Styx: Master of Shadows serves as the prequel and second game in the series occupying the same world as that Of Orcs and Men (2012). Unlike the first game though Styx: Master of Shadows pulls out Styx the goblin as the main character and focuses more on stealth than the fantasy action of the original. This new refined focus on stealth is pushed even further through a combat system that disincentives engagement by making it exceedingly difficult and even tedious to fight enemies making it suitable for only the hardcore stealth player.
Styx: Master of Shadows revolves around Styx and his difficult quest to break into the powerful tower of Akenash which floats high in the sky thanks to the magic from World Tree. Styx’s reason for descending into the depths of this near impregnable fortress is to rescue his friend who has been imprisoned in the depths. Styx memory though is hazy at best and his constantly plagued by strange voices that beckon him to further explore and prob the fortress.
Upon reaching the centre prison of the fortress in the sky the mystery of Styx memory loss is uncovered as well as the very origins of Styx which is bound to appease long term fans with the added lore to the universe of Styx and the goblin race. As a goblin Styx is by no means a master of combat and instead relies on stealth and shadows to keep himself alive on his rescue mission and Styx: Master of Shadows funnels players into this game style by being unforgiving in combat design. To assist players complete this rescue and support the stealth gameplay they’ll have a number of arcane based abilities that allow you to avoid being detected.
The most notable ability that Styx possess is the ability to make himself invisible which carries over from the first game (Of Orcs and Men) and provides the most variety but also simplicity. New abilities that Styx now has access to are spread across 6 different skill trees and include agile movement, cloning himself, amber vision to locate points of interest (and loot), increases to carry weight and your ability to assassinate enemies. Each of these skill trees offers 4 levels of skills to pick from which lets you design Styx to suit your preferred playstyle and tactics which gives Styx: Master of Shadows some light RPG elements as you gain experience to unlock these new skills.
As any stealth fan already realises this range of skills provides ample stealth tactics making it easy to scout an upcoming area or creating the perfect distraction for the enemy. With this range of options in tow Styx is a much less punishing stealth game as it removes a significant amount of gameplay risk should players be patient and thoughtful with their approach to each situation.
Should players encounter a protector of the World Tree away from the shadows the chances of survival are slim with combat rarely proving a winning situation for Styx. Even if you do manage to win a fight directly it’s often at the cost of significant resources and time. However, if Styx can assassinate them in the shadows or utilise the environment to organise an accident you are just as deadly as the most skilled warrior that you can encounter in the World Tree.
Styx: Master of Shadows is not for the casual stealth player as combat is rarely an option worth taking. If you’re a stealth fanatic though that loves creeping around a unique setting from the first hour to the last Styx: Master of Shadows is an ideal experience.
- Free your friend from the prison high up in the World Tree fortress.
- Develop your own personal Styx with RPG mechanics across 6 skill trees.
- Use various abilities to outsmart the protectors in the fortress and avoid combat
- Employ clones, special eyes and even invisibility for scouting and distraction.
- A twisty plot line to follow along which provides additional lore to Styx origins.
Review Platform: Xbox One