Run your own tavern and learn more about the history of The Village and its residents in Graveyard Keeper’s first DLC.
Genre: Simulation, RPG, Strategy
Developer: Lazy Bear Games
Release date: 28 October, 2019
Graveyard Keeper has a special place in my heart as the ethically-challenged and morally bankrupt sibling of Stardew Valley. Instead of escaping from the hustle and bustle of city life to start a farm, you arrive in a mysterious medieval village that quickly brings you into its community as the graveyard keeper. You’re responsible for laying the dead to rest as well as preaching to the masses as you expand your business to include a number of ventures within it. Throughout your time you’ll meet a number of memorable characters and add many assets to your estate, including but not limited to vineyards, farms, and alchemical laboratories. You’ll travel deep into the dungeon in search of rare ingredients and may even sell some “mystery meat” of dubious origin to the locals. Even the corpses themselves can aid in your labors if you’ve got an understanding of the proper method to enlist them…
The first DLC for Graveyard Keeper, Stranger Sins, is my favorite kind of DLC. It adds new content right into the body of the game itself that can be enjoyed by both veterans and new players alike. It gives you access to a new story-focused quest line as well as the ability to add a tavern, complete with its own unique features, to your list of ventures. When you top this all off with a few quality of life improvements that everyone will enjoy, you’ve got a solid DLC that’s worth it’s asking price.
A Glimpse Of The Past
The new line of quests begins when your demanding acquaintance, Gerry the Talking Skull, once again recruits you to aid him in an endeavor. This time he’s seeking some cognac as the booze that you’ve previously provided him just isn’t doing the trick anymore. One thing leads to another as your quest to acquire cognac quickly evolves into the discovery of an old archaeological machine left behind by a previous graveyard keeper. The Village has strict laws regarding the digging up of public property and, as such, there’s only one obvious way to maneuver around this seemingly insurmountable obstacle: buy the land in an old, poor resident’s name (to maximize benefits and discounts) and build a tavern there!
The quests that follow tend to continue the trend set by the base game. You’ll be expected to chat with the villagers and perform tasks for them, usually bringing them some kind of an item, and you’ll be rewarded with an artifact. These items can be used on the archaeological machine to view the past and there’s quite a few of them to recover. For the most part, these are fetch quests but they offer a significant amount of character development and add depth to the lore of The Village which I enjoyed. The writing and humor were excellent in the original content and it is successfully carried over into the new quests.
Getting Down To Business
Your opportunities to fine-tune your business ventures and shady dealings also get a nice boost with Stranger Sins. Your tavern makes it so that the production of food and drink is now very much worth it and may provide you with a significant income. Several features that coincide with this new business are welcome additions to the game including vineyards that can be automated (similar to the zombie farms of the base game) to grow grapes and hops as well as having the benefit to assign a zombie porter there. This porter will transport your grapes and hops to your cellar where they go straight into processing in your newly built zombie brewery and zombie winery. Once produced, the new porter station available there will transport it once more to your tavern where it will be sold for significant profits. It takes you some time to set up this production line but the rewards are worth it. My only real complaint here is that it would have been convenient to have a few more porter stations to bring in the other resources needed to create some alcoholic beverages, particularly at the apiary (honey for mead) and the farm (wheat and water for beer). All things considered, the pros far outweigh the cons, though.
I very much enjoyed Graveyard Keeper and spent just under sixty hours playing the base game. This DLC was not only a great excuse to dive back in and visit my estate once more but it brought new content that improved several aspects on the business side as well as bringing in a fun, but straightforward, tavern to run. The tavern fits in seamlessly with the other systems of the game and the added features and story made this an exciting, well-rounded addition to the game. If you enjoy Graveyard Keeper already or if you’re just getting into it, this DLC makes the game even better and I definitely recommend getting your hands on it. However, if you aren’t a fan of Graveyard Keeper, Stranger Sins is not going to save the game for you as the gameplay and theme still feel very much the same overall.