Styx: Master of Shadows (XB1) Review

Ken McKown

Come sail away with me.

The stealth genre has never been front-runner for my favorite type of game. Sure I have enjoyed various Splinter Cell titles, and Metal Gear Solid is my all-time favorite series, but the idea of patience in a game has never clicked very well for me. Combine that with the fact that Styx isn’t exactly a household name, and this latest [email protected] title did little to excite me upon its release. That is until I sat down and played it.

The winning formula for a stealth title is the game play. If I am constantly getting caught due to controls or AI, I get frustrated; this is where Styx excels. This is one of the smoothest playing games in a while. Combine that with interesting powers, solid visuals and a humorous story, and we have one of the biggest surprises to come along so far this generation.

Death from above!

MSRP: $29.99
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $29.99

Styx: Master of Shadows is actually a prequel to another title from developer Cyanide. Of course, most people have never heard of Of Orcs and Men, but fret not, it in no way hinders trying to keep up with Styx in his new adventure. In fact, I can’t begin to tell you what the plot of this game actually was, just that Styx is kind of an a-hole, and the enemies just constantly want to shout nasty things at him. Oh, and he murders armies of them throughout the game. Good times.

Every level of Styx feels like an undertaking. The areas are large, and there are multiple ways to approach each situation. Playing on the lower difficulties allows Styx to get into skirmishes with enemies, while bumping it up to Goblin mode removes the parry feature, making combat all but useless. I liked being able to approach situations how I wanted. Sneak past the guards, or take them down one at a time.

One of the biggest issues with Styx is the combat itself. The game does give our goblin a chance when spotted, but the way it handles it kind of, well, sucks. Styx will lock onto a target, and I could never manage to get him to unlock. This means I had to fight, unless I started to dodge around and managed to grab onto a ledge or something. This makes encounters cumbersome, to the point that whenever I engaged, I usually just let them kill me to avoid frustration.

Thankfully, Styx allows players to save wherever they want, so I made it a habit that anytime a situation looked like it might get hairy, I just made a quick save to make sure I didn’t lose any progress. Also, the loading times upon death are brutal. Almost 30 seconds at times, this makes getting back into the action a chore.

Tell him I will have his money.

My favorite part of Styx is how many different powers he acquires over the game to help with the stealth. Being able to create a clone to distract, or flip switches is a cool idea. I loved the sand throwing mechanic, and disposing bodies with vials of acid is just deliciously fun. I was always experimenting with new ways to approach situations, and I really enjoyed that aspect of the game. If the combat would have been improved a little, I can imagine this being of my biggest surprises of the year.

Styx: Master of Shadows surprised me. The fluid controls and inventive game play kept me coming back to its lengthy campaign. I also liked Styx as a character. I might not have remembered what he did, but I had a good time getting him there. The price might be a little scary at $30, but for those that enjoy a pure stealth game, this one is definitely worth a look.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Styx is a great character
  • Large, expansive environments
  • Slick controls

Bad

  • Combat is atrocious
  • Weird glitches at times
8

Great

Ken McKown
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.
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