Just ahead of its release, Focus Home Interactive dropped the official launch trailer for Styx: Master of Shadows, the standalone game featuring the stealthy goblin from the game Of Orcs and Men. While the original fantasy-medieval title didn't quite win over critics in any sizable way, it looks as if Cyanide Studios is going after the Assassin's Creed crowd with Styx.
The video covers the story of Styx and the sort of difficult life he leads while trying to do what he does. The trailer is kind of disjointed in a way, as it's hard for anyone coming from the outside looking in to get a firm grasp on what's going on; if you didn't play Of Orcs and Men it's also probably difficult to get an idea of what the character Styx is all about.
Nevertheless, the voiceover and a brief bit on the developer's blog kind of rolls out a brief synopsis of the character, noting...
“As discussed in the gameplay making of video, being a 200 year old goblin, Styx is unique in that his nimble frame and athleticism lets him dance around his environment, relatively quietly with deadly speed and agility. However, while he is fast, agile, and cunning, he is also small, weak, and at constant risk of being surrounded should he knock over a vase, or land noisily, attracting the attention of the guards.”
Story aside, I think that the gameplay is where Styx: Master of Shadows could shine. In fact, that's exactly where a game should shine... it's gameplay.
What we've seen of the gameplay so far actually looks pretty good. It's obviously not an AAA level game but probably closer to a double-A or high-end single-A title. However, the gameplay focuses a lot on map travel and stealth mechanics.
Players are encouraged to move around the stages and utilize Styx's skills, abilities and stealth kills to take down opponents. Sadly, we don't really get to see a lot of the non-stealth combat and how well the A.I., reacts and responds to that kind of outward attack, but if it's passably decent – the combat mechanics – maybe it'll help stave off some of the low scores from critics.
Platforming is also a keen part of the exploration process. We see plenty of jumping, leaping and climbing taking place. A lot of the towering areas where Styx finds himself clinging to or scaling, look awfully similar to the kind of stuff we see from Assassin's Creed. I keep thinking – every time Styx inches to the edge of a platform – we'll see an eagle fly pass and get a nice, inspirational wide-angle shot before the little goblin makes a leap of faith.
I don't know how well this game will fare as a mid-budget title on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, but at least it's not another modern-day military shooter, right? You can learn more about Styx: Master of Shadows by paying a visit to the official website.