(Written by Jon Baldvinsson)
Name: Styx: Shards of Darkness
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Released: 14, March 2017
Reviewed on: PC
Are you looking for a new stealth adventure? Then look no further Styx: Shards of Darkness serves that purpose very well. If you have played the first game Styx: Master of Shadows, you will be very familiar of our spiteful little goblin Styx, if not Styx is well a goblin and he is quite spiteful the little miscreant, and works as a blade for hire. Styx is as far as we know the only Goblin who can speak the tongue of man, this makes him seem at a higher intelligence level that his fellow
goblins, sadly it also makes him easily recognisable if he made enemies that know this feature.
Originally Styx was the first goblin mutated from a orc scholar who was studying the magic of the World Tree, the same power was used deliberately to turn voluntary humans into elves. Styx is a clone of the real styx and the main reason to the green plague as the humans call it, Styx feel into the pool of amber in Akenash which caused hundreds of clones to pour out.
Styx himself is a great character he has great puns and devilish humor, although he is definitely a character you do not want to be in debt to.
Styx: Shards of Darkness starts with Styx who is up to no good and is stealing some gold from the local guard in Thorben, once Styx has completed his mission he returns to Ephron who wanted him to steal the gold and gets rewarded in amber. Styx uses amber to fuel his powers, using any of his powers costs amber. Once Ephron leaves a C.A.R.N.A.G.E squad shows up and wants to speak with Styx, C.A.R.N.A.G.E squads are an elite squad whole specialize in killing goblins. Helledryn is the squad’s leader and she tells Styx that she wants a deal with the goblin, in exchange for a lot of amber. Of course being a sucker for amber he accepts the deal which is to steal an ambassador’s scepter, once styx gets aboard the ambassador’s airship he tries to steal the scepter alas he is not the only one trying to get the scepter. Styx get’s screwed over by a shape changing dark elf who blames the missing scepter on Styx. Styx of course doesn’t appreciate this and wants his revenge on the Elf so he get’s Helledryn to help him sneak into Korregar to find the elf. Later on Styx confronts the Elf and learns about Quartz which is a very powerful substance to increase Styx’s power.
Styx: Shards of Darkness really has great gameplay, it makes you feel immersed into the role of being a assassin. You have to sneak around in the shadows using multiple skills that Styx has to offer. Styx has three main skills Cocoon, Invisibility and Amber Vision. Styx has also multiple tools which he can craft although most of those have to be learned through the skill tree. Styx can craft a few items to help himself from the basic bolt which can be used to kill enemies from afar, to acid traps that instantly kills enemies that step onto them. Styx can also craft chemical help, such as Health Potions, Amber Potions and Odorous potions to mask Styx’s strong smell, the Acid Solution is always great to dissolve bodies. Lockpicks are also great to unlock locked doors and cocoons can be used to spawn clones.
The talent tree has wide of variety of skills, it is split into five paths Stealth, Kill, Alchemy, Cloning and Perception. The Kill Tree increases your deadliness in such ways that when hiding in a box you can change places with your enemy and leave them dead inside the box. Although killing enemies comes with a price, when playing the game you are rewarded skill points after each mission depending on a few things such as speed, alerts triggered and enemies killed. So if you want to get as many skill points as possible you want to kill as few enemies as possible after all this is a stealth game and you are supposed to be undetected. Every tree enhances your gameplay and you can respec your Styx at anytime so you can go into each map, every map is also filled with side quests which will grant you additional skill points. At the top of each skill tree there is a big talent which requires you 1 Quarts to unlock these will be unlocked at certain points in the game and are very useful, some of the have two skills and you can only choose one of them.
The controls of the game seem quite fluent and easy to master, after a while I was running around in the shadows and into the light without enemies even noticing me.
Although there is great fun to be had in Styx: Shard of Darkness there was one particular boss fight that seemed off putting, you had to run around and use objects preferable in stealth otherwise the boss would attack you while releasing these mechanism. It would probably have been more fun to tie the Stealth genre closer together and have some other means of defeating the boss.
Another flaw of the game is that the AI isn’t always the best, sometimes when you alerted some enemies they would come looking for you, when looking for you they would check boxes but if you pulled enough enemies they couldn’t get to the box you were in because of them pushing each other around.
Enemies would indicate that they are noticing you with a bubble above their head that turned yellow or orange when starting to get more suspicious, and even red if they spotted you.
The Graphics of Styx are great, Styx himself is very well textured and all the characters are see well refined, most of the environment is made with great detail and each map is huge and dark. This really helps setting the scene for this adventures stealth game. The general setting of the game is a great choice in a fantasy world where goblins, orcs, human, dwarfs and elves exists, is a great choice as it really fits the goblin skulking about killing or spying on bigger enemies.
Styx: Shards of Darkness is a great game and it brings a lot of great humor, for example every time you get a game over you get Styx coming up to you telling to get it together or other random things. The character Styx is really well done and has his own depth, although some of the other Characters seem not as detailed although that is fine as they are not the main protagonist.
If you like Stealth games with big maps where there is plenty of explorer while not getting caught this game is great for you.
- +Great Humor
- +Superb stealth mechanics
- +Huge explorable maps
- -Certain boss fight does not seem to fit the genre
- -AI some times a bit to stupid