Styx: Master of Shadows (PS4) Review

Here’s a list of things I currently dislike the most: Monday mornings, taking the bins out, cleaning the shower, ironing my shirts for work, paying a ridiculous amount for water that falls from the sky and the impending knowledge of my children breaking up from school, having to fill every day with some entertainment stimulus before they turn feral. My house already resembles a scene from Jumanji and they aren’t even at home full time yet.

Did you notice I didn’t include Styx: Master Of Shadows in that list? I’ve waited awhile to write a review for this game as it needed to be played properly. I was honestly nervous to play this game. If you could pitch me a game I would enjoy this would tick a lot of boxes: stealth, a high level of replayability to get a perfect level score, lots of vertical gameplay and multiple options for clearing a level with a awesomely dark world and a even better main protagonist. One of the main things I enjoyed about this game was Styx himself, especially considering that most of the main protagonists in games are a very generic and boring, typically a good looking white man with no visible flaws and not much of a back story. Now Styx is an ugly goblin that swears. People don’t much like him or even know what he is, as he’s the first of his kind, but he honestly doesn’t care much about being hated. Awesome!

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I try not to read other reviews as sometimes games are very subjective like movies but I’ve noticed a lot of criticism in the reviews of Styx: Master Of Shadows around the combat. Honestly, I wonder if the people who have wrote those reviews have even played the game. They have missed the whole point completely. A bit like the man who has recently had plastic surgery to resemble Kim Jong Un. Styx is a plain and simple homage to a true stealth game. It rewards non violent confrontations and it’s not a run and gun game. I personally didn’t want Styx to be able to just smash the hell out of everyone to clear a level. I wanted to be able to think and use my time to plan a route escaping unnoticed, and be rewarded for this. Styx delivers, It’s fair to point out being caught by a guard is pretty much instant death unless you can hide and escape the patrols.

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There is however a much more pressing criticism about this game, the jump button is the same as the grab button. I’m going to repeat this one more time as a good 60% of this game is spent jumping and hanging from ledges. THE JUMP BUTTON IS THE SAME AS THE GRAB BUTTON. Whoever mapped the controls for this game must have been huffing a serious amount of glue when they had the very important task of deciding which buttons controlled what actions. It’s a very frustrating point when it’s make or break trying to jump up a wall and grab a ledge to spectacularly miss. Styx flies through the air, not a care in the world, only to come crashing down to the floor like a episode of Jackass except, this episode ends there as Styx dies. Dropping from heights isn’t a good idea in this game, you have been warned.

Now we have covered two of the most important aspects about what isn’t wrong and what is wrong with Styx now I can tell about all the things that have been done right, The levels and world in this game are amazing. The game is set inside the huge and terrifying Tower of Akenash which seems to provide lots of aerial options to sneak past and around the guards. Styx’s abilities are fun like vomiting up a clone that you can control and use to open doors. Yes you read that right, he pretty much just sicks up a clone and then tells it he hates it which I found funny. The game took me around 15 hours to complete and I wont spoil the story but suffice to say its very fun experience.

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I found Styx enjoyable. If you can get past the somewhat basic Fable styled graphics and give the game the time and effort it requires it will reward you with a fun and rich experience. If however running through the shadows trying to avoid and not shoot people sounds like it would put you to sleep then I wouldn’t bother picking up a copy. Styx is currently free to Playstation Plus members.

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