Posted June 26, 2016 by Andrew Cathie in Feature

E3 2016: Styx: Shards of Darkness Preview

The original Styx was rough around the edges, but was a promising first entry into the realm of stealth action games by developer Cyanide Studio. With Styx: Shards of Darkness, Cyanide Studios is back with a new engine (Unreal Engine 4), bigger ideas and a bigger budget, and it definitely showed in the off hands preview I saw at E3 2026.

The demo started towards the end of the opening tutorial in the game, so there was plenty of opportunity to show off all the different stealth mechanics present. The first thing I noticed was just how much better Shards of Darkness looks when compared to the original Styx. The lighting is the biggest improvement, with moonlight filtering through the clouds and between beams in the walkways. The jump to Unreal Engine 4 from Unity has been a great one for the team.


After showing off how great the game looks for a few moments, it’s off to complete our objective and steal an item from a wealthy merchant. As we make our way towards our objective, we quickly come across our first obstacle, a guard that we spot from a distance using Amber Vision. Amber Vision is similar to the Detective Mode in Batman: Arkham Asylum, allowing you to see through walls and is a returning feature from the original Styx. To kill this enemy we drop a clone of ourselves nearby, which attracts his attention, while we hide nearby to attack him from behind. Clones also have a secondary use in Shards of Darkness, as you can teleport back to them whenever you want during a level. Effectively, they can be used a checkpoint for you to go back to after you’ve gotten an objective, skipping most of the backtracking you would normally have to do.

While we killed this guard, you don’t have to kill anybody in Shards of Darkness. You can knock enemies out or even just avoid them entirely, luring them away from their posts with distractions and then quickly sneaking in behind them. If you do still want to kill people, but don’t want to go to close to them, you still have the option to poison guard’s food and drink.

The demo was ended short of the actual end, as it was running overtime, so we didn’t get to see every little bit of the demo. What we did see was promising and a big step up from the original Styx.

Styx: Shards of Darkness will release for PC, PS4 and Xbox One later in 2016.

Andrew Cathie

Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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