Darksburg is a top-down cooperative zombie survival game from Shiro Games that is currently in Early Access on Steam. Now, I’m a fan of top-down games, with my favorites being the now-defunct Marvel Heroes along with Diablo and Path of Exile. However, what caught my attention in Darksburg early access was that it reminded me of Left 4 Dead with its various “zombie” classes and horde mechanic.
Darksburg takes place in what seems like an old alternate version of Victorian England, where a zombie outbreak has occurred and it’s up to a band of four unique heroes. Rose, the sharpshooter who’s accompanied by her companion named Twig and a large crossbow, Runolf a dwarf who carries a giant spoon, Sister Abigail a Nun with a really big cross, and Varag a Werewolf with a shield. Each hero has their own unique playing style, passive skill, and active skills, with one being an ultimate skill. There is a road map in place that mentions that there will be two more heroes added to the game, but those are slated to come later this year, along with some new maps.
The player is tasked with various objectives to complete on four different maps: the city of Faubourg, the Harbour, the lively Marketplace, and the Graveyard which is currently locked at the time of writing this article. You also have four difficulties to play on: Discovery, which is easy, Normal, Hard, and Nightmare being the hardest. As you complete the objectives you will encounter large waves of zombies each with varying abilities from leaping to throwing spears. You will also come across special zombies called Revenants that are reminiscent of the special zombies in Left 4 Dead. You have the hulking Brute, the ranged Fishmonger, the Damage of Time Burning Witch, the status-inducing Ravenmaster, and the binding Executioner to contend with as well a randomly appearing Baron that all provide unique challenges while on your mission.
As you play through the levels and whether you’re successful at completing your tasks or succumbing to the hordes, you will earn experience and gold based on how well your team does. Also, in the post-match screen, you can see character stats to compare how well you did to your other team members. Now, if the “story-esque” style mode isn’t for you, Darksburg early access offers two other modes to play, PvP and Horde. In PvP, one team plays as the heroes and the other team plays the Revenants. The objective is to wipe out the other team first to secure the victory. If that’s not your thing but just want to test your mettle, then the Horde mode is right up your alley, where you and three others will fight waves of enemies until you’re eventually overrun.
Though I compared Darksburg early access to the iconic game Left 4 Dead, there are some issues that I’ve come across in the game. For one, the default movement settings in Darksburg early access is click to move. You can change it in the settings, but the fact that they decided to not have the “WASD” control scheme defaulted was weird. Also, there were a lot of collision issues, as there were times you could get around some zombies and then there were times you couldn’t and would be overrun by a horde.
The damage the heroes could deal seemed very lacking especially when you need to withstand a horde of zombies encroaching upon your location. When caught, each character can use a get out skill, such as Rose’s somersault or Varag’s pounce, but when you end up landing and the horde is still around, you’re quickly wiped out. Even though you can be revived from a downed state, or if you bleed out can be resurrected via an outhouse, this still poses a very big issue. Now I don’t think the heroes’ damage should be dialed up to 11, but it would be nice to be able to have base damage feel more impactful especially when zombies can do more damage to you than you can to them.
After playing this game, I can say this game has quite a bit of potential and I will be following this game as it continues throughout its Early Access, but as of right now it’s not a game I can truly say was a highly enjoyable experience. I spent more time frustrated with zombies taking me down faster than I could enjoy slaughtering them and that’s something that needs to be addressed.
Overall, Darksburg early access is a cool take on the co-op survival genre. I can see the fun in the game, it’s just that right now I can’t dive into it. The game has many options to make it viable for both the casual and hardcore gamer, but we’ll see how it goes heading into the latter half of the year.
You can pick up Darksburg now on Steam for $19.99 now.