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Styx - Master of Shadows


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My experience was quite different. I just couldn't get into it. The AI were so robotic and unrealistic, and the 'correct' pathways were so obvious that I felt like I was playing pacman. Couldn't get immersed at all.

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My experience was quite different. I just couldn't get into it. The AI were so robotic and unrealistic, and the 'correct' pathways were so obvious that I felt like I was playing pacman. Couldn't get immersed at all.

Yes but it's as good as pacman :P

Task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen but to think what nobody has yet thought about that which everybody see. - E.S.

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I disagree completely with the pacman comment, most of the levels are big and open, with a lot of verticality, and have multiple paths to your goals. It's not a linear game at all.

 

@Springheel - What do you mean by the AI being "robotic and unrealistic?" Most AI have their patrol paths they walk along, and when the spot something they come over to investigate. Pretty similar to Thief and TDM from what I can tell.

Edited by brethren
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I disagree completely with the pacman comment, most of the levels are big and open, with a lot of verticality, and have multiple paths to your goals. It's not a linear game at all.

 

Yep. The "obvious" way rather sends you into areas with loads of guards. The alternative routes are always the more worthwile ones.

 

I find nothing wrong with the AI either. It's good.

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Both Styx games are good stealth games and nice to look at. Sadly, there is no modding support.

 

Oviously, TDM is much more complex than any other stealth game on the market and therefore every other stealth game is a "casual" game for "real" TDM players.

But Styx features an original story, open and therefore reusable maps (and actually they did reuse maps in later levels to reduce development time), and entertaining humourous gameplay elements. On the bad side where the lack of loot, the obviousness of the tileset and i missed non-lethal options for AI disposal. Also Controls where definitely clunky but mageable (probably designed for game pad) with some training.

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I meant gamepad controls were clunky. I use x360 controller whenever I can, as it's usually more comfortable to use than kb+m. I also think that room for failure in this game is very limited. I don't remember which difficulty level I played on, but I think it was normal, and basically any mistake/detection meant death and reload.

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Oviously, TDM is much more complex than any other stealth game on the market and therefore every other stealth game is a "casual" game for "real" TDM players.

 

Even though i would not totally agree with that (after all, most of the pure stealth based components already existed in the original Thief games, and also exist in other games), i think Styx is a different game. 3rd person vs 1st person, fast paced gameplay vs. slow paced gameplay, loads of AI's very few AI's, cover based gameplay vs. non-cover based gameplay, etc. If then, you could compare it with games like Deus Ex or Splinte Cell, but, even those are pretty different.

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I liked Styx a lot (I am currently playing part two) and I never found the controls to be clunky. I misjump quite often, because I misjudge distances and the kump often goes mor up than forward, but that is more a problem of myself. I also disliked the missing non-lethal guard disposal, so I ghosted my way through. As I wanted the Ghost achievement, I always had to load, when I was discovered anyway, so I can say nothing about how the game plays, once guards are alerted. As a consequence, I set the difficulty quite high, as combat did not matter for me

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I disagree completely with the pacman comment, most of the levels are big and open, with a lot of verticality, and have multiple paths to your goals. It's not a linear game at all.

 

@Springheel - What do you mean by the AI being "robotic and unrealistic?" Most AI have their patrol paths they walk along, and when the spot something they come over to investigate. Pretty similar to Thief and TDM from what I can tell.

 

I don't know if I can be very specific as this was more than a year ago, but IIRC the guards had a fixed patrol route and did exactly the same thing every time. I never felt like they were actual people doing people things--they just felt like a moving puzzle you have to figure out how to get through.

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Actually, some of them act quite unpredictably. Like, taking a nap, then waking up, and continuing their guard routine, while others just go on sleeping.

 

Anyway, i don't even want to imagine how ultra hardcore difficult the game would get if the AI would even act more unpredictable. There's LOADS of them in the levels. It's already difficult enough that way. I must admit that i'm rather for predictable guard routes in general, though. 1. it's unrealistic that guards don't keep to their guard routes. After all, it's the specific guard's duty to cover a certain route. It's not realistic that, like in some TDM missions, 3 or 4 guards show up in the same room, leaving other areas completely unguarded. Secondly, and more relevant, it makes life extremely hard for the player, if the AI is too unpredictable, and it makes the gameplay less enjoyable, especially when you're a knockout player, who relies on thinning out certain areas, carrying and hiding the bodies in certain places, and, if one AI after the other comes into the room (again, it happens in some TDM missions), it can be a huge PITA.

Edited by chakkman
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Secondly, and more relevant, it makes life extremely hard for the player, if the AI is too unpredictable, and it makes the gameplay less enjoyable, especially when you're a knockout player, who relies on thinning out certain areas, carrying and hiding the bodies in certain places, and, if one AI after the other comes into the room (again, it happens in some TDM missions), it can be a huge PITA.

Predictable AI is obviously easier to knock out. But i played all of the TDM missions and did not find guards using random routes much harder to knock out than guards using static routes. Lightswitch baiting and intersection camping work extremely well against random patrols. In some missions i can knock out out all moving AI by just camping in the first room of each new area for a few minutes (yes, it certainly does feel like cheating because of its efficiency).

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In some missions i can knock out out all moving AI by just camping in the first room of each new area for a few minutes (yes, it certainly does feel like cheating because of its efficiency).

 

Well, that just proves what i wrote, doesn't it? Why does all moving AI enter the same room at some time? That makes no sense at all. Imagine you want your mansion to be guarded. Would you place and order your guards to guard the same areas? The answer is obvious i would think. It's one of those things i just don't get in some missions. Guarding the same areas, while leaving other areas unguarded at the same time makes no sense at all.

 

I even had it in several missions that there are even 3 or 4 guards in the same room at the same time. Imagine how unguarded the rest of the mansion is at that time. I also had it that guards walk around in all kind of weird places, which made it almost impossible to hide bodies.

 

In conclusion, it's not only more logical that guards have a set path, it also makes the gameplay more enjoyable for me, especially when you're a knockout player.

Edited by chakkman
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Well, that just proves what i wrote, doesn't it? Why does all moving AI enter the same room at some time? That makes no sense at all. Imagine you want your mansion to be guarded. Would you place and order your guards to guard the same areas? The answer is obvious i would think. It's one of those things i just don't get in some missions. Guarding the same areas, while leaving other areas unguarded at the same time makes no sense at all.

That depends. If the area in question contains the priceless heirloom that you want to display to the public, it makes sense to have more guards patrol this area. In general, it makes sens to have at least two guards patrol a similar path, in case one is indisposed (be it KOed or just taking a leak), so each area is covered. Personally, I would have guards check in regularly with a capatain, but this is quite difficult to implement right now (although Rooz is currently working on that). Of course, this would also make KOing all guards more difficult. In general, I would say (from a lord's point of view): the more guards the better.

On the other hand, there are always areas that need less coverage. Why would the lord care, if the servants' quarters are guarded?

 

But I completely agree, that guards should patrol only in sensible locations (e.g. not in the pantry). One can still use civilians for other areas that make sense. Still, a bit of variation also makes sense, as a guard will get bored walking the same round for the 100th time, so he will most likely have something he can do to make his rounds more interesting. Be that that he drinks something, takes a leak or just watches some of the art exhibited on his rounds. In my opinion the middle ground is best here: have patrol paths that make sense, but still try to cover teh whole place as well as possible with the number of guards at hand.

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Well, that just proves what i wrote, doesn't it? Why does all moving AI enter the same room at some time? That makes no sense at all. Imagine you want your mansion to be guarded. Would you place and order your guards to guard the same areas? The answer is obvious i would think. It's one of those things i just don't get in some missions. Guarding the same areas, while leaving other areas unguarded at the same time makes no sense at all.

I did say nothing about the overprovisioning aspect in my last post. It was entirely about difficulty for a blackjacking-oriented player. But i guess, that most guards are sloppy and do what they want instead of what they are payed for. ;)

Also, guards tend to sleep at work or get drunk in the cellar. Having their patrol routes cross each other allows mutual checks for presence and soberness. Only one of a group of N guards with at least one common patrol location needs to be disciplines enough to report the others if they fail their duty. So there is indeed an incentive to have multiple patrol routes cross each other in the same room.

 

I even had it in several missions that there are even 3 or 4 guards in the same room at the same time. Imagine how unguarded the rest of the mansion is at that time. I also had it that guards walk around in all kind of weird places, which made it almost impossible to hide bodies.

I like it when guards actually guard a place. And i like it when servants look like they do their job too. The lord strolling between the library, his room, his office, the outhouse, the cellar and the maidservant's quarters also is somewhat plausible in a game where rich people need the player to get some sleep...

Of course, people wlak around in all kinds of weired places in TDM. It is to make bodies lying around risky. You have to find spots, that nobody needs to enter and that are not a possible shortcut between other spots. Try to stash bodies under stairs, on or between complex furniture, nobody would try to sit or sleep on. If there is no good stashing spot around, you can always travel to a better one or guard a lesser one and dispose everyone that comes along.

In general, having to look out a bit for good stashing spots is a good thing in a game like TDM. But i often just stash bodies in dark corners of well-frequented rooms and have no problems with other aI finding them. If your lightgem is fully darkened when hiding there, a body would be invisible there too.

 

In conclusion, it's not only more logical that guards have a set path, it also makes the gameplay more enjoyable for me, especially when you're a knockout player.

I am a knockout player and i like crossing patrol routes and some randomness in AI behaviour. I also like stashing AI in a tiny dark corner betwen a wall and a vase in an otherwise brightly lit room. The body hiding is a core part of knockout playstyles and is easier to do in TDM than in Styx (as in Styx you often have to find unused furniture while in TDM you can abuse almost every dark spot between a wall and stuff, AI can't path through).

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Part 2 was a lot better. Haven't finished Styx 1 myself, but Styx 2, I quickly played through. Recommended!

 

Already having a blast with part 1, i'm in the prison level now. If part 2 is even better, then i'll have to buy it... when it goes on a sale. :)

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