Xbox One Review: Styx: Master of Shadows

Styx returns in this prequel to Of Orcs and Men…

I never played 2012’s “Of Orcs and Men” where Styx made his debut, but his origin game sounds a little different. You play as the original Goblin known as Styx the very first of all the Goblins, he’s a master in the arts of stealth, thievery, and murder.
The depths of the miles-high Tower of Akenash, where Humans and Elves hide and protect the Tree, the source of the Amber, are the best chance Styx has of quickly amassing a small fortune and, perhaps, discover more about his true origins along the way.

At a first glance, Styx doesn’t look that special a game. It has average visuals that look dated even for the last generation of consoles, the controls can be particularly clunky and the combat is almost impossible to overcome…having said that though, the objective is to be stealthy and avoid combat, so it’s not a huge deal…it’s just frustrating when you mess up and are forced into a QTE fight where you’ll probably die. Good news is that you can save anywhere and anytime, allowing you to quickly correct your mistake.

There are RPG elements also, you get XP for completing objectives which you can spend on upgrades to Styx including special moves and lethal weapons in 6 different skill trees. The campaign is quite lengthy and you’ll need to plan ahead for your course of action in each level, taking out torches with sand, making clones of yourself to distract guards and so on. There is a good level of freedom in how you approach your objective, which is always a plus with games like this.

The Verdict

If you can get past the game’s flaws, there’s a deep and enjoyable experience to be found here. Sure, it can be frustrating as hell at times…and will drive you mad with it’s flawed combat, but it is a rewarding game when you do well and avoid the guards the best you can. The presentation does let it down however with long load times, dated visuals and average-to-bad voice acting…the music is pretty good though.