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"We should make some DLC for Darkest Dungeon, and we should really ratchet up the difficulty" is an odd thing to decide, in my opinion, given how challenging the core game already is. In fact, the only decision that would have been stranger would have been to tone down the difficulty, alienating all the fans and getting rid of the central premise of the game altogether. 

I'm not one for suspense, as you may know. So yes - the Crimson Court DLC for Darkest Dungeon adds a new adventure area that recommends you only attempt it with experienced parties of adventurers. And that's a fair point, as the adventures tend to go on a little longer than the base introductory adventures of the other areas. Oh, and each attack has a chance of turning your guys into vampires.

Let's clarify that. Sure, once in a while, vampirism (or the "crimson curse", to give it the Darkest Dungeon name) causes a few small positives for your adventurers (occasionally, they can get a bit more dangerous in combat), along with a whole host of negatives, including increased stress for everyone around them (naturally, as this is Darkest Dungeon) and increased micromanagement for you the player, making sure that your infected guys get the blood they need (provided in loot drops). Personally, I found that particularly with low-level characters, life was much easier just firing them from the roster once you get back to town and going back to a simpler, non-infected group. And I am reviewing it! That's right. Probably the main draw of the entire DLC, I found it easiest to deal with by simply making it go away in an anticlimactic way. See, the Crimson Court brings a lot of new features to the game - certainly enough to be in a suitable "features-per-dollar" category so that you won't feel ripped off, but ultimately, this comes down to a matter of philosophy. Darkest Dungeon buffets you left, right and centre, as we all know. Every tiny victory is supposed to feel like an immense celebration, and it does. But every loss can feel like more of a bloody blow this time. While you're struggling through the Crimson Court, one heavy blow from an enemy scrub can essentially cripple your top hero in ways that require drudgery and annoyance.

This is the pivotal point with Crimson Court, which is, in fact, the fulcrum upon which enjoyment of the entire Darkest Dungeon game is based. Is all of this meanness and cruelty that you as the player have to endure, is all of this fun, or ultimately frustration and annoyance? Does DD's legendary difficulty need another layer of unfairness dolloped on top, or would it benefit more from features which, while not reducing the difficulty, add dimensions to the strategic and tactical aspects of the thing?

The answer to this question is really up to you, the player. Certainly, there is plenty of new strategic content as well as the meanness. The new character class, the flagellant, fits the feel of the game perfectly. It's always seemed that the new characters who arrive on the coach must have some kind of masochistic death wish, and now here's a guy who is open about it. The closer he is to death, the more effective he is at fighting back, and all of those 1 health heals to bring him back from death's door are all the more useful with this guy. Mainly, though, he just fits so perfectly into the feel and style of the thing that it's hard to believe he wasn't a core character class.

Ways to spend heirlooms in the late game were a problem point raised by the community after Darkest Dungeon came out, and the introduction of districts in Crimson Court goes a long way toward fixing that. Districts are new buildings that can be built with a horribly large pile of heirlooms (measuring in the hundreds) and one of the rare new blueprint items, and generally benefit one character class at a time, allowing interesting new abilities and tactical choices. Bosses have always been one of the strong points in Darkest Dungeon, and there are now a load of new ones that need to be tackled in sometimes complicated ways in order to finesse properly. I particularly like the mental vampire hunter who causes you to question 'who are the real good guys and who are the real bad guys?'

But now, we're back to my central question. Torchlight is one of the things you've grown used to in DD, but in the Crimson Court, it's more-or-less replaced with a new system that causes stress over time, among other things. Sure, some of these other things can be interesting strategically, particularly when you have a load of vampires in your party, but ultimately, it's just another smack in the face. Once the Crimson Court opens, freaky fly things come out and into Hamlet, reducing the effectiveness of your stress reducing buildings. Another slap. So it's the final feature that I think is the saving grace for Crimson Court - the ability to select which of the features of the game you want to be applied.

If all of this added bullying isn't to your taste, you can just get the new districts and the new character, for instance, so it's not an 'all-or-nothing' affair, and it's this level of customisation that I feel saves Crimson Court from being perhaps just one vampiric bite too far.