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Darkest Dungeon 2 leaves early access and launches on Steam in May

Welcome home, such as it is.

Darkest Dungeon 2 - developer Red Hook Studios' deliciously bleak rogue-like RPG sequel - leaves early access on 8th May, arriving on Steam the same day.

Darkest Dungeon 2 launched into early access back in October 2021, but sidestepped a Steam release in favour of Epic Games Store exclusivity throughout its journey toward version 1.0. As Red Hook previously explained though, that exclusivity ends with Darkest Dungeon 2's full release, meaning it'll soon be creeping onto Valve's platform.

And if you haven't been following Darkest Dungeon 2's last year and a half of development, you may be wondering what changes this sequel brings. Chief of these (other than its shift to full 3D) is a new structure described by Red Hook as a "grim turn-based roadtrip" across five regions.

Darkest Dungeon 2 - Early Access Trailer.Watch on YouTube

This time, you see, players progress by steering a stagecoach - filled with whatever miserable party of survivors they've assembled for the current run - down ominous lanes, picking routes as the track forks and halting at roadside stops to make use of local amenities or experience whatever grim events and turn-based combat encounters may be in store.

Strategic wrinkles include the plentiful boons, buffs, and upgrades available via the new Altar of Hope system, and each of Darkest Dungeon 2's dozen heroes can be augmented with skills and items. Additionally, the original game's Affinity system returns, forcing players to manage their party's relationships and psychological wellbeing, lest the current run is ruined by dysfunction.

Eurogamer's Robert Purchese enjoyed Darkest Dungeon 2's new outlook a lot when he investigated its early access release in 2021, and Red Hook has made numerous significant changes to that initial core as development has gone on.

Curious players can download a Darkest Dungeon 2 demo on Epic and Steam right now, giving access to two of its five regions (Sprawl and Foetor) and four starting heroes. Progress isn't save between attempts and only one region can be experienced per run.

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