As mentioned already, you play as our favorite little goblin, “Styx”. You’ll find yourself controlling and sneaking Styx’s around eight different missions that further split up into multiple areas. The game is mostly set around the dark elven city of “Korrangar” where the high priestess “Lyssril” is plotting a path to invincibility by the means of harvesting amber and the acquisition of pure quartz.
“Shards of Darkness” is a pure stealth game, so you’ll need to make sure you tip toe your way around staying out of sight using distraction, deception and even insta-kill takedowns. Just like the first game, “Master of Shadows”, combat is never a good idea and best be avoided. Same goes with “Shards of Darkness”. Styx himself still has the ability to become invisible for a short amount of time and of course being able to clone himself returns, though with some new applications.
Some more differences between this game and “Masters of Shadows”, is the physical world itself. The world Styx runs around in “Shards of Darkness” now has added aerial routes that can be traversed via zip lines and ropes that are scattered around each area. As you play and progress through the game, you’ll earn skill points for completing main missions and side quests. These skill points can be used to upgrade a wide range of things that span over five different branches, Kill, Cloning, Alchemy, Perception and of course, Stealth. You’ll even be rewarded bonus points for completing certain things in fast times, minimal alerts and for collecting “Thief Tokens” which are scattered throughout each level.
Now while the game, at first, is kind of easy on you, as you progress and the armoured guards start being introduced, things do get a little tougher. From there, things ramp up at a pretty steady pace by introducing enemies like “Roabies” and “Dwarf Guards.” The reason why these guys are a pain in the ass is the simple fact they have the ability to hear and smell. The best way around these new challenges is by using Styx’s “Amber Vision” ability to scan the environment and come up with alternative way to take our your enemies.
“Shards of Darkness” also has a crafting system. This lets you craft some pretty lethal, but fun toys like the “Acid Trap” that comes in handy for those harder enemies. The game’s campaign is relatively short, but players are able to go back and replay missions to try for a higher score or just to go back for any missed objectives and collectables for 100% completion.
Now I really enjoyed “Masters of Shadows. It’s a good looking game, the level design of “Shards of Darkness” is what really makes this game shine with some pretty impressive looking locations that I found myself stopping for a moment to take it all in. To top it all off, even the animation of Styx’s himself were very smooth.
Styx: Shards of Darkness is a solid stealth game with a good sense of humor. The game's visuals, dialogue and its gameplay have all been improved on significantly over its predecessor. Styx: Shards of Darkness ticks all the right boxes for a sequel and something I have no problem at all recommending.