Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth game developed by Cyanide Studios for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game is actually a prequel, and the second game to take place in the world established by 2012's 'Of Orcs and Men'.
Battle your way to the top of the lofty Tower of Akenash through immense and vertiginous levels that highlight the vertical perspective. You will complete numerous missions with various objectives as you climb up murder, information recovery, theft of precious artifacts, etc and gradually reconstruct the puzzle that provides the key to the mystery of your origins.
The levels are open and the objectives can be completed in various ways: you are therefore free to choose the best way to proceed and the most suitable strategy to employ to achieve and complete your mission objectives. But remember you’re a Goblin: if your target is twice your size, or more, you're better off eliminating them silently… and in the back!
Don't have time for the videos? Allow me to sell Styx to you in a sentence: it's essentially a Splinter Cell game that happens to star a 200-year-old goblin rogue who's able to clone himself using a magical substance known as Amber.
The story takes place long before the events shown in 'Of Orcs and Men' however. Styx, the first Goblin, wants to steal the heart of a World-Tree, enclosed inside the huge and terrifying Tower of Akenash. It is a kind of Bildungsroman that leads Styx to a better understanding of his own origins.
Styx is the very first of all the Goblins, he’s a master in the arts of stealth, thievery, and murder. The depths of the mile-high Tower of Akenash is where Humans and Elves hide and protect the Tree, the source of Amber is the best chance Styx has of quickly amassing a small fortune and, perhaps, discovering more about his true origins along the way.
Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth game where the player must keep to the shadows to survive. Styx has arcane abilities that assist him in his escapades, including the ability to make himself invisible (also featured in Of Orcs and Men), and the ability to use amber-vision to detect hidden foes and areas. His ability to clone himself through magical means offers opportunities to disrupt the traditional stealth gaming formula. It gives the player a clone for purposes such as scouting without risk and creating a diversion.
Guards, soldiers and other protectors of the Tower will adapt their behavior dynamically, depending on the player's actions; One should keep a low profile and prepare a course of action beforehand. Study the guard patrols closely, use areas of light and shadow to one's advantage, lure the target to a secluded area to assassinate him silently, or arrange "accidents" to remain undetected. Styx: Master of Shadows also includes RPG game mechanics, so as the player gains experience, new skills will be unlocked, special moves, new and lethal weapons, all divided into six talent trees.
Thoughts on gameplay
If you put stealth elements from the thief-, splinter cell- and MGS-series together, and mix them up with a classic fantasy setting, you’ll get an idea, of what it feels like playing the green-skinned goblin-master-thief Styx. While the plot focusing on the amber-drug, cloning, lost memories and the war between Elves and Humans is getting more and more weird through the game, you’ll get a nice stealth-experience with cool game-mechanics, mixed with some rpg-elements. Though the game is fun overall, the AI behaves insufficiently and the jump-and-climb-issue based on the imprecise controls can drive you nuts.
In some ways Styx feels like a stealth game from an earlier era, but one that's more dated then vintage. It tries to pick up a few tricks from more modern games in the genre, but much of its core wouldn't have been out of place alongside the earlier Tenchu or Metal Gear Solid games.
If you can get past the fact that it isn’t the best looker, you’ll have a good time with Styx. It’s particularly recommended for hardcore sneak-em-up fans looking for a genuine challenge: a stealth-action game in which the emphasis is unapologetically on the stealth, and not the action.
Styx: Master of Shadows is available now!
What is your favorite 'stealth' series?
Sources: TotalXbox, Wiki, Gamertag Gaming