Set in a fantasy rendition of the Lovecraftian mythos, Darkest Dungeon is yet another Kickstarter game to finally hit Steam in its “Early Access” form. As I already mentioned in a previous post, approaching a game published under Steam’s “Early Access” program is something that inevitably ends up feeling a bit awkward. While changes between the “Early Access” product and the final release rarely alter the design in particularly deep ways, the implication that what we are playing is still a “draft”, a work in progress, is enough to muddle any critical way the game could be approached through. That’s why, while writing about Darkest Dungeon, I take a bit of solace in this passage from the early access “warning” on the Steam page for the game
“How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version? For the full release, we are planning to add more dungeon environments (one of which is the Darkest Dungeon), more character classes, story mode completion, additional monsters, items, quirks, narration, and dialogue. We also have reserved some time to add other new features and make changes based upon player feedback!”
While the concept of “player feedback changes” is still looming up there, the Early Access seems to be focusing just on adding content, meaning that I can safely write about anything that’s not “lack of content” while being reasonably sure that what I write won’t become outdated in two weeks (which I admit, is also a bit hypocritical on my part, "I really hope this game I didn't quite like doesn't get reworked into something that I can appreciate more, so that my shitty writing about it can remain relevant").