Title: Darkest Dungeon: The Shieldbreaker (DLC)
Available On: PC, PlayStation 4, Linux, Mac
Developer: Red Hook Studios
Publisher: Red Hook Studios
Genre: RPG, Roguelike, Strategy
Official Site: https://www.darkestdungeon.com/the-shieldbreaker/
Release Date: October 26, 2017
Where to Buy: Steam
After the massive DLC release of The Crimson Court, I was a bit surprised with the newest update for Darkest Dungeon. The Shieldbreaker DLC is very small in scope, with a price to match. A new class (that, honestly, fills a much needed weak point in the Darkest Dungeon character lineup), along with a few new monsters and trinkets, will set you back four dollars. They are solid additions to the game, but a bit underwhelming.
The big addition of the DLC is a brand new class, the titular Shieldbreaker. The design of the character is very cool: the Shieldbreaker looks like a desert warrior and fights with a shield and spear. She has a lot of movement options, some powerful status effects, and, most importantly, can break and ignore armor and protection. This helps her clear out those big, beefy monsters that stalk the corridors of Darkest Dungeon. In return, she has low health. She is a very strategic character and carries a high-risk, high-reward feel to her.
Besides the new character, a handful of other new encounters accompany this DLC release. Three snake-themed monsters from the Shieldbreaker’s past enter the dungeon. A new trinket set that can boost the Shieldbreaker’s abilities is available to collect. And a new consumable that gives a desperation defensive boost to a hero, the Aegis Scale, can now be collected.
Overall, everything is a solid addition to Darkest Dungeon, but it feels a bit odd that it is a $4 DLC. It is accompanied by a free update that adds several quality of life additions to the game. There is nothing game changing like the Crimson Court DLC or even the big Radiant update that will drag you back into the depths.
An especially strange choice is that, alongside this DLC, an update that changes some of the core complaints with Darkest Dungeon was released for free. It is no longer necessary to alt-tab out of your game to find which items will give you benefits from certain curios. Once you have tested an item once, a small icon will start appearing below it to remind you of the effect it has. This really keeps the game flowing better than having to jump out whenever your party encounters a non-obvious curio.
Besides that, the free update also adds a brand new mechanic: stealth. Stealthed enemies cannot be attacked directly – they can only be targeted by area of effect abilities or special abilities that bypass stealth. Yet another way to drive you insane as you delve through Darkest Dungeon.
Verdict: Overall, there is nothing wrong with The Shieldbreaker. It just comes across as very underwhelming. If you are already done with Darkest Dungeon, nothing here is going to bring you back into the fold. With the amount of content available through the Steam Workshop, paying $4 for a character class seems a bit out of touch. However, if you still regularly explore the world of Darkest Dungeon, you’ll probably want to pick it up. Future balance patches will probably take it into account.
- Interesting new class
- Well designed
- Not a game changer