Have you ever played a stealth action game and stopped to think “hey, I wish a forth wall-breaking goblin would call me a whiny loser virgin because a jump glitched out and I fell to my death”? If you’ve had that very specific fantasy, Styx: Shards of Darkness may well be the game you’re looking for.
Shards of Darkness sees you playing the titular goblin Styx, a wealth hungry denizen living hidden in a human settlement trying to steal riches without being discovered. Stay out of sight, perform silent stealth kills and generally try to get through environments, grab valuables, and get the hell out.
While the level design was generally solid, in my time playing the PS4 demo for the game last week was unfortunately littered with weird mechanical and technical issues that frustrated me to no end. I would jump on a vine, try to swing in a new direction, and spend up to 30 seconds fighting with the control scheme to face the way I wanted to leap. I would attempt to jump up a rock wall and miss my landing, falling to my death for seemingly no reason. These little technical hiccups wouldn’t be a big issue, but the forth-wall breaking criticisms of you as a player from the protagonist feel a lot less like humorous jokes and more like irritating jabs when made after a death that feels like the fault of the game.
Generally, the humour and dialogue were well-written and performed. The characterisation for Styx is solid, but any time a technical issue plays a part in player death, that player-aimed humour came off more annoying than amusing.
Shards of Darkness feels very similar to the last Styx game, Master of Shadows. So long as its little technical quirks are cleared up ahead of launch, I fully expect it to be pretty well received again this time around.
[Disclosure – LPVG’s hotel and travel costs were covered while attending the above press event. This included travel from London to Paris and one night in a Paris hotel].