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Codex Review RPG Codex Review: Stygian Reign of the Old Ones

IHaveHugeNick

Arcane
Joined
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Messages
1,870,231
It was in development for four years with a team of over 20 people. By comparison, Fallout was made by up to 30 people in over three years, and Arcanum was made by a core team of about a dozen in a similar amount of time. Those certainly weren't well-managed projects, but they do show the value of teams who have people with vocational knowledge, considering how those games offer a lot more than what Stygian does.
One more point to comment on in the review, the fundamental difference between Fallout/Arcanum and Stygian is the art pipeline. Both FO and A are tile-based, with highly reusable tiles - and look inoffensive at best. Stygian, on the other hand, went the route of having unique assets for every single fucking area, the only places where they could reuse some art are dungeons. And although artistically the result is fantastic, it was bound to bloat both the budget and the man-hours required exponentially.

It was the 90s dawg, Scott Everts had had to manually add tiles 1 by 1 in every single Fallout map because they had no copy & paste.
 

CRD

Cipher
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Messages
297
Divinity: Original Sin 2
the cliffhanger ending is such a bullshit thing to do.

You can leave some things open on secondary missions or sub-plots to prepare yourself to do a continuation, but the main story?

fuck you
 

Roguey

Codex Staff
Staff Member
Sawyerite
Joined
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Messages
35,898
Um, is that correct? I thought it was a fixed amount per encounter, like with XP.

My experience is that killing everybody gives you more angst than making a progressive escape asap which gives you more angst than running away immediately (which still gives you a bit). That makes sense.

Even though it's more of an Lovecraftian wannabe game, reviewing it based on pure combat build playthrough and blantly ignoring crafting and occult sure is quite edgy.

Hey, I put points into subterfuge. I even avoided a fight near the end because I was able to steal a thing instead of fight for it.
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
The review is just like the game: it feels rushed, unfinished and superficial. It’s appropriate. :?
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
I LOVE failed experiments.
I LOVE EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS. A rushed and incomplete game is no different than an unfinished painting. It is a failure from an artistic point of view. It is a sad reminder of untapped potential and of what it could have been if the artists worked harder. You either put all your efforts and deliver something great, or you die trying. Quit in the middle of the process because of lack of funding makes no sense whatsoever because it wasn't supposed to be about that in the first place. What I admire the most about Vault Dweller and Styg is that they made anything they could to deliver what they promised. Bills be dammed. Otherwise, they could just as well make shovelware for cellphones.
 

Verylittlefishes

Sacro Bosco
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I LOVE failed experiments.
I LOVE EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS. A rushed and incomplete game is no different than an unfinished painting. It is a failure from an artistic point of view. It is a sad reminder of untapped potential and of what it could have been if the artists worked harder. You either put all your efforts and deliver something great, or you die trying. Quit in the middle of the process because of lack of funding makes no sense whatsoever because it wasn't supposed to be about that in the first place. What I admire the most about Vault Dweller and Styg is that they made anything they could to deliver what they promised. Bills be dammed. Otherwise, they could just as well make shovelware for cellphones.

I mean, technically all Ice Pick Lodge games are failed experiments, and they are cult classic now
 

Verylittlefishes

Sacro Bosco
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I LOVE failed experiments.
I LOVE EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS. A rushed and incomplete game is no different than an unfinished painting. It is a failure from an artistic point of view. It is a sad reminder of untapped potential and of what it could have been if the artists worked harder. You either put all your efforts and deliver something great, or you die trying. Quit in the middle of the process because of lack of funding makes no sense whatsoever because it wasn't supposed to be about that in the first place. What I admire the most about Vault Dweller and Styg is that they made anything they could to deliver what they promised. Bills be dammed. Otherwise, they could just as well make shovelware for cellphones.

I know at least three great unfinished novels, but yes, in universities they study Faust, 60 years in the making AND finished.
 

Deleted Member 22431

Guest
I mean, technically all Ice Pick Lodge games are failed experiments, and they are cult classic now
It depends on what you mean by unfinished. Experiments can be both great and unfinished if they are too ambitious. So when they fail, they still do so much. See Arcanum, for example. I don’t think this is the case of Stygian. I wanted it to succeed, but it didn’t accomplish even half of what it tried to do.
 

Verylittlefishes

Sacro Bosco
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I mean, technically all Ice Pick Lodge games are failed experiments, and they are cult classic now
It depends on what you mean by unfinished. Experiments can be both great and unfinished if they are too ambitious. So when they fail, they still do so much. See Arcanum, for example. I don’t think this is the case of Stygian. I wanted it to succeed, but it didn’t accomplish even half of what it tried to do.

Anxious about upcoming Disco Elysium in this matter.
 

Vorark

Erudite
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
1,394
I didn't even have any .45 guns at the time, but my character is crazy, so I'll let it slide.

:lol:

Anyway, good review -- was right to the point and addressed the usual nasty suspects: crafting & survival elements, lack of manual saving, rt tacked on a tb game, unfinished story.
 

Roguey

Codex Staff
Staff Member
Sawyerite
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Messages
35,898
too lazy to play the entire game because it's boring, someone tell me the ending
spoiler it if necessary
You enter the witch house looking for a way to be transported into Miskatonic University to find the dreaded Necronomicon. Instead you meet a Chesire Smile who cuts a deal with you to escape the house in exchange for your bloodletting, and then you're mindscrewed and wake up in an insane asylum with many of the NPCs as your fellow inmates. The doctor briefly appears as the Dismal Man but it's ambiguous whether or not it's real or a hallucination. The game could end here, but you convince the bartender to mix you up a drug concoction to transport yourself back to Lovecraft Land before you're wheeled in for brain surgery. You wake up on a moon of Yuggoth surrounded by Elder Things who are are apparently at war with the Mi-Go. After navigating past some Mi-Go, you meet up with the Chesire Smile again who says that this time he can transport you to Miskatonic U for real, but now you have to kill one of your companions. If you don't, you're trapped forever on Nithon. It's suggested the Chesire Smile is really the Dismal Man is probably Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos. You find yourself in the University, but it appears as though you've been transformed into something akin to The Thing on the Doorstep. The narrator asks you if you're a bad enough dude to find the Necronomicon. End.
 

Fenix

Arcane
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Btw, Russian translation was done from earluer version of the game, so final - dunno what's it - letter? or somehting which you decipher, in Russian version has something about "strings of Zann" or something.
Didn't play.
 

Verylittlefishes

Sacro Bosco
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Btw, Russian translation was done from earluer version of the game, so final - dunno what's it - letter? or somehting which you decipher, in Russian version has something about "strings of Zann" or something.
Didn't play.

But Erich Zann DID have a string. At least one.
 

ItsChon

Resident Zoomer
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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
too lazy to play the entire game because it's boring, someone tell me the ending
spoiler it if necessary
You enter the witch house looking for a way to be transported into Miskatonic University to find the dreaded Necronomicon. Instead you meet a Chesire Smile who cuts a deal with you to escape the house in exchange for your bloodletting, and then you're mindscrewed and wake up in an insane asylum with many of the NPCs as your fellow inmates. The doctor briefly appears as the Dismal Man but it's ambiguous whether or not it's real or a hallucination. The game could end here, but you convince the bartender to mix you up a drug concoction to transport yourself back to Lovecraft Land before you're wheeled in for brain surgery. You wake up on a moon of Yuggoth surrounded by Elder Things who are are apparently at war with the Mi-Go. After navigating past some Mi-Go, you meet up with the Chesire Smile again who says that this time he can transport you to Miskatonic U for real, but now you have to kill one of your companions. If you don't, you're trapped forever on Nithon. It's suggested the Chesire Smile is really the Dismal Man is probably Nyarlathotep the Crawling Chaos. You find yourself in the University, but it appears as though you've been transformed into something akin to The Thing on the Doorstep. The narrator asks you if you're a bad enough dude to find the Necronomicon. End.
I just read "The Thing on the Doorstep" cause of this post, and holy shit was it good. I see now why people always hyped up H.P Lovecraft. Any other short story suggestions?
 

Serious_Business

Best Poster on the Codex
Joined
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Frown Town
I LOVE failed experiments.
I LOVE EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL EXPERIMENTS. A rushed and incomplete game is no different than an unfinished painting. It is a failure from an artistic point of view. It is a sad reminder of untapped potential and of what it could have been if the artists worked harder. You either put all your efforts and deliver something great, or you die trying. Quit in the middle of the process because of lack of funding makes no sense whatsoever because it wasn't supposed to be about that in the first place. What I admire the most about Vault Dweller and Styg is that they made anything they could to deliver what they promised. Bills be dammed. Otherwise, they could just as well make shovelware for cellphones.

That's a bad, infantile point. You don't have successful experiments without failed ones. The only world where all experiments are successful is where there are none - which doesn't mean anything. The only way to assure a success is to follow a safe formula ; in effect, to avoid experimenting. To value experiment independent of their success or failure is essential to creative processes. What your interlocutor is trying to say, is that the game tried something "new" - and that is good and should be recognized.

Review is boring as shit but it gets its point across. I think this is worth buying for 30 bucks if you're a Lovecraft fan ; I mean the kind of fan that listens to "lovecraftian esoteric black metal", like myself. Otherwise, I don't know, probably not such an amazing experience. Although I do think it has some very interesting aesthetics ; especially the music, it was a high point for me (even if it wasn't black metal). I would agree that the presentation is "safe", that it represents Lovecraft in a plain way - and that this is fairly boring, but I can't help but enjoy this nonsense. Paradoxically, there's something comfortable and lovely in Lovecraft : the sense that humanity is not the worst evil. The one major point this game works on is that it's a post-apocalyptic world - which doubles down the atmosphere, so to speak, presenting brutal environments (the mob, the cultists, or the indians trying to scalp me for obscure reasons). This works, but it's only the backdrop for the usual mythos. As was said elsewhere, a much better and original working of lovecraftian aesthetics is something like Bloodborne.

I also feel like the game should be recognized for one feature that should absolutely be picked up by future titles : a negative experience system. A system where you character gets worst over time. You gain "bad levels" in this game. This is in a way revolutionary and goes against the usual power-dynamic of cRPGs. The review only mentions it as an after-note to the playthrough, but from a design perspective this is a big deal, I feel.
 

Fenix

Arcane
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Russia atchoum!
I also feel like the game should be recognized for one feature that should absolutely be picked up by future titles : a negative experience system. A system where you character gets worst over time. You gain "bad levels" in this game. This is in a way revolutionary and goes against the usual power-dynamic of cRPGs.

Isn't it "you get both negative and positive experience"? Because game with only negative progression is a bit boring, but those that have your character both developing AND degrading could be fun.
 

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