The Color of Madness, Darkest Dungeon’s latest expansion is the perfect excuse to enter the depths of the treacherous estate once more. After dealing with a vampiric curse in The Crimson Dawn and fighting against a serpent past in The Shieldbreaker, this DLC brings a whole different way of facing enemies, and the possibility of bringing adventures back to life, for starters.
An alien comet arrived from the sky right onto Miller’s farm, just outside the Hamlet, opening a new location for us to explore. What’s in there, you wonder? Well, an unknown shard within the object changed the farmers and everything that was nearby the zone. Once more, you’ll be in charge of choosing which brave warriors will venture to explore and face this new evil, now in an Endless Mode that has you facing enemy waves (both old and new) getting closer to the crash site with each victory.
Combat is one of the core systems of Darkest Dungeon, but you always had the chance to resupply in between combat rooms and random encounters. But in Endless Mode, it’s all about facing wave after wave of unknown enemies, and quickly alters the game’s pace almost completely. The characters you choose and how far you’re willing to go into Miller’s Farm to end this new disease rely on your shoulders.
There are tons of additional micro-additions to the core game. For starters, the shards from the comet itself become a new currency in the game, and most of the new town events and exclusive trinkets from the Jeweler can only be interacted with by using them. Of course, in order to obtain shards, you’ll have to get your hands dirty and survive for as long as you can in Endless Mode. Luckily for your characters, there are a number of new Curios to help you stand your ground in between waves.
As it happened during my previous hours with the game, I barely invested time and attention into the Districts system, but there are four new ones with the DLC for those interested. And, as usual, the new bosses (The Miller, The Thing From the Stars, and the Comet) ended with the life of some of my most beloved characters. Thanks, Red Hook Studios.
Similar to what happens in The Crimson Court, the whole game is affected by this new content, but in a more friendly manner. While the vampiric disease would affect your characters both inside and outside the new region, infecting them with a starve for blood that could only be cured in specific ways, the Comet is way less hostile. You can easily start a new game and jump onto the new content without feeling extremely overwhelmed, but I’d highly recommend for you to spend some time levelling your characters beforehand.
But beware, as there is a new affliction in the game that can turn your brave adventurers in a Refracted status, which yet again functions differently from the other afflictions. The affected character will be able to hit enemies that are cloaked in Stealth for being in a different place than the rest of your party. Once they receive a killing blow, for example, they’ll get lost in a different reality and return to your roster after a certain amount of time. It’s pretty bonkers.
What has surprised me the most since the early days of Darkest Dungeon, and all the way through The Color of Madness is the artistic ability to reinvent themselves every single time without losing their core essence. The enemy designs are extremely detailed, showcasing the horrors within from the now lifeless farmers and horses that were unfortunate to be in the zone when the comet hit the ground.
The soundtrack is once more one of the highlights of the game, with new additions that will turn each battle into an endless loop of war that never gets tiring. Oh, and the narrator also has a few more lines that also maintain the past essence.
Darkest Dungeon’s The Color of Madness is one of the biggest additions to the game so far. It’s uncertain of whether Red Hook Studios will release even more content in the future, at least for the time being while working in new projects, but this DLC is one of the strongest farewells we could have asked for.
A copy of The Color of Madness for PC was provided by Red Hook Studios for review purposes. Make sure to visit the official site for more information.