Darkest Dungeon Crimson Court adds a sparkley polish to an already spectacular game a cherry on top that sweetens the deal and proves as motivation to dive back in and test your resolve, trigger your masochism and face the overwhelming existential dread looming over you as you play and realize that every single party member only serves to die when the game decides it’s their time to die and there is nothing you can do about it… And I love it.
Crimson Court wraps is my favorite type of DLC; one that wraps itself around the vanilla game and expands on the base gameplay rather than serving as a separate entity to be enjoyed away from the base game. Adding new mechanics, items, a new hero class and a unique new area that I was excited to go back to and lose my sanity over and over again. It’s worth noting that I fell in love with the base game of Darkest Dungeon even though turn based combat isn’t usually my kind of vibe, I often find it way too slow and boring and never challenging enough but Darkest Dungeon is unique in it’s not afraid to punish you with horrific RNG, making all the more satisfying when a strategy or the dice rolls in your favour it’s absolutely addictive.
The biggest addition in the DLC is an all new epic size dungeon for you to explore with new enemies and a unique torch mechanic shaking things up and brining new meaning to otherwise ignored provisions. I call it the biggest addition but I am actually torn on that since all of the additions to the game fit wonderfully into the vanilla experience and I found myself interacting with the new content without even seeking it out more than I thought I would and that just made me ecstatic. The Courtyard was a blast to explore through, trudging through a ridiculously sized dungeon facing off with horrid blood drawing enemies and interacting with new curio, getting lost in the long winding corridors and coming against dead ends. An absolute blast to explore and see what you can loot and kill and see what terrible creature will kill your favorite guy may be waiting around the corner. Right off the bat during the first mission I was surprised by a new boss that I wasn’t expecting at all and that I fought and overcame only just, making me feel like I had overcome insane odds and come out on top. Only to walk into the next room and have deaths door triggered on one of my remaining two party members instantly crushing my cocky confidence after defeating a boss and sending me into retreat full of despair. But that is the main charm of Darkest Dungeon in the first place and I wouldn’t have it any other way, just proving that sexy narrator voice correct as I reminded myself that overconfidence is indeed a slow and insidious killer.
Outside of the new area the DLC adds new global enemies that can spawn in any dungeon adding more variance to the entire game, a unique take on vampires that I haven’t seen before myself where they are actually like a bunch of parasitic mosquitoes that morph otherwise normal people into horrible bloodsucking insects, inflicting bleed, abusing your sanity and inflicting your own party members with a vampire like state called the “crimson curse”, a permanent disease that cannot be cleared as far as I know taht gives your hero small debuffs while it is in its passive state, but left unchecked too long will evolve into greater debuffs as your hero craves blood, left too long it can even kill a character outright. The blood is a new item added which when given to a hero that is craving will morph the crimson curse debuff into an impressive buff giving you +25% damage among other things, but making the hero unpredictable as they are in a blood-lust state potentially not listening to commands, attacking whatever they want with whatever ability they want, including damaging your own party or abusing someone and hitting their sanity, leading to either massive slaps of damage or enraging unfortunate events leading to your own downfall.
The flagellant is the new hero class added in the DLC a DPS powerhouse with unique traits and skills, well suited to the Warrens or the new courtyard dungeons as they often have enemies weak to bleed. Intimidating at first he is well worth learning how to use and taking him into a dungeon with enemies weak to bleed never failed to put a smile on my face. Slapping enemies with massive bleed nukes or taking down bosses with a 14/round damage bleed feels amazing every time, with abilities that can nuke heal himself and a party member for 50% health each or smack a massive bleed on a single enemy, but either move can only be used when he is below 50% health, a high risk high reward class that is barrels of fun to use. He also has secret unique buffs that he gets while on death’s door or his own state of affliction that buffs his damage and such.
The Crimson Court DLC only adds to the already amazing experience that is playing Darkest Dungeon and expands in ways that bleed into the vanilla experience so you can play with the DLC elements naturally as you progress through the game, this is my favorite way to incorporate DLC and scores massive points from me if you can manage to do it right which fortunately Red Hook Studios have managed to do.
The Crimson Court DLC scores a 9/10 from me, it’s really hard to fault but there are some frustrating balance choices that can snowball poor RNG rolls to really ruin your day, but I would still wholeheartedly recommend picking up the DLC if you are a fan at all of Darkest Dungeon or even if you are just considering trying out the game for the first time, it is absolutely worth picking up.