Guide - Updated on September 23, 2022

Reviewing The Black Book, I have repeatedly compared its gameplay with the average “bagel”: it has a route updated every game night with dots that indicate battles with enemies, random encounters and other bonuses. But unlike any Slay the Spire or Monster Train, the map in the Black Book was never randomly generated, and all game events were prescribed in advance. So it was before the release of the Endless Battles DLC, which brought down on Vasilisa, the owner of that same Black Book, all the charms of randomness.

Slay the Inscryption

Without long prefaces, we are immediately given the task of defeating the final villain, having gone through three areas before that. Each of them is an interweaving of tracks along which we will move from top to bottom. The last point is the boss, in front of which there is always a fire: you can burn an extra card on it or heal a little. By the way, we walk with a matryoshka doll, which should probably be a reference to the name of the Black Book developer studio. Chests, shops, random events, assistants and, of course, battles are generously planted at the forks in the paths.

I would even say that there is often too much fighting here: you look at the map, and there are only icons of devils. I understand that the mode is called “Endless Battles” and not “Endless Chests” or “Endless Random Encounters with Bonuses”, but I would still like to alternate them somehow so that there is a balance between battles and rewards.

Black Book: Endless Battles: Обзор

You can’t get up and leave the table indignantly here – this is not Inscryption for you.

Balance is the weakest point of the new DLC. Random enemies can surprise you from the very beginning of the race – forget about the fact that the game should throw you an opponent of the appropriate level. This game does not owe anything to anyone and only does what it wants. Here you have three traits on the first map with a total attack under 50 damage points. Are there no good cards in the deck to answer? Your problems.

The first attempts to go through the “Endless Battles” are doomed to failure and serve solely to build up Vasilisa. For several hours you will have to endure humiliation from the devils – even if you manage to break through to the boss with grief in half, he certainly will not leave a wet spot for you (all the bosses here, by the way, are taken from the plot, so it is recommended to play the game anyway to avoid spoilers ). Do not even hope to win – you will have too bad cards and too few skills to resist evil. But time will pass, and the pumped-up Vasilisa will already be able to show who is the mistress here. And it will finally become at least somewhat interesting to play.

Black Book: Endless Battles: Обзор

The battles in the DLC look exactly the same as in the main game, which is not surprising: most of the maps migrated straight from there with little or no changes. The latter touched only on the mechanics of the evil eye – the cards with it were made weaker.

Game over, man! Game over!

So how does this all-changing pumping happen? Everything is simple. After each death, the heroine returns to the hut, receives one skill point and something to choose from: another point, a small increase in health, or a random item from the run. Then this thing can be taken with you on a new trip. And then add a couple more to it if you get the appropriate abilities. The skill tree (more precisely, even two – black and white) can scare you with its branching – there are so many skills, cards and other useful bonuses in it. First of all, I recommend concentrating on increasing the strength of the sorceress and the number of words in the plot, and there, along the way, good cards will open at the same time. Because the starting deck is quiet horror.

But the starting one is the starting one, that you will always start with it (unless the usual words in it can be changed to similar collapsible ones). After winning the battle, you will be offered a new card to choose from (from those that are already open thanks to the tree). At the same time, it will not be possible to see how many similar cards you already have in the deck (and whether they exist at all): in the main game, this feature was added with a patch, and in the DLC it disappeared again. After a bunch of races, you start to get confused – there are a lot of orders and keys. Once, after another battle, I pressed Escape (in the hope that this would take me to a menu where I could still look at my deck) and generally missed the choice. Here’s a life hack for you, so as not to take too much.

Black Book: Endless Battles: Обзор

The leveling tree has changed a lot over the summer.

Since I’m talking about tips… How do you like it – to die at the very beginning of the race and so farm points for pumping Vasilisa? After all, at the start of the game it doesn’t matter how long you last. I honestly tried to fight the impudent devils, but every time they turned out to be stronger. So for everyone else, I would simply recommend saving time and slightly “abusing” the system.

Only a well-trained heroine can safely go on the road and stop losing due to a banal lack of resources. It seems that this should not be the case in roguelites? Permanent pumping should facilitate the passage, but in no way subjugate everything. The player should have a chance to get to the ending on the first try, so to speak “naked”, getting everything they need during the race. But in Endless Battles it won’t work that way.

Black Book: Endless Battles: Обзор

Meetings with assistants are described rather sparingly. Ornate syllable, where are you? I miss.

The first DLC for The Black Book came out surprisingly raw and uninteresting. For the small price that they ask for it, one could probably forgive. But I won’t. Too much I like the Black Book as a whole. The addition to it should be at the level so that you also want to spend tens of hours in it. It would be desirable, but would not be required for pumping. One can only hope that the DLC will be actively refined and polished, and most of the problems described above will get rid of. In the meantime, I advise only very patient sorcerers and sorceresses to play it.

Update February 23rd. I did not fail with hopes: while I was finishing this review, an update managed to come out, correcting some of the unpleasant moments. So, according to the description of the update, enemies began to deal 20% less damage, on the card selection screen you can see the current composition of the deck, a skill point is no longer given for a defeat, but the reward for bosses has increased. Well, at such a brisk pace, after several such updates, we may well get a good DLC.

Pros: Potentially interesting roguelight mode for a great game.

Cons: problems with balance; the need to upgrade the heroine; over-engineered skill tree.

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