What is Styx Master of Shadows?

Styx Master of Shadows was developed by Cyanide Studios and published by Microsoft Windows in 2014. The stealth videogame acts as a prequel to thee blockbuster hit Of Orcs and Men released two years before. It introduces new characters, revamps the narrative and emphasizes the importance of using tactics and strategies rather than blunt force. The popularity of the game convinced the developers to start work on a sequel, scheduled for release in 2017.

Key facts about Styx Master of Shadows

  • Styx Master of Shadows pits players against different types of enemies and challenges.
  • The gameplay is centered on stealth mechanics and requires a great deal of critical thinking.
  • Styx Master of Shadows missions can be completed in several ways, to ensure replayability.
  • The AI was criticized for being mediocre, something that the sequel addressed.
  • Styx Master of Shadows actual combat and some of the environments get repetitive.

Gameplay of Styx Master of Shadows

Styx Master of Shadows gameplay rewards those who meticulously plan their moves in advance. Leaving stealth to engage opponents directly is a surefire way of failing miserable. The central character has plenty of abilities who help him survive and evade damage. Most of the time is spent in the shadows so the game is less appealing to those who expect a roller coaster of adrenaline. Special abilities such as amber-vision come in handy to locate foes hidden in the dark.

Players can also clone themselves and use magical abilities, to inflict damage upon unsuspecting enemies. The clones play a very important role in exploration and enable players to get a better sense of the map. If the clone is destroyed, the game continues unabated, since the central character is alive and well. The AI is mediocre at best, which makes it too easy for players to outsmart them. Many of the challenges envisioned by the developers are spoiled because of this deficiency.

To mitigate the risks of failure, players are supposed to spend a lot of time observing the moves of their opponents. The Styx Master of Shadows gameplay encourages them to study the guard patrols and use shadow to their advantage. In order to inflict maximum damage without receiving any, they need to set traps and carefully stage accidents. Ideally, players need to take out the guards while maintaining the illusion that their untimely demise was an accident.

Styx Master of Shadows has a few elements that remind players of the role-playing genre. Characters unlock new skills and hone existing abilities as they level up. Furthermore, with each completed mission and quest solved, players will gain the ability of using increasingly powerful weapons.

Screenshot of Styx Master of Shadows Ambush

Plot of Styx Master of Shadows

The Styx Master of Shadows plot is centered on the character called Styx who tries to infiltrate a fortress. This was constructed around the World Tree, which is blessed with magical abilities. At the center of this fortress, he hopes to find and release a friend imprisoned. In the first stages of the narrative, players don’t understand too well the reasons behind these actions, since the character himself is uncertain. His mind is clouded with conflicting memories, but his determination to save his friend is unswerving.

As players solve one mission after the other, they eventually reach their target and release the prisoners. When they do so, it is revealed that he is actually a clone of Styx who was subject to interrogations. Players learn more about his origin, as an orc scholar was turned into a goblin by the powerful magic of World Tree. In order to return to his original form and also silence the maddening voices of elves echoing in his mind, he decided to steal the heart of the World-Tree.

He learns how to create more clones of himself and use them for exploration purposes, but the strategy backfires. The clones don’t like the idea of being used as tools and eventually turn against the original character. This is where the Styx Master of Shadows plot gets more complicated as the clone chases the original deep inside the fortress. He is joined in his quest by many other clones and eventually they corner the original and tear him apart. The World Tree collapses and all but one clones parish under the ruins.

Screenshot of Styx Master of Shadows Hide and Seek

Development of Styx Master of Shadows

Styx Master of Shadows was announced one year after the original game from Cyanide Studios was released. Apparently, work started equally fast, and developers were impressed by the success of the first game. With the new title, their intention was to create a videogame that would emphasize the importance of stealth and subtlety. All the game mechanics point into this direction, as players enjoy unlimited freedom and are even punished for engaging opponents upfront.

The team diligently worked on the gameplay as well as the narrative, but still managed to hit the deadline. The game was scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2014, just in time for Christmas shopping. Once it hit the stores, it sold like hot cookies and didn’t require additional patches to work smoothly. No downloadable packs were released either, but developers announced their intention of making a sequel.

Where can I download Styx Master of Shadows?

Cyanide Studios is the place where people can download the first two games in the series. It’s also the website that the fans should visit if they want to acquire the 2017 release. Styx Shards of Darkness is the latest in the series and players can expect discounts if they purchase the entire bundle. It’s also possible to acquire the game from Microsoft, since this is the publisher of all the games. The game was reasonably priced even when it was released, so today it’s actually a bargain.

Those who own an Xbox One console will find many more games here that are worth a shot. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 4, Fallout 4, Dark Souls 3 and Dishonored 2 are all amazing choices. They cover different genres and will appeal to fans of first-person shooters, strategy games and RPGs. Every now and then, Microsoft will run special promotions and offer discounts on selected titles. The best deals are available to those who purchase wholesale and don’t mind acquiring the entire bundle.

Screenshot of Styx Master of Shadows Giant Leap

What are others saying about Styx Master of Shadows?

Styx Master of Shadows was well received by both critics and players, with an average review score of 70 out of 100. Players were not upset by the fact that the game limited their freedom of attacking opponents directly. Many appreciated the idea of using stealth and shadow to their advantage, game mechanics that at a layer of complexity. The idea of avoiding confrontation at all costs was at the time innovative and other game developers embraced it over the next couple of years.

There were some criticism in regard to the environment, which at times looked plans and uninspiring. Some people complained about the fact that after completing a chain of missions, the next couple of quests all feel mundane. Only a handful had bad things to say about the level of difficulty, which is a matter of fact can be pretty demanding.

My rating of Styx Master of Shadows

I failed to play Styx Master of Shadows at the time it was released, so it flew below my radar until now. What brought me to this game was the fact that the developers were ready to release the third installment in the series. The highly anticipated game is loosely based on the events of its predecessor, so it’s wise to play them both. The 2012 stealth videogame is exciting to play even today but it was probably breathtaking at the time of its release.

I don’t agree with those who criticized the game for discouraging direct combat. It makes little sense to bash a stealth game for doing its best to keep players in the shadows. If you are patient enough don’t mind spending some time just to observe the patterns of your opponents, you will enjoy Styx Master of Shadows. The graphics are probably not the best, but the sound effects are amazing and the story good enough. Overall, this is a fun game to play and one that deserves a review score of at least 7.5/10.