Insignia Guide: Styx: Master of Shadows

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Styx: Master of Shadows
Great power… – 90gs – Unlock all skills

So you want to unlock all the skills and get the full 1000gs in Styx: Master of Shadows? Well you need to complete every single side-objective and every single Insignia (Shadow, Mercy, Swiftness and Thief) and you will JUST have enough SP. So here is a little guide to getting all of the Insignias.

Your best bet is going to be doing 2 runs at each level.
Your first run is to get Shadow, Mercy and Swiftness. Get the levels done quickly with no alerts and no kills.
Your second run is to get Side Objectives, Relics, and the Tokens. A lot of the Side Objectives take precious time and doing them without alerts or kills can be anywhere from hard to impossible.

Shadow, Mercy & Swiftness

Found this YouTuber who is doing full runs getting all three Insignias.

REMINISCENCES

AKENASH’S ATRIUM

MASTER KEY

DELIVERANCE

THE CREATOR

THE ARCHITECT

CONFLAGRATION

RENAISSANCE

Thief, Side Objectives & Relics

Once unlocked, the Predator skill Omniscience (300 skill points), allows you to see all tokens and enemies even through walls. Here are some videos we’ve been working on showing the exact locations of all the Tokens. Work In Progress. We’ll try to get everything uploaded ASAP.

ALL RELICS

REMINISCENCES

AKENASH’S ATRIUM

Destiny – Iron Banner Info Page

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series Destiny

Iron Banner is here! The newest update for destiny is Crucible with a twist. You know how your level, gear, and weapon’s attack don’t really influence the crucible to much? Other than providing different strategies and game-play. Well in the Iron Banner everything matters. If you’ve got Raid gear, Exotic weapons, and fully upgraded legionaries than you already have the advantage. The Iron Banner is where to go to show off how truly powerful you are with all the amazing gear and weapons you’ve acquired.

Thoughts

I wanted to quickly start off with a little bit of my own thoughts. Overall I was expecting a much bigger difference for Iron Banner over Crucible. I’m level 28 with a few really nice weapons. So I thought I’d have a big advantage over some wet behind the ears level 22 scrub. And I also thought if some Raid master level 30 guy showed up I’d be screwed. When you think about it, if you are level 20 and you try a level 26 mission it’s nearly impossible. And if you’re level 28 and you go patrol earth with level 2 enemies you tear them to shreds. So I expected that same scale for Iron banner. But really the difference is minimal. As I was playing a match I had the same success as normal. It didn’t feel like I died quicker or slower or that I killed quicker or slower. Everyone in the room was anywhere from level 24 to level 29. But overall it didn’t seem like it mattered. Same old crucible, which is fine, I still have fun and usually play quite well, but it was a surprise. Then suddenly a level 2 guy showed up! LEVEL 2! OOOOO I can’t wait to kill with with one bullet right? Ehhhh not so much. He did take maybe 2 or 3 bullets less for my Surgos Regime, but for someone 26 levels lower I thought it would be a much bigger difference. What’s the point in my 300 attack gun when he’s got 76 defense? Shouldn’t he disintegrate when I just look at him? Yes he’s weaker for sure than me. But I expected a big difference, not just 2 or 3 bullet difference. I was even more surprised when he sniped me with two shots. The first shot took out all but a hair of my shields, the next one finished me off. The attack on that level 2 sniper must be incredibly small. How’d it two shot me with my 1,275 defense? Overall, like I’ve said a bunch of times, I’m confused that the difference in Iron Banner isn’t as advertised. Skill still wins, and that’s awesome, but I thought Iron Banner was more of a show-off version of the crucible and it doesn’t quite seem so.

INFO

Iron Banner works just like Crucible. Every match is played in Control and the maps are the same we’ve been playing since launch. XP is normal and helps for progressing and new unlocks for your weapons and gear. For a win you get 3 Crucible marks, a loss is 2. 25 Iron banner reputation for a win, 12 for a loss. Reputation can be used to get more gear and weapons. What to do with that rep, look below. To fast forward the process of getting more, also look below! (Easy huh?)

Ranking in Iron Banner Reputation

Getting to rank 1 is very easy, you only need 100 reputation points. Rank 2 is much longer, but still a lot shorter than the average rank 2 for other things like vanguard, crucible, etc. To get to Rank 2 you need 1,200 more reputation. For rank 3, well I’ll let you know as soon as I get to it! Also I want to know if you can get a free legendary for making rank 3, like you do with everything else, I’m going to get there and test that out and let you know.

Lord Saladin: IRON BANNER

Lord Saladin is where to go to buy Iron Banner gear and weapons. Everything he sells is legendary. The awesome part about it is that it’s super cheap. Both weapons and gear only cost 10 crucible marks. Each peice of armor focuses on Intellect and Strength, so not Discipline. (And light of course)
Here’s a list of everything sold at the IRON BANNER store.
–TWO SHADERS: 1,000 Glimmer for the rank 1 shader and 3,000 Glimmer for the rank 3 shader.
–TWO EMBLEMS: 1,000 Glimmer for the rank 1 shader and 3,000 Glimmer for the rank 3 shader.
–CLASS ITEM: There’s one class item for each class, it costs 2,000 Glimmer and requires rank 2.
–WEAPONS: As of now there’s just one weapon for sale, 10 marks and requires rank 3.
JOLDER’S HAMMER~Machine Gun: You need to be Rank 3 to be able to purchase this, it costs 10 marks. From looking at the stats it looks like it’s pretty lame. Only 26 bullets in the clip. Very nice impact and good rate of fire. But everything else is very low including terrible stability.
–GEAR: Here’s where it get’s interesting. There are not the same amount of options available for every class. The Hunter only has one option and so does the Warlock but the the Titan has two. These options are for different pieces of gear too, some for chest and some for gauntlets. I’m not sure why they did this, it’s confusing to me. But here’s the list of each one nonetheless.
HUNTER: Chest Armor for 10 marks, +66 Intellect and +66 Strength. Carry more Fusion and Pulse ammo(IT’S GOT A COOL LOOKING TREE ON IT!)
WARLOCK: Gauntlets for 10 marks, +44 Intellect and +43 Strength. Increased pulse rifle reload speed and increased melee speed(It looks like…everything else)
TITAN Chest Armor for 10 marks, +66 Intellect and +65 Strength. Carry more Fusion and Pulse ammo(MORE TREES)
Gauntlets for 10 marks, +44 Intellect and +43 Strength. Increased pulse rifle reload speed and increased melee speed(It also looks boring and normal)

Bounties

There are Iron Banner specific bounties for the new destiny update. These bounties give you XP as well as Iron Banner Reputation that is good for buying items from Lord Saladin(he’s the world biggest salad fan).
The Iron Banner bounties can only be progressed and unlocked in the Iron Banner. However if you want to unlock Crucible bounties while in the Iron Banner that works just fine. So once you complete the Iron Banner bounties go get come Crucible ones as well so you can work on those.
Here are a list of the bounties that were given for day one.
ANVIL OF LIGHT: Defeat 50 Guardians while competing in the Iron Banner, with Iron Banner Class, Emblem and Shader items equipped. Worth 75 Iron Banner Rep and 3,750 XP
HARD FORGED: Earn 10,000 XP while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. Worth 75 Iron Banner Rep and 3,750 XP
IRON WRATH: Defeat 10 Guardians without dying while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. Worth 50 Iron Banner Rep and 2,500 XP
RISE ABOVE: Complete an Iron Banner match with the highest score. Worth 100 Iron Banner Rep and 5,000 XP.
FOCUSED AGGRESSION: Defeat 50 Guardians with Auto Rifle headshots while completing in the Iron banner tournament. Worth 50 Iron Banner Rep and 2,500 XP.
EXACTING MEASURES: Earn 15 Headshot Sprees while competing in the Iron Banner tournament. Worth 100 Iron Banner Rep and 5,000 XP
As you can see, nothing to crazy and out of the ordinary.

As soon as we find out more info we will fill in the gaps and let you know.
Thanks!
-Bam

Review: Defense Grid 2

Defense Grid 2
box_defensegrid2_w160
Cost
$24.99
Format
Digital
Size
1.44 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PS4
Release Date
9/24/14
Developer
Hidden Path Entertainment/505 Games
Publisher
Hidden Path Entertainment/505 Games
Modes
Single Player and Co-Op

Defense Grid 2 is a tower defense style strategy game in the same vein as its predecessor, Defense Grid: The Awakening. The aim of the game is to stop aliens from invading your base and stealing your precious power cores by placing upgradeable towers on the map. If you lose all of them it is game over. The great thing about Defense Grid is how it differs from other tower defense games I have played. When an alien steals a power core it isn’t gone until said alien leaves the map with it. So you can scramble and kill the retreating aliens with added towers if need be whilst they try and escape the map. I found that I was killing the majority of aliens whilst escaping.

At the start of each mission you are given a set amount of resources to spend on buying towers. You get to choose from 9 different towers ranging from guns to missiles and lasers, along with a booster tower which increases the effectiveness of any tower you place on top of it. Each tower can be upgraded a maximum of two times. All of which will cost you more resources which will consistently replenish throughout the mission. You also get extra resources as a wave end bonus at the end of certain waves. As you progress through the missions, you can be randomly rewarded with tower augmentations which you can equip to your towers (one at a time) to increase their power or add abilities such as targeting the most powerful enemy first. Defense Grid 2 does a great job of incorporating the different towers as you progress through the missions so you are not bombarded with too many options from the word go.

Along with being able to place towers on the map, you also have a special ability to use which is determined by which Command Team you choose to take with you on the mission. After using all abilities in different situations, I never really used them again as there was no need for it. Maybe if I was competent enough to play through it on a harder difficulty level (yes, I am a strategy baby, so I played it on Easy…but I’m World number 1 on mission 11!) the special abilities would have played a larger part in my strategies.

Leaderboards

Yeah, proud of that. Leaderboards are a prominent feature and in each mission your score is racing against your friend with the closest score.

At the end of each mission, based on your performance you can receive a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal. I can’t give you the requirements for scoring well in the game as I have received Gold medals with only one power core remaining, all power cores remaining and using all resources or hardly spending any at all. So it is a bit confusing how consistently get high scores.

The missions in this game are not short by any means. With some missions having 100 waves of aliens, you will notice that they can take up quite a significant chunk of time. But with the RB button, you can speed the game up. If it wasn’t for this feature I can honestly say I would have been bored out of my mind within the first few missions. The default speed the aliens attack is mind numbingly slow. I would have preferred it if there was a slow down button with the sped up game play being the default. I only ever played on the default speed at the beginning of each mission to set my initial towers and if all my power cores had been stolen. The other quite nifty feature is the ability to revert to your last checkpoint by pressing LB. In too deep with wave 48 of 50 and wished you had a set of concussion towers next to the base? Tap that LB button and go back in time unpunished. I didn’t actually use this feature much, mostly due to the fact I was playing on Easy, but I can see how this feature can be indispensable for strategists playing on the higher difficulties.

Speaking of the difficulty level, as I mentioned above, I played through the campaign on Easy after dabbling with the Normal difficulty and having my rear handed to me on a plate several times over. I have no idea how anyone can complete the game on Hard, never mind the highest difficulty, Elite. With that being said, Easy was just too easy. Unless there was more than one core to defend, I could literally use exactly the same defense layout on each mission. It didn’t even seem to matter what towers I used either. I managed to get gold ratings on every mission I played whilst grinding out some of the achievements for placing 100 of each tower.

Including the prologue, there are 21 missions to go through in the single player portion of the game. Each mission begins with a wall of text for you to read which gives you the outline of the story, which is bland at best. Not really worth mentioning to be honest. Each Command Team you encounter has their own dialogue and whilst some of the dialogue can be quite amusing, they don’t really add anything to the story at all. Although 21 missions doesn’t sound like much, each mission has plenty of different challenge modes to choose from, really adding a huge amount of replayability to the game. Each challenge mode has certain rule changes for example, in ‘Out of Bullets’ you are tasked with defending your base without the use of Gun or Cannon towers.

joke

General Fletcher showing off some of his British wit.

Something I noticed that Hidden Path Entertainment should really be commended for is the inclusion of a community suggested game type. In the first 7 missions there is a challenge mode called ‘Fully Loaded’ which gives you all tower types to beat that mission and they have even credited the community member for the suggestion which I think is a really nice touch.

Although I found the story uneventful, the levels couldn’t be more opposite. Yes, the levels look unappealing to me and they look very similar, but each one plays very differently. Some levels have you defending one base with a myriad of options as to where to put your towers, as well as several paths for the aliens to attack your base. In those instances you have to block off the paths with towers to funnel the aliens towards the path you want them to take. Others have you defending two bases with several paths where aliens could attack from or a set path with limited options as to where to put down your defenses. On top of this variation, some later levels change their structure by adding sections of the map for the aliens to divert across.

If you find yourself overwhelmed in a certain area, you can buy extra sections of the map by using the command shuttle to sway the tide in your favor.

Speaking of the many game modes, Defense Grid 2 comes with three multiplayer modes. The first one is DG Fighter where you compete against another player and any aliens you defeat will appear on their side of the map and vice versa. The second is Co-op Doubles which has two players working together on a single map. Lastly there is DG Coordinated Defense which has you and another player attacking the same aliens on the same map but you each get allocated positions for your towers to be placed. I cannot really give much of an opinion on these modes because I was unable to find a match. Whilst searching for a match you can continue playing missions on single player if you wish, which is something more games should definitely incorporate.

Even though Defense Grid 2 has an immense amount of replayability, the high price tag that comes with it will probably make a lot of gamers that aren’t already a fan of Defense Grid to go get their fix elsewhere until it either appears on sale or as a free download as part of Games With Gold. Although I do feel the price point is a bit lofty, if you enjoy Tower Defense games you will not be left disappointed. That there, is the problem. Unless the price decreases, Defense Grid 2 is only really going to appeal to that niche audience in my opinion.

Onto my favorite part of every game…the achievements. Defense Grid 2 boasts a huge list of achievements, 65 to be exact. Ranging from placing 100 of each tower to defeating 50,000 aliens and the humdinger of them all, achieving 100 Gold Medals across any mission. You get 21 Gold Medals from the story mode, the rest are going to be obtained from completing all the different types of challenge modes for the missions. There are plenty to choose from but it is a bit of a grind. I’m sitting at just under 40 right now and took a break from it. But I am looking forward to picking it back up in a few days to get the remaining 60ish. All in all it is a good list with a variety of tasks you need to perform. Just a little note, any achievements that you should unlock during a mission will not unlock until after the mission is complete, so don’t panic!

Overall, Defense Grid 2 is a fantastic addition to the Tower Defense genre with spectacular level designs that will really get you thinking about where to put your defenses. Although the story is severely lacking, the sheer amount of different game modes available more than makes up for it. The only real sticking point is the price.

 

PROS:
1) Tons of replayability
2) Great level design
3) Tower Defense game play at its best

CONS:
1) Price point too high
2) Bland story

8.0
EXCELLENT

 

Achievement Guide: Styx: Master of Shadows

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Styx: Master of Shadows
Skill Based Achievements

These all require you to earn enough SP to unlock them by completing objectives and earning insignias in missions. Then you can spend the SP on skills while at the hideout.

Wrong turn – 15gs – Kill an enemy with a covered kill

Skill KILL – then it’s the first ability, COVERED KILL. It costs 40 SP. Simply use RT to hug a wall, as a guard walks past you will get the option to use X to do a kill.

Goblin-tossing – 15gs – Kill an enemy with an aerial kill

Skill KILL – then it’s the second ability, AERIAL KILL. It costs 60 SP. Then get above an enemy and jump towards them. While in the air hit X to perform a aerial kill.

Dodge this – 15gs – Kill an enemy who was bound by a clone

Skill CLONING – then it’s the first ability, BIND. It’s costs 30 SP.
When you get close to a enemy as a clone you can press X to Bind them. Then switch to Styx and run over and kill the guard while he tries to wrestle your clone off.

Suicide mission – 30gs – Eliminate a guard with a booby trapped clone

Skill CLONING – then it’s the second ability, POUNCE
Spawn a clone and then have them enter a closet or chest. Then either wait for a guard to wander by on his own or alert him and lead him to your clone.

Like looking through a wall – 30gs – Manage to disable three guards, or more, inside a clone’s smoke bomb


The 3rd ability in the Clone skill tree is an Advanced Smoke Bomb that will make this easier to get. Then round up 3 guards, set off the smoke bomb before they can kill your clone. That’s it. I thought you had to eliminate the guards but it unlocks right as you set off the smoke bomb.

Reload Based Achievements

All of these can be accomplished once you find a suitable spot by saving your game, doing the requirement once and then reloading and starting over. All of these will also of course unlock over the course of the game but you wouldn’t be reading an achievement guide if you didn’t want your achievements ASAP.

Army of clones – 15gs – Create 30 clones
Expendable – 15gs – Let 15 clones die
Unquenched thirst – 15gs – Drink 20 vials of amber

You should work on these 3 together. Make sure you have 2 Amber Vials and save the game near a guard. Summon a Clone with LT+A getting 1 create. Run the clone into a guard getting 1 death. Then drink 1 potion for Unquenched. Do that pattern once more, then reload.

Born in the shadow – 15gs – Extinguish 30 torches

Some flames can be extinguished just by walking up to them and pressing Y. You can also use the Sand item to extinguish from a distance. This is not something you need to worry about though. You will get near the entire 30 just in the opening mission if you makes sure to do it every chance you get. There are some flames that can not be extinguished.

Passkey – 15gs – Unlock 20 doors

Lots of doors in the Intro mission. If you really really really want this one bad just save before a door. Unlock and open it, reload, repeat, etc.

Sticky-fingered – 90gs – Pick pocket 15 guards
Sharpshooter – 30gs – Kill more than 40 guards with throwing knives (secret)

You will visually see if a guard has an item you can pickpocket. If they do get close and hit Y to grab it. You have to have room for the item to be able to grab it. Also, if you kill the guard first the item is destroyed.
Near the start of the second mission, Akenash’s Atrium, there is a guard going up and down some long stairs that has a Throwing Knife to pickpocket. He’s on the right side of the level right near a wooden platform you can hide under. Have one on you when you get here so you have room to pickpocket one. Save the game and then use it on him and another nearby guard. 1 Pickpocket and 2 Throwing Knife kills.

Sudden Silence… – 30gs – Kill 50 enemies without making noise (secret)

Only the Muffled Kills you get from sneaking up on an enemy and holding Y count for this achievement.

Serial Killer – 30gs – Eliminate 200 enemies (secret)

Throwing Knifes, Chandeliers, Muffled Kills. Whatever you want to use. Just make sure it adds up to 200.

Outstanding duelist – Kill 20 enemies in duel (secret)

Any open combat is considered a duel. Simply Parry until you get the Kill with X option.

One Time Achievements

All of these are for doing specific requirements at a specific time. We’ll tell you an easy place to do them. You just go there and do it!

Music Lover – 15gs – You looked at the World Tree a bit too long… (secret)


Intro mission Reminiscence. Right after you get your dagger you will come out and face the World Tree. Climb up to the first beam and head out to the edge looking at the World Tree and a song will start. It’s about 2 minutes. Just wait out the song for the achievement to unlock.

Watch out below! – 15gs – Kill two or more enemies by making a chandelier drop on them


Mission 1: Akenash’s Atrium, Section 1. You will be given a sub quest by your friend in the hideout to kill Godebert. You will find him on the way through the mission conveniently standing under a crate. Simply climb the sacks beside him and unfasten the crates. It will kill both Godebert and his friend giving you the achievement but since his friend also dies it will count against No Kills.

Indigestion – 15gs – Kill an enemy by poisoning the food


Mission 1: Akenash’s Atrium, Section 3. As you start to follow Ector you will go up some stairs. At the top is a food bag you can Poison. Then move slowly towards the 2 guards we are talking. When they finish talking one with path around and eat the food and after a bit drop dead giving you the achievement. Reload to a previous save if you are going for no kills.

Dose of His Own Medicine – 30gs – Kill a torturer in a duel (secret)


First one I found was in mission 3, Deliverance in Section 3, Laboratories. You will come to a section that is most definitely a torture chamber. Save the game before engaging the enemies. There was a basic white robed enemy, a black robed torturer and a knight. I throwing knifed the basic enemy and engaged the torturer to a duel. Once he was down the achievement unlocked. Then die to the knight and reload so you don’t have a kill on this mission.

Goblin snack – 15gs – Give an orc one of your clones to eat


Immediately after the torturer area in Deliverance – Laboratories you are introduced to orcs. Simply create a clone and walk it up to a orc in a cell. The orc will reach through and grab it and achievement unlocked.

Mission Achievements

These all relate to finishing missions in specific ways. For the most part you want to try for no alerts, no kills for your first run. Then murder everyone to get them out of the way and search for those tokens.

Reminiscences – 15gs – Finish the introduction
Akenash’s Atrium – 15gs – Finish Mission 1
Master key – 15gs – Finish Mission 2
Deliverance – 15gs – Finish Mission 3
The creator – 15gs – Finish Mission 4
The architect – 15gs – Finish Mission 5
Conflagration – 15gs – Finish Mission 6
Renaissance – 90gs – Finish Mission 7 (secret)

These all will unlock at the ending stat screen for the missions.

My precious – 90gs – Gather all the treasures


This is for getting all the Relics in the game. Each mission contains one Relic. Under the Pause menu you can tab over to the Relic section and get a visual clue as to where the Relic is in the level.

Tidy up your room! – 15gs – No body found during a mission

This is fairly simple on any mission because you can save and reload as much as you want. Very easy during the Intro mission. Obviously if you are going for a no kill run then you get this since there were no bodies to be found. If you do have to kill someone just make sure to hid the body in any of the billion hiding spots that are everywhere.

Great power… – 90gs – Unlock all skills

You will need ALL of the available SP for this. 1330 SP to fully unlock the first 6 sets of skills. The Predator set unlocks by completing 2 complete sets of skills. This set contain 4 really powerful abilities but cost you another 990 SP. You must complete ALL side objectives and ALL Insignias for this. Every single point is required.
Check out our separate page for Insignia Video Guides right here: Insignia Guide: Styx: Master of Shadows

Pretentious – 30gs – Do not use any item during a mission

I did this on Mission 2, Master Key. Just don’t use any items. You can call your Clone, but don’t drink any Amber, don’t drink any Life, etc, etc.

Unseen, unknown – 100gs – Unlock the Insignia of the Shadow for each mission

There are 4 Insignias you can earn at the end of each mission. This includes Reminiscences, the intro. Shadow is for have no alerts triggered. Only RED alarms matter. You can go Yellow and Orange all you want. You can use a TON of saves and just reload if you get seen. If you miss it on the first playthrough of a mission when you replay in the pause menu you can see how many alerts you have set off. Only Human and Elf alarms matter and alarms for your clone don’t count against you. Although not mentioned, Clone alerts on The Creator and Renaissance count against you also.

Review: Styx: Master of Shadows

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Styx: Master of Shadows

Styx: Master of Shadows
box_styxmasterofshadows_w160
Cost
$29.99
Format
Digital
Size
6.48 GB
Available On
Xbox ONE [Reviewed], PS4, Steam
Release Date
10/8/14
Developer
Cyanide
Publisher
Focus Home Interactive
Modes
Single Player

Styx is a stealth game that is billed as a story prequel to Of Orc and Men. You play Styx, the first Goblin, who was one of the NPC characters in Of Orc and Men as he tells his story of trying to steal the heart of the World Tree. Styx: Master of Shadows is told over 8 missions and is a digital only game that costs $30 on Xbox ONE. Each mission runs about 30 or so minutes but takes about 2 to 3 hours each because of the shear number of deaths and reloads. Being a stealth game though if you follow someone’s perfect guide its going to go a lot faster. Digital only games over $15 are a hard sell as people are just getting used to the idea that on the ONE there is no distinction. There are just games, big and small, cheap and not so cheap. So does Styx: Master of Shadows have enough quality gameplay to justify the $30 price?

Styx is a pure stealth game in that there is no run and gun option. You can kill enemies in stealthy manners, like from behind or hidden from a chest, but direct confrontation is a recipe for death. When you are seen and attacked you have to successfully parry several attacks, with the harder the enemy the more parries needed, before you are given a direct kill option. Which seems fine since you are just a little hunched over Goblin and not made for direct contact with Humans UNTIL you see Styx pick up these fallen enemies and just toss them about like rag dolls so he definitely has the strength to just win any battle. So chalk that up to a thematic choice to keep with the straight up stealth style of the game but a blunder none the less. The thing that Styx excels at is little touches that other stealh games miss out on. The biggest is accidents. Accidents don’t count against you and don’t make guards freak out and instantly start searching for a spy in their midst. Don’t get me wrong, they react, but in a realistic fashion. Worried about what happened, but not insane about it. Noise levels are handled extremely well. Knocking over broom and kicking pots is going to make some noise and get people investigating as it should.

styx_02

As far as the story is concerned, let’s play a drinking game. Every time Styx has a line of dialogue where he mentions his headache, take a drink. You’ll be dead before the end of the first mission. The story is told in cutscenes and in game audio dialogue. The story does luckily pick up in the first mission but it’s presented in a weird fashion. The opening level story is told in a in-game rendered cutscene. This is followed up by in-game dialogue as you go through the mission. But after you finish a mission the wrap up, which is technically a continuation of opening story, is told with audio over paintings. It just comes off weird because it’s all part of the same scene where Styx is relaying the story so why such a huge change in style? Then we start the next mission and it’s back to cutscene.

So what does Styx add to the stealth genre? The whole game is about finding and drinking Amber to power Styx’s abilities with the main ability being that Styx can clone himself and use the clone for various activities. Most of which revolve around the clone being able to squeeze through small areas to activate doors for Styx to go through. The big problem with the clones is that only Styx or the clone can act at once. If you need to move Styx, the clone is just standing around waiting. Then you have Styx wait while the clone moves. There is no go do this while I do this other thing. The clones has 4 abilities but the best abilities are all attack oriented and this is in a non-combat oriented stealth game. This leave you with using the clone as distraction so you can sneak past. The thing that is nice is the game doesn’t count clone alerts against you for the sake of stealth. All in all the clones felt like more of a hindrance and kind of gimicky then something that helped me move forward in the game mainly because of the time it take to switch between the two. The guards would already be in the process of resetting before I could even get Styx to start to try to sneak past them.

This comes to Styx: Master of Shadows best point. Pathing. There are a multitude of ways to get from A to B in this game. There is almost always ways up, through, or under any obstacle. Some are quite obvious, but the best ones need to be scouted and discovered. Your Amber Vision points out things that can be grabbed and showcases graphical hints that certain ways may lead to collectibles or simpler travels. One of the issues with the game is Styx’s movement through these levels. Since we are going for stealth precise jumps are extremely important to the game to navigate the ledges above the enemies, Styx’s movement through the game is kind of stiff. I find myself saving quite a bit as even the slightest misstep could send you 4 levels down to either your direct death, a crowd of enemies, or just the inconvenience of having to do everything over again. When most of the best routes are above the ground it adds a false level of difficulty just based on how awful the jumping is.

Styx uses the Unreal engine for graphics and it’s presented in what I would call a dumbed down Dishonored. They have a very similar look but Dishonored was just so much crisper. Styx also suffers highly from the Stormtrooper problem. There only seems to be 4 or 5 guards models so you’ll be stabbing or sneaking past the same guy about a billion times. The lip sync on cutscenes is also just enough off to be distracting. The graphics are definitely above average, just not as clean as I’ve know the Unreal Engine can be. The levels themselves are pretty good looking and are extremely varied so although the enemies repeat, the level design is fresh.

styx_01

Styx does feature a skills progression system. There are 5 categories and each category contains 4 upgrades. When you complete objectives in the game or finish a mission with special criteria, like no alerts or no deaths, you earn Skill Points. You can spend these back at your Hideout between missions to improve Styx. Things like producing less noise, using a visions ability to find collectibles or being able to do a death from above kill. You can also upgrade your clone so that he can grab enemies for you to run up and get the quick kill or even cooler is you can place a clone in a chest or closet and he will kill any enemies that happen to wonder by. Besides the 4 clone abilities they are all typical stealth skills that every single stealth game in the universe is using.

The collectibles are horrible. Each level seems to have 10 Tokens / Coins you need to find per section. These must be found in one playthough of a mission to unlock the thief insignia for that level. Until you get all the tokens in all sections of a level restarting a mission will reset your progress for that level. I’m sure people will come up with 100% stealth, no kill, get all coins videos but for your average gamer you are going to be doing a lot of playthroughs of a mission to get everything completed. Most of the coins are right next to enemies almost forcing you go on the attack if you want to get them all.

All in all Styx is a fine game and a generally good time. It simply doesn’t push the stealth genre to anything new or exciting. If you come to Styx as a Run and Gunner stealth player you’re going to have a hard time adjusting to this sneaky combat system. You’re going to die a lot. This game is set up more towards Outlast where you are punished for being seen. It is possible to escape and hide, in fact like most stealth game enemies give up pretty quick [like seriously? If you see an enemy combatant in your base you just figure you were day dreaming if you don’t catch him in 2 minutes? This is ALL stealth games], but the name of the game is stealth. If you are a pure stealth fan than it is worth the $30.

NOTE: If you are playing Styx and need help we do have an Achievement Guide right here on GameGuideCentral!

PROS:
1) Strong level design
2) Strong stealth mechanics

CONS:
1) Minimal enemy differences
2) Large sections of non-precise jumping

7.5
Good