Games of the Year

Styx: Shards of Darkness

Styx: Shards of Darkness Screenshot 1
Styx: Shards of Darkness Screenshot 2
Styx: Shards of Darkness Screenshot 3
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Styx: Shards of Darkness Screenshot 5
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Hired for a critical mission, explore and master huge open environments as Styx, alone or in coop with a friend. Assassinate or sneak past enemies – Humans, Elves and Dwarfs – but also much more fearsome, colossal creatures, and experiment with the new array of lethal abilities and weapons in your goblin assassin's arsenal. Spend experience points in assassination, infiltration, magic, to learn new skills and improve abilities. Explore, recover valuable artifacts and ingredients to craft deadly traps and useful items, and create clones of yourself to deceive your enemies!
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

I love stealth games and Styx has been in my inventory for years. Last time I played was in 2019 but let it pass. I gave it another try.
This game is a hardcore stealth game. Styx is vulnerable to any damages regardless of what armor he wears, any negligence can easily lead to an alarm following an instant death. Player needs to 1) Design a pathway well; 2)Be patience; and 3) Control precisely. Game offers no map, it does have an instinct mode to see nearby enemies and objects to interact with - you can use environment kill, hide bodies or yourself, but it is like a prototype of the Hitman games, Styx is a goblin so no clothes would fit, 90% of the time Styx has to remain hidden. Without a map it is difficult to foresee some danger, I proceed with caution, leaving some side missions undone, rooms unexplored and collectibles behind.
One of the highlights is the path building. Styx can hide in pipelines, walk through small paths, walk on beams, hang at the edges, climb on walls... those stealth elements are decent, finding a great path is fun and satisfying. However, the jump and rope swings are horrible, you cannot change direction in mid air, the jump feels floppy, too. The graphic looks great.. Though some maps are repeated with different goal, the map is big and rich enough to appreciate.
I also like the humour (and the coarse language) - some may find it offensive, but hearing "Can't tell whether Styx is standing or clawing" made me laugh. This game gives a clear waypoint, most time I do not lose the leads, some levels acquires player to trace blood or follow the trolley tracks to find destination, and in a cave of labyrinth it can take several wrong turns before escaping it, it brings some creativity, and the 6 trials are well designed. There is no real fight within the bosses, rather, Styx does damage through indirect way like breaking the connections of the Quartze power.
I set the game to the easiest difficulty but still find it is hard. Even harder in later games when Styx can't do any damage to an armored enemy, even within clone ability and being invisible for a short period, I still retried several times because of instant death like fall damage and spikes. What keeps me going is the story, the interesting maps and wanting to see how it ends.
Styx is definitely not for everyone, it is painful yet rewarding. I finished the game in 8 hours, story is okay but it does not end. If there will be any sequel, I will try only if the devs make it easier.

Review from Steam

Styx: Shards of Darkness is a second instalment in the third-person stealth game series about a snarky, murderous goblin who uses his assassin skills as well as mysterious powers to move through shadows, eliminate unsuspecting enemies, and find answers to a turn of events that threaten his forsaken kind.
THE GOOD
The game does best what it should – the combination of numerous mechanics it serves prioritises stealth as its main focus, at the same time allowing for enough flexibility to avoid monotony of doing the same thing over and over again. Detection is split into three tiers, which lets you adjust the balance between patiently moving through shadows and running for it like your butt is on fire. Enemies, depending on their type and rank, have various detection patterns and reactions to the sight of yours truly, and that diversifies encounters, depending on locations of escape routes, items at hand, and so on. Distraction methods add a lot to the possibilities of manipulating your surroundings accordingly to your purposes. Killing in open combat (but who cares about that, you’re an assassin) is an outlier here, and avoiding it is synonymous to avoiding frustration from awful camera angles – fortunately there’s multiple ways to escape a fight and go back to the shadows (ominous music here).
About the enemy diversity: while being subpar in comparison to the first game, it still adds to the tactical aspect. Some of them you can kill in any manner, some you can only rid of through deception, and some are just too heavily armoured for you to handle. There’s those that can smell you from afar, and those that hear your footsteps better than the others. There’s multiple approaches to stealth you’ll eventually have to take up and that’s healthy for the sake of keeping you interested.
Skill trees are yet again another thing that allows you to pick a more personalised approach to the game, based on the aspects they focus on. Stealth tree grants you extra mobility, making it harder for enemies to hear or see you and expands on your ability to become invisible. Kill tree gives you more effective and showy opportunities to dispose of your enemies. Cloning tree is fully dedicated to another of your abilities (that’s cloning, who would’ve thought?) and granting it additional purposes. Perception tree sharpens Styx’s senses and Alchemy tree allows him to craft more inventive stuff. But the best thing in skills is that they don’t make the game too easy (at least outright) and there’s no mandatory build you simply need. Just pick your own style, supplement it with skills from other trees, and back to the shadows with you (more ominous music here).
The inventory. One-use items come with varying degree of usefulness, but the ability to both find and craft them always gives you an extra thing to play around just in case. Outfits and daggers, while scarce, serve more purpose than just of glorified reskins, giving you the possibility to change the gameplay in a certain way, like gaining easier silent kills, but without the ability to parry, being able to carry more items for the cost of being louder, and so on. It’s an interesting use of a modest equipment system that actually is a bank of double-edged game modifiers.
Areas look good and are more diverse than in the first game. Their design is cleaner, there is more variety in terms of possible routes to take and, generally speaking, are quite pretty.
You get extra skill points for finishing a mission in a certain time frame, limiting yourself to a set number of kills, not alerting enemies of your presence and finding hidden tokens in the area. While pretty much impossible to do it all in one run, completionists should be quite happy about the opportunities to replay missions using different styles to get their hands on every achievement and available skill point. And even if that’s not the case, you’re not being punished for playing the game in a certain style, but rather rewarded for using your own.
THE SO-SO
The story is pretty basic, but still okay. At first the game starts with something completely else, then it sets you up for a surprise and when the main story kicks in, you may feel intrigued. Halfway through, however, it loses momentum, becoming a stretched out shadow of its former self. There’s a bunch of baddies, a shady organisation, a grand scheme of a sort, but you’ve heard it all before. It still serves an alright filler to the more interesting lore aspects.
The game doesn’t really become more challenging the further you go. While new enemy types are added to the roster, and missions where you cannot be spotted at all become a thing, with skill upgrades and mechanics that don’t get more complex than how they first started, the difficulty curve is very mild. If you’re up for a challenge, there are extra settings that give enemies more health, or make you die instantly when hit, but if you’d rather keep one difficulty setting for the whole game, be prepared for an “I’ve done it all already” moment sooner or later.
THE BAD
Let’s be real, the writing is a gigantic flaw. In no particular order:
- Firstly, the so-called sense of humour and the game’s incessant desire to forcefully shove it down your throat. Styx, once the feisty master of shadows, now became the unfunny master of breaking the fourth wall in the most embarrassing ways possible. The death screen that replaces the usual game over image, is just a travesty of comicality and the jokes that the goblin throws at you are only worth a moment of silence for the time you wasted listening to them.
- Secondly, the dialogues implying that the game’s world is filled with psychopaths. From the dingiest corner of Thoben to the grandest quarter of Korrangar, everyone’s favourite pastime is killing, and sharing details from their most recent murderous foray to their equally bloodthirsty friends is the only thing than can put a smile on their lips. Every syllable spat out by friends and foes alike drips with excessive amounts of unnecessary darkness. Maybe I don’t know how to properly write these myself – but after playing Shards of Darkness I definitely know how to not. Dialogues are just outrageously bad (voice acting isn’t much better, too).
- And thirdly, if it weren’t for constantly overhearing NPCs randomly talking about exactly what we need to know to proceed, Styx would never be able to get anywhere. Most of the story progresses because the goblin assassin found himself in the right place in the right time, and not because of his own knowledge or connections. This aspect of storytelling is quite a failure.
The last stage and everything that happens from there is a big, stinking mystery. There is an event that makes absolutely no sense, the game turns on its stealth origins to become an action title instead, and the ending only leaves you with a lot of question marks. The last cutscene ends so abruptly I initially thought my game was lacking some files to process it properly, but no. This would be even too much as a foreshadowing of an extra story DLC (that never came to be) since not only one of the biggest questions that followed you through the game doesn’t get answered in the end, but the game literally ends during the most important encounter in the story.
OVERALL
Shards of Darkness improves upon its predecessor – slightly, but on multiple levels. Stealth mechanics are upgraded, visuals and animations are slicker, skill and inventory systems are better, Styx is greener (actually not true). Yes, the writing is a tad awful and areas still repeat, though to lesser extent, but overall the game is very enjoyable from the mechanical standpoint. If you enjoyed the previous game, you’ll most probably enjoy this one too. If you like stealth titles and/or fantasy games with charismatic protagonists, that’s a recommendation as well.

Review from Steam

I am once again a nasty little poop goblin and the sewer is indeed my home

Review from Steam

Information / Review English
Styx: Shards of Darkness falls into the action-adventure genre developed by Cyanide Studio.
Gameplay / Story
Styx plies his trade in the goblin-infested slum town of Thoben. There, a goblin hunter named Helledryn hires Styx to steal a magical scepter from a Dark Elf ambassador, with a promise of amber in payment. Styx breaks into the ambassador's airship, but before he can seize the scepter, a shapeshifting Dark Elf takes it first. He attaches a large crystal to the staff and uses it to paralyze Styx. He then turns into a human and sounds the alarm, causing Styx to flee empty-handed.
Like his predecessor, Styx is capable of cloning himself, setting traps for his enemies, and turning himself temporarily invisible. The player has the option to attack or avoid enemies. Ropes and grappling hooks can be used to reach high areas. A multiplayer co-op mode where the second player controls one of Styx's clones.
Per
+ confident antihero
+ varied locations
+ atmospheric surroundings and light atmosphere
+ varied missions
+ Concentration on sneaking, no fight possible
+ good voice actors and intermediate animations
+ Co-op mode
+ Achievements and trading cards
cons
- spongy textures
- superior skills
- Imprecise control when jumping and climbing passages
Conclusion
Styx: Shards of Darkness offers you an extensive adventure playground for sneak fans who like to experiment. If you liked the first part, you will love this one too.
Information / Review Deutsch
Styx: Shards of Darkness fällt ins Action-Abenteuer Genre, welches von Cyanide Studio entwickelt wurde.
Gameplay / Geschichte
Styx geht seinem Gewerbe in der von Kobolden verseuchten Slumstadt Thoben nach. Dort heuert ein Koboldjäger namens Helledryn Styx an, um ein magisches Zepter von einem Botschafter der Dunkelelfen zu stehlen, mit dem Versprechen, Bernstein als Bezahlung zu erhalten. Styx bricht in das Luftschiff des Botschafters ein, aber bevor er das Zepter ergreifen kann, nimmt es zuerst ein sich verändernder Dunkelelf. Er befestigt einen großen Kristall am Stab und benutzt ihn, um Styx zu lähmen. Dann verwandelt er sich in einen Menschen und schlägt Alarm, wodurch Styx mit leeren Händen fliehen muss.
Wie sein Vorgänger ist Styx in der Lage, sich selbst zu klonen, seinen Feinden Fallen zu stellen und sich vorübergehend unsichtbar zu machen. Der Spieler hat die Möglichkeit, Feinde anzugreifen oder ihnen auszuweichen. Seile und Enterhaken können verwendet werden, um hohe Bereiche zu erreichen. Ein Mehrspieler-Koop-Modus, bei dem der zweite Spieler einen der Klone von Styx steuert.
Pro
+ selbstbewusster Antiheld
+ abwechslungsreiche Schauplätze
+ stimmungsvolle Umgebungen und Lichtatmosphäre
+ abwechslungsreiche Missionen
+ Konzentration auf Schleichen, kein Kampf möglich
+ gute Synchronsprecher und Zwischenanimationen
+ Koopmodus
+ Errungenschaften und Sammelkarten
Kontra
- schwammige Texturen
- übermächtige Skills
- ungenaue Steuerung bei Sprung- und Kletterpassagen
Fazit
Styx: Shards of Darkness bietet dir einen umfangreichen Abenteuerspielplatz für experimentierfreudige Schleichfans. Wer den ersten Teil mochte, wird diesen auch lieben.

Review from Steam

What was good now is great, everything was increased better graphics, the combat system is better as well, the NCP's are way more alert compared to Styx Master of Shadows, the locations are bigger and more beautiful.
This sequel is amazing and if you're reading this review is because you're a hardcore stealth person, the combat system got better, you can throw sand, parry enemies, dodge, climb, some of the abilities include, silent Invisibility, cloning, etc.
You'll get better when you upgrade his skills, the puzzles are alright.
You can go full stealth during the entire game if you want. =)
Styx loves his amber and he'll do everything to drink it heheh it's his whiskey :p , amber gives him supernatural abilities.
I really hope Cyanide Studio make a trilogy, we deserve a 3rd game.
Goblin steal, goblin kill, goblin hide, goblin sneak, goblin stab without mercy, but mainly he can go full stealth and only do what's it's necessary without dropping a single blood.

Styx: Shards of Darkness 10/10
Heisen

Review from Steam

Another fun stealth game :D Overall very much the same deal as Styx: Master of Shadows (My review for that game:
Still big and interesting levels to explore, but they didn't feel quite as big as in the first game. Not that I mind it, but it does mean that the game takes a bit shorter time to complete. (My time in the game is about 5 hours longer than what it says since my internet wasn't working on one of the days that I played)
A new thing, besides the bosses, that was added in Shards of Darkness is crafting. Styx can now collect resources during his adventures that can be used to craft useful items like potions and lockpicks and more.
If you enjoyed the first game (or similar stealth games) I definitely recommend grabbing this one too.

Review from Steam

𝐋𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐥𝐞 𝐠𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐧 𝐛𝐨𝐲

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