Time Play: 40 hours (mostly offline)
I want to state first that Darkest Dungeon is far and away the best and most complete early access game that I have played. The systems are basically finished, with the team mostly just fine tuning now. The art is fantastic and imaginative, both with characters and environments, There is plenty to do. The game is only really missing the final two areas and and a handful of character classes, which should be arriving shortly.
DD is a hard game. but it has an interesting fallback: heroes are free. You can recruit them endlessly, so it is nearly impossible to actually fail. Which is good because nasty things lurk in the depths. If you have read H.P. Lovecrafts works (and you should), then this will seem very familiar in a good way! Much like Lovecraft's protagonists, your heroes will mostly end their stories by going insane and dying.
This is one of the most interesting facets of the game: stress. In DD, your heroes are vulnerable and scared. They don't enjoy being assaulted by pig-men with bone clubs. Walking skeletons frighten them. Starvation is sad. Basically, they act a lot like real people, and its great!
The quirk system is similar. Your heroes acquire charactersitics as they plumb the depths, most of them weird. Your crusader may have been a holy hero once, but 10 weeks at the estate and he has become a nymphomaniac with syphillis and an obsession with corpses! Necrophilia, anyone? :P
Getting good at the game will likely take awhile. There are a lot of classes, and each one has numerous skills they can use in battle and while camping. Learning how to managae your money, provision your party for journies, and what buildings to upgrade first can also be confusing. It is all very do-able, it mostly just takes time because it is different. You will get used to it if you give it a chance.
Basically, DD takes a sort of George R.R. Martin view of adventuring. There are a lot of details that you do not encounter in, say, a Final Fantasy game. Heroes actually need food, for example. Torches don't last forever. Characters don't take crushing blows from a cleaver without reaction (sometimes they start screamng in unknown languages and then murder your hapless doctor...). It's a muddy, bloody good time. And larks for all ;)
Last Words: Experimental game-design done right, with some fantastic art direction and ideas, that results in a RPG masterpiece. Keep up the fantastic work Red Hook Games!!