Adding Insult To Injury with Styx: Shards of Darkness
By: Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley | : 1953 : 12
I will admit. The little green goblin gasbag Styx was recently introduced to me in a fan recommended PlayStation Adventure. When I originally saw Styx, I made the incorrect assumption that it was like Overlord, where you play a bad guy and just go steal stuff for no reason. I never gave the game a chance just because I typically don't play the bad side of anything. Oh, how wrong I was.
Introducing Styx: Masters of Shadows
The original Styx had charm, character, and humor. It's soundtrack was amazing, it's gameplay thrilling, and it's plot surprisingly was rich with story and you actually end up playing a protagonist.
There are a few things you can guarantee with any Styx game, crude humor, lots of sneaking around, puzzle solving, and a very unforgiving combat system in the vein of Dark Souls. You will spend a lot of time dying in Styx and in the first one a long load screen of shame.
Continuing the Adventure
Now I thought the first game was amazing, when I heard the second was on its way, I had to get my hands on it. Then I learned it had co-operative play and I was really excited. When I received my press copy of Shards of Darkness I could not wait to start playing.
The sequel offers many unique improvements to the series. The first and most welcome that I'd like to point out is the Death Screens! Now whenever you die Styx will come out of the afterlife and pay you a compliment.... yeah that's it a compliment. These "compliments" are the variety that literally made water come out my nose at one point. Styx is a vile little creature and doesn't appreciate you getting him killed. He will share a piece of his mind every time you die. This made the worst part of the first game, one of the most entertaining parts of the sequel.
The second notable change was the scale of the maps and the expanded number of ways to complete objectives. The first game had smaller maps that had limited routes to get to your objective. Shards of Darkness expands that, giving you a much larger canvas to paint your trail of deceit and mayhem.
The Third major change involved Styx being above ground rather than below. In the first title you spend almost all of your time in dark areas, long absent of the bright ball of fire in the sky. This gave the game a much darker tone and color palette. In Masters of Shadows, you will engage a world vibrant with color, beautiful skylines, and breathtaking views. The game is much brighter and colorful than its first chapter, which is both a boon and a curse.
For a game you spend most of your time jumping from shadow to shadow, daylight plays a fun challenge in keeping to the shadows. But that doesn't take away the fact that you will enjoy the beauty of the scenery and game world. I for one enjoy not having to use my amber vision to spot bad guys all the time.
On a storyline front, the game allies you with the C.A.R.N.A.G.E squad, which hunts the likes of you. They become your trusted allies and employers as you work together to unravel a mystery. I don't want to reveal too much of the story as it's actually quite good, with lots of surprises. Trust me when I say this game is well worth a playthrough or three.
While the Styx series didn't sell me on first look, my viewers encouraged me to give it a chance and I have never been more thankful to them as I am now. I will gladly admit that Styx: Masters of Shadows and Styx: Shards of Darkness, now live among my favorite game of all time. If you enjoy a challenge and a good stealth game like Thief or even Sly Cooper, I highly recommend giving Styx a chance.
He's a lovable little guy once you get past that rough exterior. Just make sure you're wearing your troll skin because your gonna need it to endure his insults.
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About the Author
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Benjamin founded the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community in 2001 and has since been the founder & activities director for this well known community. His role has gone beyond just running the Gaming Community and now includes running the Athletics Program in Portland, Oregon, as well as acting as the Managing Editor of the Gaiscioch Magazine, and is the Lead Producer on the Gaiscioch Livestream Productions. Additionally he networks with game developers to form relationships between Gaiscioch and development studios.
His experience in publishing dates back to helping his Grandparents who operated a printing press for over 40 years. In high school and college Benjamin excelled in journalism and played an active part in the school newspaper. Benjamin currently works full time as the director of technology for a franchise trade publication & education company.