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Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones Gamescom Preview

by Joost "Myrthos" Mans, 2019-09-09

I checked out Stygian: Reigns of the Old Ones last year at Gamescom as well and wrote an article about that visit, which I am not completely going to repeat here, so if you want to know more about character creation and leveling up, you should read that article first, as in this article I will mainly deal with the companions and combat. However I will reuse parts from that article to make this one more clear. 

Stygian takes place in an alternative Lovecraftian history of the 1920's in New England in the fictional town of Arkham. The game starts with you creating your character from eight different archetypes, together with the other character building options, you should be able to create the character you want. This could be important because the way you have built your character and the choices you make during the game, will have an influence on the reactions of the NPCs in the game. Some might no longer talk to you or some might like you even better than they did before. As a result, the choices you make in the game will lead to one of the possible endings. 

This year's presentation started with taking a closer look at some of the companions we can take with us. The first was The Outsider, who is the protagonist in one of Lovecraft's stories. The Outsider is a monster, alone in a castle that thinks and feels he is human. He does everything he can to leave that castle to be amongst the other humans, but outside the castle he realizes that the humans despise him. In the game, you meet him after all that has happened. He has become a really traumatized creature that has changed his belief system to a nihilistic attitude. You can recruit him at that time as a party member, but he is a really broken character. However while playing the game you are given possibilities to get closer to him and gain his favor. If you succeed, there could be some interesting opportunities. 

Another companion is the nameless soldier, based on the re-animator story of Lovecraft, of which also a movie was made. The nameless soldier has been re-animated by a doctor obsessed with death, but he is one of the doctor's failed experiments. Somehow he has returned to Arkham, but the soldier does not think he has returned, he still thinks he is in the war and because of that he does not have full awareness of what is going on around him. He also thinks you are his lieutenant, so he will follow your orders. Whether or not he favors you will depend on how the other companions react to you. If you mistreat them, the nameless soldier will think you are a bad commander. 
Each of your possible companions will have a background and each of your companions will also be influenced by your actions and have their own perks and abilities. However their pool of perks and skills is less varied than the set your main character can have. Their skills are limited to their character. The nameless soldier, for example, is re-animated and is like a zombie. You cannot increase his intelligence, but you can increase his athletic skills or his skills in firearms and melee, to name a few. 
There are 3 companions in total who are open to partner with all archetypes. There are also two archetypes that come with their own companion. The aristocrat starts the game with Werner, who is his own personal butler and the explorer starts with a hound, which can be trained during the game. In the game you can take a maximum of two companions with you, but during combat you can make use of hired henchmen, for which you have to pay. 

You will probably need to craft in the game, bullets for example, are hard to get, as nobody is making them anymore. By combining gun powder with metal strips it is possible to create your own bullets. Also some items can only be crafted as they cannot be found in the game, like a crossbow. 

There is a light and dark mechanic in Stygian. If you are in a dark area, you need to have a lantern, but as the kerosene is limited in the game, you should be careful about when to use your lantern. If you enter combat in a dark area and you don't have a lantern you will get a big penalty as you will be fighting in the dark. Your opponents might be able to see in the dark, but you don't. The lantern only works when it is held in one hand, so the character who holds the lantern is unable to use any two-handed weapon and can only use one-handed weapons. 

Whenever you encounter a horrific creature or when you act against the belief system you have chosen at the start, you will lose sanity. This also happens in combat when you are fighting horrific creatures.
Combat in Stygian is turn-based and uses a hex grid. In this case the combat started with my playing character and the companions 'The Outsider' and the nameless soldier. But besides that also a henchman was hired to protect me. You have to take care of your companions and henchmen if you are attached to them, as once they die in a fight, they remain dead for the rest of the game.  
When you use a weapon the tiles will provide feedback on the range of the weapon and also the chance to hit and damage inflicted, by using the different colors: red, orange and green, where green provides the best results.  
With the available actions points it is possible to move, attack, defend and focus. The first three should be self-explanatory, but with focus you can use the remaining action points for the next attack, making you more focused and having a better chance to hit your opponent and maybe even doing more damage.
Initiative in combat is determined each turn again by the reaction scores of all the characters participating in combat. The reaction score of a character is determined by the character's senses, speed and other attributes.

Each spell that is used in the game comes with a price to pay. In some cases it will cost you sanity, in another case a spell can be blood related and the caster will need to use his or her own blood, so it will reduce its hit points. The damage that any of the characters has is shown by wound markers above the character, which has a range from one to three. Where the latter one means that the character is close to death. 
If combat gets too much and one of your characters is close to death, you can use that character's turn to leave combat. There are special tiles at the edge of the battlefield where the character has to move to, in order to leave combat.

I have seen the game twice now and from what was shown to me, I feel that there is quite some depth to the game, which makes it definitely something to put it on my wishlist.
Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones is scheduled to be released September 26.

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Box Art

Information about

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

Developer: Cultic Games

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Historical
Genre: RPG
Combat: Turn-based
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Unknown

Regions & platforms
Internet
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2019-09-26
· Publisher: 1C Company

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