[PlayStation 5] Gloomhaven Review

by EdEN, Owner

Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the beloved board game RPG is one you should check out on PS5. Find out why in our Gloomhaven review!

Gloomhaven, the digital adaptation of the beloved board game RPG is one you should check out on PlayStation 5. The original board game project had a Kickstarter campaign way back in 2015, seeking $70,000 in funding to be able to cover the printing costs for the card-driven tactical experience. Once the crowdfunding period was over, and thanks to the support of almost 5,000 backers, Gloomhaven ended up with more than $386,000 in funding. The game proved to be so popular that a second campaign was launched in 2017 for a second print of Gloomhaven, with more than 40,000 backers pledging almost $4,000,000 in total.

It’s now 2023, and we get to enjoy a digital take on Gloomhaven on PlayStation 5! Gloomhaven has been brought to Sony’s console by Twin Sails Interactive, Flaming Fowl Studios, and Saber Interactive. If you’re new to Gloomhaven, then playing through the tutorial is a must so that you can learn all of the basics and don’t feel like you’ve been thrown into the deep end right away. In Glooomhaven, you’ll be taking control of a group of mercenaries. Each of your party members will be equipped with a deck of Ability Cards, which will dictate how your mercenaries will end up exploring each dungeon they take on. Help them battle and defeat enemies and collect loot to be able to succeed.

Gloomhaven Review - 1

At the start of a round, you’ll need to choose two cards for each mercenary to use during their turn. These cards can be used by your mercenaries during a round based on their initiative, which dictates how early in a turn they can act. While you’ll need to have cards that allow you to attack enemies, you’ll also have to pay attention to how cards allow you to move through each location. Every area will have hexagon slots that you can move over, with each step taken counting as a single move point.

Cards will be split into halves, with each half representing a specific action for you to consider. You can use two actions per turn, which means you’ll have four actions to choose from, thanks to the four card halves on display on the left side of the screen. There is, however, a small catch. While you can choose any of the four card halves as your first action for the turn, that does mean that you must then use the opposite side of the other card you didn’t initially pick so that it can then be used as your second action. It sounds more complicated than it really is, and you’ll get the hang of this as you take on more quests.

While knowing what each of your mercenaries’ actions can be during a turn is very important, keeping an eye on the actions of your opponents is just as crucial! Hover over an enemy’s portrait, and you’ll be able to note its intentions for the round. This will, in turn, allow you to plan accordingly so that you’re not caught off guard. You’ll need to attack an enemy so that you can hopefully deal enough damage to defeat it as soon as possible, ideally before it can manage to select any of its actions.

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Whenever you attack an enemy, an attack modifier is drawn from your character’s modifier deck. Said value is applied to your attack. Say you draw a +0 modifier. That would mean that there would be no bonus applied to your attack, so you would deal regular damage to your opponent. Knowing how much damage you can deal during your turn, what the defense stats are for your opponent, and what they might end up retaliating with is crucial for your survival. What if one of your characters ends up feeling exhausted and can’t act, thus leaving him wide open for a world of hurt?

To keep this from happening, you’ll need to make the most of your deck by burning cards. If you’ve been damaged beyond your remaining total hit points, you can burn an available card to cheat death for a moment. Burning a card will allow you to then use one of the halves of your remaining card to hopefully deal the killing blow that you need to get rid of your opponent. It should be used as a last-chance option. Some cards are even burned when you use one of their actions, which will also remove them from play for that scenario.

Gloomhaven Review - 3

Resting will be a big part of the gameplay loop. You can take a short rest or a long rest. A short rest will make you burn a randomly discarded card in exchange for recovering all other discarded cards. Taking a long rest will allow your mercenary to recover two hit points – a number big enough to make a difference during your next turn – as well as recover some discarded cards so that you can put them to good use. A long rest will also burn a discarded card, but being able to heal for two hit points is well worth the trade.

Trophy-wise, this one has a full trophy list waiting for you. If you aim to go for the Platinum, do know it won’t be a short trophy run! The list is split into 36 Bronze trophies, 13 Silver trophies, and a single Gold trophy. What are the objectives to complete for that Platinum trophy? Along with defeating specific units while playing in Guildmaster Mode and in Campaign Mode, you’ll also have to complete other objectives such as bating all Travel missions and all Relic Scenarios in Guildmaster Mode, enhancing your first card, retiring your first mercenary, activating 3 or more traps in a round and completing a scenario, healing more than 60 hit points as a party in a scenario, or completing a scenario without any mercenary in your party killing an enemy.

On top of that, there’s the Jaws of the Lion DLC for you to consider. This DLC is the first major expansion for Gloomhaven since it adds four new mercenaries, more enemies, 22 new city events, 10 new items, 24 new battle goals, 25 scenarios, and more. Thanks to this DLC, you can expect to take on dozens of hours of extra content, since the base game purchase also includes the Solo Scenarios: Mercenary Challenges DLC at no extra cost, which adds 17 challenges to complete to gain 17 unique items. Oh, and the Jaws of the Lion DLC has a separate trophy list with 9 Bronze trophies and a pair of Silver trophies to obtain!

Gloomhaven Review - 4

Gloomhaven is a solid digital adaptation of the beloved physical board game RPG on PlayStation 5 that thousands of people enjoy around the world. All of the original gameplay mechanics are available here, along with some variations and additional game modes to spice things up. Gloomhaven is out today with a $39.99 asking price. You could also go all-in and get the Gloomhaven Gold Edition, which includes the base game, the Solo Mercenaries: Mercenary Challenges, as well as the Jaws of the Lion DLC for $49.99.

Gloomhaven Review - 5

This Gloomhaven review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Twin Sails Interactive.

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