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Styx: Shards of Darkness
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Styx: Shards of Darkness is a violent, bloody action game that's not for kids. You play as a sly and short thief, and the game not only has you stealing everything that isn't nailed down but also sneaking into places where you don't belong. Players use knives and traps to kill people, resulting in gore and spilled blood. The dialogue has lots of profanity, including "s--t" and "f--k," as well as comments about prostitution and jokes about sex.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In STYX: SHARDS OF DARKNESS, you play as a short, cranky goblin who must try to survive and earn a living as a thief-for-hire in a medieval fantasy realm. But when he's hired to do some really dirty work, he has to use all his sneaky skills to pull it off. These skills not only include the typical stealth-action mechanics but also some magical ones as well that can turn you temporarily invisible or create a short-lived clone of yourself you can use to distract people. You also have to do a fair bit of jumping and climbing so you can find the best -- i.e., least guarded -- path to take.
Is it any good?
In Styx: Shards of Darkness, you play as the titular goblin, a thief for hire just trying to survive in a medieval fantasy realm. To do so, you not only have to be sneaky, using shadows and distraction to get past people but also magic and traps you devise. You also perform a lot of jumping and climbing. In other words, you're an amalgam of Batman, Lara Croft, and the guy from the Splinter Cell games if they were all short. Styx even has a special vision mode like the heroes of the two former games.
Styx can learn some new abilities as he progresses, such as being able to attack from above or while hiding in a chest. He can also craft such helpful items as poison darts and traps. The game even has a sense of humor about itself, especially when you die and Styx chastises you for being bad at his game. By while Styx has some new tricks up his sleeve in this sequel, he still has a lot to learn. Sure, he can extinguish a torch to make a room darker, but he doesn't know how to turn off a gas lamp. It also doesn't help that some of the levels seem like they were designed with a short, shifty goblin in mind, making it almost too easy for Styx to get away when he alerts a guard. Still, if you're looking for a fantasy game where you sneak like the Caped Crusader and climb like a Tomb Raider, Styx: Shards of Darkness is a deceptively good time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stealing. Why is it wrong to take something that isn't yours? Would you like it if someone took something of yours without asking?
Families can also talk about violence. Does it make a difference to you that the people you're killing are human? Have you tried playing the game without killing anyone?
Talk about curse words. Styx and his costars use a lot of profanity. Do you think it's necessary? Do you think the game would be just as much fun without them?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Focus Home Interactive
- Release date: March 14, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Fairy Tales, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.