Skip to Content

Dark and Darker Returns to Steam with Mostly Negative Reviews

Dark and Darker Artwork of Three Warriors Entering a Corridor

Extraction looter Dark and Darker has had a troubled journey getting back on Steam but the trouble isn’t gone yet. Despite a Nexon lawsuit previously leading to its removal from Steam, the new issue plaguing players is how the developer is handling free-to-play. At a quick glance, you may not realize the free-to-play version has heavy restrictions.

This has led to 61% of Steam reviews for Dark and Darker being negative as many players disagree with the model. One review points to the limitations as a reason it should be advertised as a demo instead of a full game. With that said, developer IRONMACE uses the first paragraph on the Dark and Darker Steam page to describe the free-to-play version. The limitations include:

  • One character slot
  • Access to only normal dungeons
  • No access to the Marketplace for player trading

I’m not surprised players are angry since the one character slot prevents you from trying each of the nine classes. While you can delete your character, you will lose the levels you grinded for. Which can be a pain since passive perks are locked behind player levels. That aside, the other major negative is only having access to normal dungeons.

The dilemma with this restriction is that you can only bring higher-tier gear into what are called “High Roller” dungeons. Otherwise, you’re limited to Common grade gear or lower in the normal dungeons. I like this restriction for the sake of balancing. But when it’s your only choice as a free player, it means that you won’t be able to use most of the gear you loot. This can be frustrating since there isn’t much you can do with that gear aside from selling it for healing items.

I think the free version of Dark and Darker is more than generous for a demo and a way to try it if you’re curious. I could easily see someone never switch from the free version even with these limitations. Especially since the developers aren’t trying to nickel and dime you via microtransactions. As far as I can tell, some cosmetics require the real money currency of Redstone Shards. But players can purchase many of them using what appears to be an in-game currency of blue shards.

Dark and Darker Redstone Shard Prices

Otherwise, you can spend $30 on 15 Redstone Shards to purchase the full Dark and Darker version, “Legendary Status”. One potential issue is that this may not be clear enough to players. Many free-to-play games will have optional packs you can purchase that are visible on their Steam store page. A good example of this is Counter-Strike 2 where right below the free-to-play button is a $14.99 upgrade for “Prime Status”.

Whereas with Dark and Darker, the only way to purchase Legendary Status is by starting the game. And then going a step further, it’s hidden behind a premium currency which always makes things more confusing. Fortunately, IRONMACE doesn’t do the eternally terrible microtransaction trick where you can only buy 14 Redstone Shards and need to buy another 5 to spend 15. You can outright buy 15 Redstone Shards for $30 to buy the Legendary Status.

I think the backlash wouldn’t be as rough if IRONMACE made the overall situation easier to understand. I even made the mistake of playing for a few hours before realizing I only had one character slot. I figured I’d at least have a couple more. Which, it definitely would be nice to have even two character slots total. But, if I look at the free-to-play version as a demo, I’m perfectly okay with the limitation.

Dark and Darker Barbarian Fighting Skeleton

IRONMACE doesn’t do many of the sleazy things free-to-play developers could to get more of your time and money. So if the worst they’re asking for is $30 to experience the full game, I’m okay with it. I already got four hours out of the free version and that’s on top of previous versions I’ve played too. If they really wanted to make things clear for players, they could force you to read something about the limitations when starting for the first time.