Tech News on G4
Styx feels dated
March 29, 2017
By John Powell - G4 Canada
It isn’t easy being green. Just ask Styx.
Named after the river that separates Earth and the Underworld in Greek mythology, the silver-tongued goblin thief of Styx: Master of Shadows and his biting, hysterical dialogue are a laugh riot. He is sarcastic, he is rude, and he is just a great character.
Master of Shadows’ snag is that it has a really engaging personality but does nothing really creative with him. The game is a throwback to stealth games like the original Thief (sorta) or Assassin’s Creed (sorta). Back in the day, it would have fit right in but now with games like Dishonoured or Alien: Isolation as the new standard when it comes to stealth games, Master of Shadows just doesn’t measure up.
The story itself is fine, albeit a little confusing. Styx is on a mission to rescue an imprisoned friend but cannot remember why he feels compelled to risk his life to do so or what this fellow goblin means to him. He hears voices. He has chaotic memories. Although all is explained in the end, you are never quite sure if Styx is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs or if he is the victim of some curse or spell.
Master of Shadows is all about avoiding detection, distracting foes and assassinating them from said shadows. As is the hallmark of most old school stealth games, direct confrontations end in swift, agonizing and miserable deaths.
Styx does have some cool abilities and items to help him stay under the radar. He can conjure up and control a clone of himself to divert and confuse his enemies. Styx can also find invisibility potions and long-range weapons like darts which help him hide under tables, scurry across rooms or zip lines and hang from the rafters. He can put out torches with handfuls of sand and use thrown objects as distractions.
The good thing is that like its stealthy cousin Hitman, there is no one way to approach sneaking aboard that airship or past those guards. Having options frees up the gameplay.
Where things come apart at the seams though are the clunky controls, especially when jumping or swinging with any semblance of accuracy and Styx cannot fight to save his life. Like the original Splinter Cell, once you are caught, you might as well hit reload…and you will be hitting that button very, very often as the stealth mechanic is as unforgiving as a session of Dark Souls.
Compared to its contemporaries, Styx: Master of Shadows feels dated and behind the times and all the one-liners in the world won’t change that. Cyanide Studios has a great character they just need to give him something exciting to do.
Styx: Master of Shadows
Rating: 5 / 10
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.