The time has finally come to talk about one of the most pleasant surprises of this gamescom 2019: Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones. I find myself at the station Can Oral, lead designer and creative director of the game.
Developed by Cultic Games and published by 1C Entertainment, Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is a horror RPG set in a lovecraftian universe dominated by madness. Enemies, environments and storylines are inspired by the original stories of the famous writer and come to life in fantastic hand-drawn 2D graphics.
As soon as I got my hands on the game, I was completely caught. Although I'm not a big fan of Lovecraft (I just don't know enough), I'm a big fan of role-playing games. And as any RPG player knows, the longest and most important part is certainly that of character creation.
On Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones we finally find a must-do creation menu worthy of our dear old friends called Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights.
I felt immediately at home.
The first thing to choose is sex and age. Immediately we note the accuracy used even in the smallest details: age is not simply a number, but positively or negatively affects our characteristics. Deciding to be old, for example, allows us to have more skill points at the cost of some physical skills.
After sex and age comes the time of choice of archetype. A substitute for the more traditional classes, each archetype in turn has 3 different types of backgrounds. I, for example, have chosen the detective as the archetype and the hidden investigator as a background. The choice of archetype will strongly influence our gameplay and the way in which we will face the game.
Then we come to another great feature of the game: the choice of creed.
Speaking with Can, I tried to compare various beliefs to the most famous alignments as chaotic good or neutral evil, but without thinking twice he immediately wanted to stop me. The creed has nothing to do with the moral of a person, but with the way in which the latter sees and faces the world. Among the various beliefs available we find, for example, the nihilist, the materialist and the religious. It cannot be changed during the game and everyone unlocks different possibilities and answers during in-game dialogues. Potentially we should therefore play it once for every belief available to enjoy at 100% each route.
To complete the creation of the character, the assignment of the characteristic points and abilities must be missing. On this, the system is very reminiscent of D&D, where skills depend on certain characteristics and vice versa.
In a world dominated by madness, where money is replaced by cigarettes and the watchword is survival, in addition to the classic life a lot of attention we must set ourselves in keeping our sanity stable. Losing too much sanity can make our character uncontrollable and, under a certain threshold, take him straight to death. This too is certainly a mechanic that makes the game unique and varied.
Like any self-respecting RPG, in Stygian we can recruit up to 2 adventure companions. Some will follow us for money, others for friendship and trust in our mission.
Regarding the gameplay, in the exploration phase we can talk about a classic tip and click. In the combat phases, the scenario changes and the mechanics become those of a strategic turn-based, with a peculiarity: we don't necessarily have to kill all the enemies in the field. It is enough to make someone out of it and a "special" escape route is opened. "Special" because it allows us to exit the combat but to continue on our way; a simple escape would make us face the same group of enemies again.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones was certainly the best discovery of this gamescom 2019. An RPG faithful to tradition, with finally a customization worthy of the name, which places the greatest care in the plot and in the search for detail. The endless possibilities of dialogue and the old-fashioned HUD took me back in time and made me feel truly at home. If you are a lover of the genre, you CANNOT let yourself miss this title. Personally I can't wait to play it from beginning to end.