Parents' Guide to

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Dismal noir horror with equally dismal gameplay.

Game Windows 2019
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What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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What would happen to humanity if, in the battle between the dark and the light, the forces of darkness ultimately won? Would humanity collapse to its baser instincts? Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones also wonders, more importantly, if humanity could still find its way back. This indie horror role-playing game based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft is set in a dismal world filled with people either crushed by the weight of their despair or people eager to manipulate that despair to their own ends. In simpler terms, this is a dark, depressing world you're forced to live in. As the story unfolds and you meet more people trapped with you, the less it feels like New Arkham is even a place worth saving. It's difficult to be a "hero" in this world, and the game doesn't give you a lot of reason to even attempt it. In fact, depending on how you build and play your character, you can even be rewarded for being a jerk whose only concern is your own personal gain.

On of the more frustrating elements of Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is its overall presentation. The art style is definitely something different and unique, but it's also very repetitive. Most characters look exactly the same, often with the same models used multiple times on the screen. It's also a surprisingly empty world. You're likely to spend more time walking the sparse streets between locations than you are interacting with anything or anyone. Even the turn-based combat feels sluggish, forced, and ultimately unnecessary. It's almost as if the developers started off with a standard point-and-click adventure but decided to add combat just to pad the experience. And although the game's story has some interesting moments, it lacks direction. Most of the time, it feels like you're reading a book that's missing every third page. While Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones might be meant tell a disturbing tale of intrigue and horror, there's barely enough excitement to even muster so much as a disinterested sigh.

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