get gobbed

Styx: Master of Load Game

Styx: Master of Shadows is a stealth adventure game where you play as a goblin. I hate goblins, but this game is pretty great.

Styxhexenhammer is a libertarian YouTuber who makes videos about politics. (I promised I'd work this in somehow, I have no idea what's happening or what happened to him, I don't care, I'm just going to write it anyway) He started getting really popular after the first of Trump's two Presidential victories, being one of the few to predict it. I heard he recently left his blonde haired, blue eyed wife for an ancient owl deity, which is unfortunate. I remember him telling a story about having seen an owl deity many years ago, so maybe it came back for him. I don't know anything about the situation. I'd say it's likely a demon, especially if it's convincing him to break his sacred marital bond. Marriage isn't some casual contract, it's a vow between man and woman under God. Even a "secular" marriage has an obligation by definition to remain unbroken. So if some owl is telling Styx to leave his wife, it's not a good owl.

Ancient pagans in certain parts of the world practiced various forms of "druidism" involving communication with many different animals and creatures. C.S. Lewis believed that all good things are in communion with God whether they know it or not, or even whether they like it or not. In the last Chronicles of Narnia book, a few pagans are allowed to go "onward and upward" with the followers of Aslan due to their righteousness. In That Hideous Strength, the famous sorcerer Merlin is forgiven by God when he comes to know of Him. Christianity has a long history of honoring, or at least tolerating, "Righteous pagans". Most of them weren't, and fewer today are.

The difference between righteous pagans and Styxhexenhammer is that they were doing good work. It's too much of a stretch for me to come up with a scenario where Styx leaving his wife for an "owl god" is the Lord's work. I *can* come up with a scenario, but I *won't*, because Occam's Razor tells us that Styx is just being manipulated by a demon, and that everyone should pray for him. (This concludes the Styxhexenhammer section)

Unlike demons, GOBLINS are not *always* necessarily evil. The ancient tree-worshippers believed in all sorts of various imps and gnomes, who were often merely mischevious rather than outright evil.

And that's what Styx (The Goblin, not the YouTuber) is. A foul-mouthed little thief who does kill, but is also more than capable of making deals, making friends, and even caring for people. He's a compelling character, who's relatable even when he's being an asshole.

As Styx, you find yourself in some kind of a tower-city surrounding a tree, and you're trying to steal the Heart of the Tree for a reason you(Styx) are not entirely sure of. The story, told in still-image cutscenes, is surprisingly good. I'd call it a REALLY good story and I'll say no more. Despite being rude and gross, Styx is pretty cool. He's got a cool hood, and it's funny to scurry around, bare feet plopping on the stone floors, as this broad-shouldered little runt who's stronger than men twice his size. He's like a Featherweight UFC fighter, but he's a weight bully who actually belongs at Lightweight or even Welterweight. Styx is BUILT, but he's SMOL. It's funny and cool. I take back him being a weight bully though, because he's light enough for enemies to lift up. So it's maybe closer to say he just has a kind of ant strength.

The story is slightly hindered by what feels like padding for the sake of lengthening the game. Styx is constantly being distracted from his main goal, being sent on these kind of side quests (which for YOU are the unskippable main quests). The lesser-details of the story are so dull I literally can't even remember why Styx has to go to half the placees he does.

But that's OK, because where Styx goes are some of the best-designed levels in any game. There's a level of verticality that's reminiscent of Dishonored, or Assassin's Creed. Or even some of the Splinter Cell games. There's plenty of climbable walls and you'll always be looking to get to a good vantage point so you can get the drop on guards, in the form of actually dropping on top of them and knifing them.

The guards have the classic "stealth game intellect", but they have one big advantage that I've never experienced so harshly: their numbers.

In the later levels of the game, it feels like there's a guard around every corner. And that's because there is. There are SO many enemies in this game, it can be annoying. Dozens and dozens in each level. None of them are a problem by themselves, and you can always give a whistle to lure one over to you. But if he's close to a friend, he's bringing his friend with him. Now what are you going to do?

Styx has a few different tools and powers to deal with enemies, but nothing like many other stealth games. No double-kills for you. Usually if you get caught, you can either use some of your precious Amber to turn invisible temporarily, or you can reload. If you try to fight more than one enemy at a time, you're going to get rped. Fighting an enemy consists of a "duel" where you must block their strikes a certain number of time to throw them off balance so you can counter them. Enemies graciously wait and allow you to duel one man at a time, but if you win and try to get your counter in, *that's* when they'll strike you, mid-animation when you can't block. So fighting more than one enemy is guaranteed damage. If they're stronger enemies, it's guaranteed death.

Thankfully, as the name of the game might imply, Styx is a Master of Shadows, and is almost-invisible when standing in them. You have to be only a few feet away for someone to see you in the dark, which usually lets you move around fairly easily. Since even stealth kills aren't *completely* quiet, it's often easier to just avoid enemies entirely than try to kill them. You can also create a clone of yourself with some limited abilities. They're good for scouting, and if you destroy it yourself rather than let it get killed, you get refunded the cost of creating them.

But the greatest skill in your arsenal is the ability to MANUALLY SAVE whenever the hell you want to, allowing you to avoid losing minutes of progress over a mistake you will inevitably make.

After you finish a level, you return to your hideout where you can learn new skills, restock your supplies, and replay levels to do better and get more skill points. You can also admire treasure that you've collec-- I mean, stolen. It's a comfy little hideout that beats a simple "replay level" menu. It's your little home in the sewers and it's nice.

You get extra skill points for not sucking, such as finishing levels without alerts or without killing anyone. Halfway through the game, no matter how you play, you'll have the skills you want--there aren't many of them, and almost 1/4 of them are BAD and WORTHLESS. But something neat is that you can respec them whenever you want. Learned something you're not using? Unlearn it, full refund. It's GREAT.

The skills aren't going to save you, though. There's some useful abilities, but they're costly to use. Amber isn't *rare*, but it isn't an especially common resource. You have to be smart with how you use your skills. There's several enemies in the game that can kill you in a single hit, and a few of them can't even be killed. You're gonna want to be stealthy. Which is great, since this is a stealth game. A really good one. A gem.

7/10, would steal.