Darkest Dungeon 2

Posted:  May 14, 2023
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Darkest Dungeon 2 was provided by Red Hook Studios for review. Thank you!

Disclaimer: Red Hook Studios, the developers of Darkest Dungeon 2, have stated that official Steam Deck support is in the works. This review is a reflection of the current state of the game and will be updated once official support is implemented.

The follow-up to the incredible, brutal roguelike has been released on Steam to torment us further. Darkest Dungeon 2 takes the game to a new level, adding in 3D models while retaining their signature 2D aesthetic. Put together your team, equip your stagecoach, and travel across broken lands. Fight horrific enemies in unforgiving combat where every decision you make can bring your stress up and adversely affect your team with the affinity system. It's time to dive back into the revolting, captivating world of Darkest Dungeon.

Let me start off by saying I absolutely adore Darkest Dungeon. The first game is phenomenal and captured me in a stylized, beautiful world that required careful thought and planning. Luckily, the sequel continues this trend and keeps some of the wonderful mechanics that made the series so great, while adding some interesting ones of its own. The affinity system returns, you can view origin stories to get new skills for your heroes, and you have a new way of unlocking passive bonuses, characters, and new items. Personally I love these additions, but there are some pretty big changes too.

One of the biggest changes from Darkest Dungeon 2 is the entire structure. While the game is still a roguelike, the sequel takes a more Hades-esque style and has you going through runs starting with nothing and you can only build your team up with what you collect, and when you die, you start from 0 again. You can, unlock new items, passive bonuses, and new heroes, but it is very unlike the original where you had progression per-member that carried over if they survived. The structural change is a nice change of pace at times, but if you enjoyed how the original's progression was, you might not enjoy this one.

Personally, I am enjoying the new systems, the move to 3D (keeping the same artstyle), and the expanded affinity system. I wish it was kept closer to what the original was, but looking at Darkest Dungeon 2 as a standalone game, rather than a sequel, helped out with my enjoyment without comparing. For a roguelike experience, this is definitely one worth your time! As of right now though, it may be best to wait a little before playing on the Steam Deck.

Darkest Dungeon 2 - Steam Deck Performance

For an unoptimized experience, Darkest Dungeon 2 actually runs a lot better than I expected. I did have to force the game to Proton 8.0-2 to run, but the menus, inn, events, and combat all run extremely well, ranging from 40-50 FPS at native resolution and highest settings. Unfortunately, exploration is where the game starts to really chug. Even without a TDP limit, the game will hover around 21W battery drain and a range from 25-35 FPS depending on the area. On top of that, there were some pretty nasty stutters and slight drops in certain events in different environments.


Seeing the framerate go down like this is common in some areas, but never permanent.

I decided to start off by putting the graphical quality on low instead of high, but it didn’t have as much of a visual or performance effect that I wanted it to.

High Quality
Low Quality
Low Quality
High Quality

The biggest help to the performance issues has actually been changing the resolution. The in-game settings doesn't go below 720p, but forcing the resolution through Steam does work. I personally used 800x500 with FSR Sharpness 0. The game still looks very passable and, while text is a little more blurry, it's still readable. This also stabilizes the framerate, allowing combat to push to a stable 40 FPS with no stuttering.

1280x800 Resolution
800x500 Resolution
800x500 Resolution
1280x800 Resolution

Other than this, I decided to keep the game's settings on low with the 800x500 resolution. Changing the graphics to high didn't make much of a difference on performance, so you could go either way, but keeping on low is nice for that slightly extra stability. While it does help in general, there are still some levels/environments that can't bring in a stable framerate, like when it is raining in The Tangle. So, I used a TDP limit of 9 to make sure battery doesn't drain above 20W, which keeps the average around 10W - 12W, only going to 15W when in the stagecoach.

For those who want to push and use a native resolution, doing so will be a bit all over the place. If you want the most stability, I would cap the framerate to 30, but since I preferred the slight increase in speed, I kept it at 40 without any TDP limit. I would do this if you're going to be plugged in as playing this way can be unstable and drain your battery.

Darkest Dungeon 2 supports 16:10 resolutions, but the game is currently missing some pretty necessary features for using on the Steam Deck for right now.

Controller Support and Cloud Saves

The first, and arguably biggest issue outside of performance, is the lack of controller support. This means playing the game will require using one of the trackpads to move the mouse, as well as possibly remapping other keys to the buttons. Instead of creating our own controller layout to make this a bit easier, I used the "Darkest Dungeon II: Steam Deck" layout made by Kitteh with prongle.


The game also lacks any cloud saves, which can be a problem for those going from multiple devices. Thankfully, Red Hook Studios has mentioned they are working on support for both of these, as well as Steam Deck support overall. While there's no time frame for this, it is great that they have acknowledged that this is missing and they will be adding it in.


Darkest Dungeon 2 is a fantastic roguelike that sucks me in with its gorgeous artstyle, addicting gameplay loop, and affinity mechanics. While it went in another direction than its predecessor, which can be a hit or miss for some, but as a standalone game, it is a really great time. I find the new way of exploring and interacting with events interesting, and I especially love the way that telling origin stories can give new skills. As of right now, it is a little difficult to play this on the Steam Deck, but hopefully we will see those optimizations coming in soon.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Darkest Dungeon 2 is a fantastic roguelike that excels in a multitude of ways, but has some issues on the Steam Deck. I would hold off for a little, but if you can't wait, this is still playable with compromises!

Build Score

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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Refresh Rate




TDP Limit


Scaling Filter


GPU Clock


Proton Version

Proton 8.0-2

Game Settings

Graphics Quality: High

Vsync: On

Projected Battery Usage and Temperature

15W - 20W

70c - 80c

~2 hours

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One comment on “Darkest Dungeon 2”

  1. The developer already updated the game, the performance is better now and also verified