If you played the game Of Orcs and Men then perhaps you are familiar with Styx. The skulking goblin sidekick who helps the Orcs through the story in their battle against the corrupt humans and elves. Well now Styx is getting his own game and this disgusting little goblin made quite an impact on us at GDC. Styx is a stealth game in the vein of Thief or Assassin's Creed. Styx is a goblin after all so going straight into a fight with warriors or inquisitors does not do well for him. He must keep hidden and find new ways to accomplish his goals.
We started the demo by breaking someone out of an insane dungeon within the human kingdom. There are many levels to each hallway, room, floor, and even up walls and towers where Styx can hide, walk, climb, and jump. The sheer depth of environments that Styx has access to makes hiding and sneaking around a strategic masterwork to get around guards or nobles. He can also use what is around him to take out foes. The heavily armored knight won't die to backstab, but Styx can get crafty by dropping a huge chandelier on his head. There are lots of ways to use the certain items in the rooms as traps if you get caught by the guards.
Styx himself has ways to level up his abilities. You chose to got up the assassin branch which will give you some good attacks in a fight, but really give you powerful sneak attacks to take out foes. You can also level up skills in your inventory tree. Styx has all kinds of different weapons from throwing knives, his trusty short sword, and bottles of acid or smoke. Using Styx's bag of tricks is a whole skill tree in and of itself. The last tree to build up is the clone tree. In true disgusting goblin form Styx vomits out a pile of goop which then turns into a clone. The clone tree gives you ways to spec out your clones for better fighting abilities or even bursting into smoke for a quick getaway. The other element which gives you different abilities is using Amber. Amber is the course of magic in the game and acts more like a drug than anything else. The elves look like junkies from so much use. Styx like everyone else is addicted to amber as well, but it gives him some great abilities. Like a short burst of invisibility. Styx's addiction to amber can be seen by his tattoo. Some of the areas to hide are very dark in the game and The tattooist there to help the player keep a good eye on where you are at any moment. Amber also can give you a type of x-ray vision to check on areas before you enter.
You will need to stay alert the whole time because in the prison sequence we watch there were lots of ways to get caught. There is visual detection and sound detection in the game. So if you jump from too high or knock something over you can get caught very easily. All of the NPCs have indicators over their heads to warn you if they see you. At one point in the demo we jumped in front of the guards and they were relentless in their pursuit. We even tried to hide in several places and had no luck as more guards joined the chase.
The game's control system is easy to learn but can be difficult to master as you take bigger risks. The environments have lots of places to hide and skulk in a true stealth game fashion. It was fast to move up the walls or down the hall ways. Areas are lit by torches which Styx and put out by jumping up and snuffing them. The gameplay really brings in all of the fun that a true stealth game should have. In one sequence Styx had to use a smoke clone to confuse some guard in a large room and then quickly switched to invisibility while in the smoke to make it the rest of the way. Nothing beats killing guards with throwing knives or extremely violent backstabs.
We were very impressed by Styx. The multiple strategies within the stealth game really mixed well with the seemless gameplay. The only downside is that Styx offered about twelve hours of game time with eight missions to complete. In watching the demo we could see how this game will leave players wanting more. If you are a stealth RPG fan, then Styx is definitely going to be for you. It is coming out on the PC hopefully in the third quarter this year.
Garrett Fuller / Garrett is the Industry Relations Manager for MMORPG.com. He cosplays as an orc, plays X-Wing on weekends, and loves Adventure Time. You can follow him on Twitter (when he uses it) @Gfulls.