E3 Impressions – Styx: Master of ShadowsFiled inside: News
In watching the demo, I found myself rather taken with the pacing of the game overall. Many of the stealth elements are either included as a secondary system in a game, and are as such too forgiving (The Last of Us), or are very slow or temperamental (Dishonored). Styx eliminates a lot of the minutiae you find in other games; Styx easily snaps into cover to minimize his profile and the sound he makes, and his short stature lets him easily move under desks or short stairwells.
It feels like a good medium, the game is more focused on the stealth so you’re given more control over where and how you engage your enemies, and certainly won’t make things easy for you if you blow it. Hell, the environments are even filled with hazards you can utilize to make deaths look accidental, and as such not draw any attention to your activities.
The Amber Styx seeks also gives him a few supernatural tools to give him the edge he needs in intense situations. These range from magical vision that highlights threats through obstacles, an extremely expensive invisibility ability, or one that allows you to create a wretched clone of Styx that can emulate many of his abilities, hide in crates to automatically ambush nearby guards or explode to create a smokescreen.
The game looks surprisingly good, as well. Levels are broad and sweeping with not only wide courtyards and cramped hallways, but with a lot of vertical elements: scaling walls, hanging from ledges, and that sort of thing.
The overall aesthetic is fairly mundane, though it seems well-executed considering that the studio isn’t as big as most AAA studios. The dress and look of the knights won’t surprise you in any sense, and Akenash looks like a fancy castle that’s really, really tall.
The demo did leave out one important detail: the combat. We see plenty of Styx surreptitiously killing guards and remaining mostly in control. The demo didn’t really display how Styx will deal with things when they go awry. Despite his years of experience, he’s still a diminutive goblin, and facing off against three highly-trained knights simultaneously will very likely end poorly.
No word on a release date, thus far, but I really hope it’s soon. The game has the potential to be a strong entry into the stealth genre, bucking the common thematic trends of heroism and blending an interesting protagonist with deep gameplay that will let the player discover their own way to obtain the wealth and knowledge they desire.
The game is releasing for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. You can check the full website here. Check out the full 15-minute gameplay demo below.