REVIEWS

Styx: Shards of Darkness Review (PS4)

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Engineer Cyanide’s first endeavor at doing a stealth game was defaced by various issues. With the most recent portion, Styx: Shards of Darkness, it has figured out how to defeat a few of those issues, while presenting a couple of new ones en route. The game is played from the third individual point of view and includes players crossing open-finished situations over an aggregate of nine missions. There is, in any case, one little proviso here – you can’t be spotted. Obviously, it wouldn’t be a stealth game, generally.

You expect the job of Styx, an animal having a place with a troll like race marked as The Green Plague by the decision realm. As the name recommend, the people pulling the strings treat Styx’s race as a scourge and wish to destroy it. For this reason, the domain has built up an association known as C.A.R.N.A.G.E. In any case, the pioneer of this association, Helledryn, chooses to hit an arrangement with Styx. According to their understanding, the last is to board a carrier and take a staff for the previous.

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Quite possibly the biggest improvement over the original is with respect to the narrative structure, and how it manages to uphold an otherwise generic storyline and make it engaging. Much of the credit for this goes to the protagonist, Styx, who is given a likeable personality. He makes witty remarks throughout his journey, often breaking the fourth wall by poking jokes at you or about the development team. It all adds up towards making Styx stand out among a cast of relatively generic characters.

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The game’s open-ended environments are sprawling with members of C.A.R.N.A.G.E., and your job is to see Styx through to his objectives without being seen by them. Getting spotted means imminent death, although even his is presented in light, humorous fashion. You’ll be met with a death screen showing the protagonist passing a remark or two about your skills before the game reloads to a previous checkpoint. Speaking of which, a major frustration with the original was the lack of a quick save feature, resulting in you losing much of your earlier progress upon getting spotted. Fortunately, this has been addressed in the sequel, with the quick save function conveniently mapped to the right d-pad.

Returning mechanics have also fleshed out for the sequel. Amber Vision, which is essentially this game’s equivalent of the Batman Arkham series’ Detective mode, highlights objected that can be interacted with as well as the line of sight of enemies. Styx also has the ability become a latent threat to his enemies by poisoning their food while they aren’t looking. The resulting dead body can then be hidden away in chests. Other special moves include the ability to become invisibility for a few seconds, the ability to use sand to put out torches from a safe distance, as well as a doppelganger-like ability where you can create a clone to distract enemies.

When it comes to stealth games, enemy AI is an integral component of the experience. Unfortunately, the AI in Styx: Shards of Darkness is a hit or miss, often resulting in buggy enemy behavior that results in them breaking routine or getting trapped on environmental objects. During my time with the game, I was able to exploit the weakness of the AI easily by using my powers. However it is extremely hard to create a perfect AI for a stealth game and the only one that came close to it was Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The AI here in Styx: Shards of Darkness is serviceable at best, which is not that bad. The issue is that it is also prone to glitches which can have an effect on the overall experience.

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