 5, 2020, when they confirmed via Twitter that they had been making substantial progress with Darkest Dungeon II, and more news would be shared "when the stars are right".[5]

On October 21, 2020, Red Hook Studios announced that Darkest Dungeon II would be releasing in early access in 2021 on the Epic Game Store. The announcement was accompanied by the reveal of the game's logo, a second teaser titled "A Glimmer of Hope", and confirmation that characters in the game would be rendered in 3D models using the Unity engine.[6]

Starting from late May of 2021, Red Hook Studios began sharing much more information about the game, releasing the first in-game screenshots and gameplay details in an article for PC Gamer magazine, and following with multiple articles and interviews with other new outlets, eventually culminating in the reveal of the new playable hero for Early Access launch, the Runaway, featured in Game Informer magazine.[4][7]

Darkest Dungeon II launched in early access on the Epic Game Store on October 26, 2021 for $29.99. It sold 100,000 copies within 24 hours.[8]

System requirements[]

The following are the system requirements for Standard Edition:

Minimum Recommended
OS Windows 10 Windows 10
Memory 8 GB RAM 16 GB RAM
Graphics Nvidia GTX 950 / AMD R7 370 Nvidia GTX 950 / AMD R7 370
Storage 6 GB available space 10 GB available space
Notes 1080p, 16:9 recommended 1080p, 16:9 recommended

Trivia[]

  • The Crusader's helmet can be found on the cover of the article for PC Gamer magazine[9], implying that the hero won't return for the second game. It was later confirmed that the Crusader would not be one of the game's initial set of 9 Heroes.
  • The Caretaker from the original game is making a return as The Hoarder, one of the many shopkeepers in the game. He appears to have looted the entire Estate on his way out, judging from the visible busts and portraits lashed to his enormous knapsack.

References[]

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