Styx: Shards of Darkness is the latest in the Styx series of video games, second full on Styx title but third in the overall characters life (Counting Of Orcs & Men). For those unfamiliar with Styx, it’s an old school stealth game draped in the classic fiction of Orcs, Goblins, Knights and Magic, it’s all very Dungeons and Dragons meets Steam Punk with the gobbiest little Goblin around. Is it any good? Read on to find out!
The narrative of Styx is passable for the genre, the story isn’t exactly ground breaking but provides a purpose for Styx to be doing what he does best in various set of locales. It is slightly more interesting than that of the previous game but if I am honest it still hasn’t quite reached the interest levels set by Of Orcs & Men for myself.
Fortunately despite the average story the main character himself actually propels this writing much further than the storyline ever could. Styx is what I would imagine would of happened if Stealth games had been bigger around the days of Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior and Serious Sam, he’s a one liner spewing gob s**te who oozes charisma and has some of the best lines ever penned within video games.
Styx: Shards of Darkness visually is quite a mixed bag, the main character model is farily detailed and the game does offer some quite nice visuals throughout the levels, the enemies have a lesser range of details and some levels do repeat assets or just have muddy low leveled looking textures. The game does look leagues better than the original and it’s only really the ugly looking U.I and occasional off looking model which holds this title back as the level art is a masterclass in High Fantasy.
The voice acting in Styx ranges much like the graphics, the height being the delivery of Styx’ lines to the lowest being generic grunts who sound much like bored amature VA “Talent” who have been drafted in at the last minute for a cheese sandwich and Panda Pop. The sound effects and how they are used works well for the genre and gives you a decent enough sense of distance and location which is make or break for these games.
As previously mentioned Styx: Shards of Darkness is an old school stealth game, by this I mean it’s more Thief 2 than say Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, it rewards you for learning patterns, studying level design and using every single one of Styx’ fantastic tricks, it will on the other hand destroy you should you try and “Rambo” your way through the level. The latter point is very apparent should you try and get into combat and you’ll find that much like the original game, there isn’t any, it’s a QTE to allow you to stun your enemy and dart away like a sneaky little Goblin.
Styx has quite the selection of tricks to help him sneak his way through the 10 hour campaign, these start at the basic climbing and jumping which works well as the level design at points can be quite vertical, all the way to his invisibility and cloning tricks. You can use his magic abilities such as cloning to create distractions that may initially not be there or invisibility when you need to sneak through as quick as possible, other abilities include knocking torches out from afar and poisoning food.
So Styx has a repertoire of abilities that would make even Agent 47 blush but how well does it handle? Ok I guess. The controls do have a habit of fighting with you when you really don’t need them to due to a confusing layout & ledge detection is hit or miss which can really put a funk in your speed runs for medals in levels, bar that the game handles well enough that I can’t fault it too much.
Styx: Shards of Darkness is what I would describe as a dull gem, the setting, budget price and ugly U.I give off a somewhat cheap impression but even after just playing the tutorial you start to see the game has much more on offer than initially thought. Styx himself is one of the best game characters created in the last few generations and is a genuine joy to play as when the controls and detection are working, Shards of Darkness is a huge leap in the right direction for the series compared to the original and if you are a fan of the stealth genre I would suggest taking ol’ Styx for a run around, you may just gobble it up!
- Old school stealth greatness
- Brilliant art design
- Janky Controls and glitches
- Maybe a little too harsh for some
- Lacking a little polish
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