Cyanide Studios Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Cyanide Studios RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition Review: A Bone Headed Attempt Wed, 13 Sep 2017 12:18:29 -0400 Skrain

Recently, Cyanide Studios released the Official Expansion for its Warhammer Fantasy game, Blood Bowl 2. This expansion is available as a standalone add-on, or as part of the Blood Bowl 2 Legendary Edition that launched earlier this month. 

This game is a brutal mock parody of American football, where various teams made up of different races such as Humans, Orks, Goblins, and Dwarves collide in head-to-head matches and smash each other into bloody pulps. And after putting quite a few hours into this brutal game, I've found it to be an enjoyable experience that's undermined by a few glaring flaws and a disproportionate price tag. 

Note: This review is focused on the single player experience in Blood Bowl 2, and is not entirely reflective of the multiplayer aspect. Once I've spent more time in that mode, I'll update this article accordingly.  

New Blood for the Blood Bowl

The Official Expansion adds eight new races that can compete in the Blood Bowl -- the Elven Union, Ogres, Goblins, Vampires, Amazon, Underworld Denizens, and the Kislev Circus (plus their Tame Bears). Each of these new races has a solid set of strengths and weaknesses that differentiate them from each other and allow you to engage in a variety of match-ups. 

Bloody Balance Issues

In spite of the fresh experience they offer to players, the addition of these new races highlights a long-standing issue with Blood Bowl 2: its balance. Blood Bowl isn't really a balanced game -- but then again, it never claims to be. Some teams are simply better than others, and can beat other teams even when those teams are at their best. Halflings are a prime example -- they generally suck, but their one saving grace is that they're packed with cheap fodder you can send out to die. 

This might be a major turn-off for players who are expecting a "fair" challenge, but players who can look past that and take the imbalances in stride should still have a fun time playing around with these new teams. 

That said, some of these teams feel like an outright chore to play. The Halflings are once again a good example here, but so are the Ogres and the Kislev. The Ogres and their boneheads are a pain, and the Kislev have a constant need for re-rolls -- so these additions don't feel quite as fun to play as some of the previously released teams. 

Brand New Features on the Field

The Eternal League

The Eternal League is probably my favorite addition that the Official Expansion/Legendary Edition adds to Blood Bowl 2. It offers a dynamic single-player league that simulates seasons as they go by. Tournaments in the League generate rewards for the winning teams. 

I think many Blood Bowl fans have been waiting quite a while for a single-player experience like this, and it's been executed well. I particularly enjoy the fact that the AI develops as the League progresses, and will even suffer from the same effects of injury and death as the player team.  

This simulated, semi-dynamic, single-player League is certainly a welcomed addition, but it could use a little more polish. Cyanide could have added more to team management in this mode, which feels a little lackluster in some areas. 

Challenge Mode

Another new feature is the Challenge Mode, which offers a variety of challenging situations and predetermined scenarios that task you with finding the best way to solve them. The dice rolls are predetermined and visible to the player, forcing them to find the optimal way to use their dice rolls and complete the objective. So if you want a Blood Bowl experience that will make you think, this is where you'll find it. 

Currently, there are only ten challenges to choose from. This number is smaller than I would have liked and simply doesn't feel like enough content for players to really sink their teeth into. But I'm hoping that more will be added in the future.

Bugs Are Still a Big Problem

The bugs that have infested Blood Bowl 2 since its release are still rearing their ugly heads in this edition. Several times while playing, I ran into a bug where the AI would freeze and sometimes take up to three minutes to begin its turn. Additionally, turn timers would run down to zero without shifting the turn to the other team. These were just a few of the strange hiccups I ran into -- but they were present in nearly every match I played. 

The game also crashed on me twice in the most curious way possible. The AI froze and refused to finish its turn and the timer ran down to zero, but I could still select players, read pop-up tool tips, open the menu, and move the camera. I simply couldn't end the turn, and I couldn't concede or return to the menu. So I was forced to close Blood Bowl 2 through the Task Manager.

I've never had a game allow me to use in-game functionalities like that while stopping all other functions. And I actually laughed at it -- until I realize I'd just lost two hours in a match I was winning.


To put it bluntly: if you didn't like Blood Bowl 2 before this, you won't like it anymore. There are some nice additions for those who did enjoy it that will probably make it worthwhile if you pick it up. But you should do so with the understanding that many of the problems in the base game persist in this expansion rather than being fixed.

What this expansion adds is some pretty fun content, but I'm not exactly sure that it's worth the $24.99 price tag (or $44.99 for the Legendary Edition). Players might find some amusement in this perverse parody of football -- and I'll be the first to admit that it's a hell of a lot of fun to slaughter a field full of Halflings with a team of Orcs. But eventually the single-player experience and its rampant bugs do get tedious, just like the base Blood Bowl game did before the expansion. 

Overall, I'd say the Official Expansion and the Legendary Edition of Blood Bowl 2 is a pretty average addition to the base game. Long-standing fans will likely have a good time, but it's not going to entice new players to keep bloodying the field. 

If you want to pick it up for yourself, you can do so over on Steam

[Note: A copy of Blood Bowl 2 was provided by the developer for this review.]

Styx: Shards of Darkness Review - You Can't See Me Rollin', You Hatin'? Tue, 14 Mar 2017 05:00:01 -0400 Pierre Fouquet

Created by Cyanide Studios, and published by Focus Home Interactive, Styx: Shards of Darkness follows the stealthy exploits of a titular and wise-cracking goblin on a personal quest for amber and quartz in a dingy and decaying fantasy world. 

Styx's path of greed entangles him in an ongoing fight with high priestess Lyssril -- who is attempting to obtain the power of invincibility through harvesting Amber and acquiring quartz. This story is delivered to us through nine expansive and well-designed levels, all set in or around the elven city of Korrangar. And aside from forgettable lore and some strange AI, there's a lot to love about this sequel to 2014's Master of Shadows.

Great Stealth Mechanics and Level Design

Styx is a pure, out-and-out stealth game. When you think 'stealth', the first thing that likely comes to mind is not being seen. Right? But recently the trend with these types of games is put an action spin on them to speed the stealth up. Think Batman: Arkham City or Splinter Cell: Blacklist -- where you are quick, nimble, but also tough enough to have a big fight.

Styx does away with that, and keeps the game to it's pure stealth mechanics. Get into combat, and you will be reloading your save pretty quickly.

You, as a sneaky snarky Goblin, must always keep to the shadows. The stealth is tense and methodical -- with moments of leaping, clambering, and running that feel so much more satisfying than they otherwise would in a faster-paced action game.

The game's level design only serves to make that stealth experience even more engaging. In fact, the levels are so well-constructed that I didn't even realize I was following a waypoint until I made it to my destination. I turned off objective markers and still found my way without any problem. Each world is perfectly streamlined for stealth play -- chock full of high areas, crawl spaces, and ledges to clamber around. 

Add in the fact that it's all a breeze to play thanks to thoughtfully designed controls, and you've got a hell of a sneaky time. 

Unfortunately, the lore in these levels is so forgettable that I can't say much about it. 

While the game puts forth some effort at constructing lore around the characters and places you encounter, it's easy to ignore it altogether. 

There is a fairly refreshing take on elves in a fantasy setting, since Elves in the world of Styx are just as flawed and dark (if not more so) than humans. But other than this subversion of the typical elven archetype, there's really nothing memorable about the game's lore. While it's not really an issue in terms of gameplay or overall quality, it does put a bit of a damper on immersion. 

Skill Progression in Styx is Spot On

The lore may not be a strong point, but the natural skill progression of your character is. The game's upgrade tree doesn't rely on leveling up, but instead rewards you with points for completing missions and secondary objectives. After playing just the first two missions, I could buy four skills -- and that was even without getting any side objectives. 

This sort of progression made me feel a lot freer to play the game how I wanted, without being forced to do things just to earn more XP.

It also helps that the upgrade tree is very clear about what each upgrade was going to do. There are no silly names, just good ol' clear words like "stealth", "potions", or "clothing". This makes working out which skills you want to upgrade much easier, since you don't need to hunt through the tree to find what you want. 

But the AI is Definitely Not All There

Picture this: while walking up some stairs, you find a box in front of you with a guard standing past it. When you pop out from cover, the guard spots you and charges. But instead of running away or countering, you can just breeze right past the angry guard and crouch behind the box before they turn around. Although you're waiting mere centimeters behind them, the guard has now lost you and goes back to his business. You've essentially escaped by playing ring around the rosie. 

This wasn't an isolated incident. I was able to evade detection multiple time using silly tricks like that. Which makes it seem like the AI is either totally oblivious, or simply has a barrier that they can't cross at times. 

Such poor enemy programming spoils an otherwise solid detection system based on the standard three stages of alert. This sort of detection system works just as well in Styx as it has in the numerous other games it's been used in -- it's just a shame that the enemy AI doesn't offer more of a challenge once they've been alerted. 

That said, the clone is a fun little mechanic that makes toying with the AI more fun.

Using amber, Styx is able to create a clone of himself. Doing so can make for a lot of funny moments, especially when you get to screw with the AI and make your clone do ridiculous things. 

At times where I had almost been spotted, I could create a clone and kill nearly everyone Rambo-style. Once, I even managed to have my clone distract all the guards and taunt them back toward the start of the whole level, so that the real Styx could stroll right on through. 

In Spite of Its Flaws, the Little Things Make Styx a Solid Game

There are lots of little details in this game that make up for its flaws and elevate it above the standard stealth fare. For example, your dagger is your stealth meter -- with your Sheath of Night lighting up the more hidden you are. This gives a more natural feeling to the game since you don't have to look at a HUD or immersion-breaking overlay to see how you're faring.

As I mentioned earlier, the ease of controlling Styx is also a minor mechanic that makes a huge difference. The simple climbing system minimizes the number of potentially dangerous missteps, and it's incredibly easy to do things like walk off a platform and drop to the ledge in one swift motion. It feels a lot more fluid than many climbing systems -- particularly the "hold the buttons" method from Assassin's Creed. 

Styx also makes lots of nods to other games, like it does toward the Batman Arkham series through its death screens. Where the Batman games had snippets of dialogue performed by the villains who slayed you, you get Styx himself making belligerent remarks. While some feel a bit forced or out of place, most of them are suitably cheesy. 

These are all amazing touches that show a great level of care on the part of Cyanide Studios in terms of making the gameplay and overall experience as good as possible.

Overall, Styx: Shards of Darkness is a Hurrah for Stealth Games of Old

While playing Styx, I couldn't shake the feeling of games like Thief, Hitman, or even the stealth in games like Deus Ex. I'm not saying Styx better than these games, but it does sit right next to them as a game for fans of classic purist stealth.

Styx is a game which makes you think before acting. You study your terrain, get a feel for the guards, and then execute. Getting things right feels amazing. Other than a few let downs with the AI, and lore that wasn't quite what it could have been, Styx: Shards of Darkness is as masterfully crafted as the titular Styx himself -- capable of so much more than his size suggests.

Note: a copy of the game was provided by the publisher for this review.

White Wolf and Focus Home Interactive Work to Deliver New Werewolf Game Thu, 19 Jan 2017 11:54:12 -0500 Will Dowell

White Wolf, creators of the World of Darkness board game series, just partnered with Focus Home Interactive to make a licensed video game based of Werewolf: The Apocalypse. Game development studio Cyanide, the creators of Blood Bowl and Call of Cthulhu, will be taking reigns for this adaptation.

In this adaptation, you will be taking control of Garou, a werewolf who must fight The Wyrm, a villain that's leading the world to the Apocalypse. Players will focus on raw power and rage when exploring this new world. According to Martin Ericsson, Lead Story Teller of White Wolf:

"The core question of Werewolf: The Apocalypse is more relevant today than ever before and the cooperation with Focus and Cyanide will finally give gamers the opportunity to revel in the raw power and primal spirituality of the Garou. What is the price of saving the world with fang and claw?"

This is not the first video game adaptation set in the World of Darkness universe. Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines is considered a cult classic and a pinnacle in fantasy storytelling. In Bloodlines you explore the vampire culture present in Los Angeles as a new fledgling. Hopefully, the same immersion will be found in this upcoming title.

Stay tuned for more White Wolf News!

Descend Into Madness With The New Trailer For Call of Cthulhu Fri, 10 Jun 2016 11:32:14 -0400 Captynplanet_8219

Cyanide Studios has released a creepy, albeit quick, trailer at E3 for their upcoming game Call of Cthulhu. And it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in June. Some kind of cosmic nightmarescape Christmas filled with eldritch Gods that have been dormant for eons, but Christmas nonetheless. 

From the looks of the trailer, the game will be some kind of survival horror, detective style RPG in which the player has to delve into the secrets of an island populated by lurking terrors.

This is probably the best way to go about making a game inspired by the work of H.P Lovecraft, as pretty much all of his stories revolve around an individual who get's wrapped up in some kind of situation involving unworldly terror, and struggling with their sanity as they see more and more of what they shouldn't.

If you've never heard of the dark lord Cthulhu, he's pretty much a combination of a dragon, a human, and some kind of octopus/squid type creature. Cthulhu is part of a cosmic pantheon called the Great Old Ones -- a group of immeasurably powerful beings from the depths of space who once ruled Earth but fell into deep slumbers.  

This is Cthulhu in his natural habitat.
(Credit to Rituartre on Deviantart for the picture.)

Hopefully, Call of Cthulhu will have some cool mechanics involving the player's sanity, as it plays such a big role in the canon which the game is coming from. The pen and paper RPG game made by Chaosium Inc definitely has some fun stuff involving the player's grip on reality, and it would be cool to see Cyanide Studios implement similar concepts. 

We can only wonder for now what else will be slithering throughout the game, but the fact that there's even going to be a next-gen game inspired by the Cthulhu mythos is something for people who love creepy games, and H.P Lovecraft's stories.

If you want to see some screenshots of Call of Cthulhu, you can check out Cyanide Studios' website, and if you want to read what source material for the game is from you can read most of H.P Lovecraft's stories on this collection website

New Call of Cthulhu game gets first images Fri, 26 Feb 2016 10:38:02 -0500 Damian A. Hinton

Announced back in January 2014, Call of Cthulhu will be the latest game to take on H.P. Lovecraft's dark horror-fantasy universe. Based on the similarly titled Chaosium tabletop RPG, the game is due out in 2017.

The developer, Cyanide (best known for the Game of Thrones RPG and Blood Bowl) promises to "bring Lovecraft's twisted universe" to PC and consoles. Cyanide hopes to also create, "an RPG-investigation game with psychological horror and stealth mechanics, set in a deeply immersive world."

call of cthulul

The game will see the protagonist attempting to discover the secret behind the death of an artist and her family, as "the Great Dreamer, Cthulhu, prepares its awakening." Unreal Engine 4 will be used to render the game's "dark, oppressive ambiance."

This isn't the first Lovecraft-inspired video game, but it'll be great to see an adaptation of his work rendered in the modern video game world. Especially if the game can come close to the quality seen in the screenshots.

Styx: Master of Shadows sequel will release next year Wed, 14 Oct 2015 18:00:05 -0400 Courtney Gamache

Produced by Cyanide Studios and Focus Home Interactive, Styx: Master of Shadows was a huge hit after its release during Christmas of 2014. Because of the popularity, the team has begun development on a sequel in the franchise, called Styx: Shards of Darkness

Anticipated for 2016

According to Cyanide and Focus Home, the sequel is set to release in 2016. It will delve deeper into the story of the master assassin goblin, Styx. Using Unreal Engine 4, the team is enhancing movement and combat features found in Styx: Master of Shadows, including:

  • grappling around corners
  • climbing ropes
  • using the knife as a zip-wire

Picking up the storyline from Styx: Master of Shadows, Styx: Shards of Darkness starts after the fall of the Akenash Tower, leading Styx to infiltrate the Dark Elf city called Körangar. As events unfold, it's told that both the Elves and Dwarves find a common enemy among the Goblins, leading to a hatred and violence.

Since this is a new game is creating the Styx series, Cyanide and Focus Home Interactive are adding more environments and enemies to expand on the story and gameplay. 

Styx: Shards of Darkness will be available for the Xbox One, PS4, Steam, and PC. 

What do you think of this upcoming sequel to Styx: Master of Shadows? Will it prove to be as good a stealth game as the original Styx? Share your thoughts below!

9 games to look forward to in September Fri, 28 Aug 2015 18:41:50 -0400 Bryan C. Tan

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

After almost three decades of innovation, hard work, and success, the story of the greatest stealth series of all time will finally be complete.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be the final chapter of the Metal Gear series pioneered by gaming visionary Hideo Kojima, linking all the games into one cohesive story. As Punished "Venom" Snake, also known as Big Boss, players will traverse through Afghanistan and the Angola-Zaire border in the first open world Metal Gear on a mission to exact revenge on those that wronged him.


Besides the usual sneaking elements, The Phantom Pain includes a host of new features to complement its whole new game world, namely, intelligent AI companions and enemies, real-time day-and-night cycles, and a fully customizable Mother Base utilizing the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. Multiplayer will also make a return to Metal Gear with two brand new online modes, so players needn't worry about what to do after they're done with The Phantom Pain's highly-sophisticated single-player.


V will come to Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on September 1st.

Mad Max

Cars, guns, and a whole lot of action - a storied film franchise will be making the transition to video games, but unlike other movie games, this one looks like it's going to be an epic of apocalyptic proportions.


From the masterminds of the Just Cause series, Avalanche Studios, Mad Max puts players in the shoes of franchise protagonist Max Rockatansky in search of the car he lost, the Interceptor, and to build the car of his dreams, the Magnum Opus. Through canyons, caves, and deserts, Max must survive by scavenging for resources such as food, water, and fuel before War Boys take them away first.


Max's car can be customized as well as his weapons, while friendly relationships can be formed with strongholds to garner new quests and rewards, and lower the threat level of each region. With radical vehicular combat, dangerous environmental hazards, and a tense expansive story, players will be in for an exhilarating experience in the open world of the wasteland. 


Get Mad on Windows, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 1st.

Tearaway Unfolded

One of the best games ever on the PlayStation Vita will finally be making the big leap to console, with the creators of LittleBigPlanet, Media Molecule, reinventing their award-winning platformer for the current generation.


Tearaway Unfolded is an expanded retelling of the original Tearaway story that puts players on a quest to help atoi, the messenger, deliver an important message. Through a vibrant papercraft world filled with colorful drawings and doodles, the magical adventure of Tearaway has been reimagined for the TV.


The power of wind can be unleashed in-game by swiping on the DualShock 4's touch pad, and the power of light can be activated by shining the DualShock 4's light bar. Stuff hurled out of the TV can be thrown back in to solve puzzles and defeat enemies, while the mobile companion app lets players customize the wild papery world of Tearaway Unfolded.


Adventure Unfolded on PlayStation 4 on September 8th.

Super Mario Maker

After 30 years of making side-scrolling platformers about an Italian plumber, Nintendo is finally letting go of the reins and leaving the controls to the fans.


Super Mario Maker gives fans the tools to create their very own Super Mario levels and bring their imaginations into reality using only the Wii U GamePad. Enemies, obstacles, blocks, and more can be combined by dragging and dropping them together, with more parts becoming available the next day after spending 5 minutes creating a course.


Sound effects and animations can be edited in all the classic environments, and Amiibos can be scanned to add special elements to courses. With a Course World filled with player creations, creators, and challenges, Super Mario fans will be treated with a plethora of crazy iterations of their favorite Nintendo series.


Become the greatest Super Mario Maker on Wii U on September 11th.

Forza Motorsport 6

It's been ten years since the first Forza Motorsport came out on the original Xbox and changed the racing genre forever. To celebrate, Turn 10 Studios looks to do the same again with the sixth instalment in their critically-acclaimed franchise.


Forza Motorsport 6 will be a wetter, darker, and more realistic affair as rain and night will finally be able to affect cars during a race, all in glorious 60 frames per second at 1080p resolution. More than 70 hours of gameplay will be present in the new career mode called "Stories of Motorsport", along with unlockable Showcase events that relive the greatest moments in motorsport history.


Split-screen racing will also return to Forza, and feature 24 cars on track in a single race, ensuring a jam-packed experience both online and offline. With over 450 intricately designer cars to collect, customize, and race across 26 world-famous tracks, Forza Motorsport 6 will surely be an all-consuming experience for racing fans.


Take over Motorsport on Xbox One on September 15th.

Blood Bowl 2

Craving for a video game that combines American football with a fantasy boardgame? Well, Blood Bowl 2 might just be the one.


The sequel to Cyanide Studios' 2009 Blood Bowl, Blood Bowl 2 brings the humor and brutality of the original adaptation into a new graphics engine that fully realizes the character-driven world of Blood Bowl 2 with new cameras and animations.


The all-new single-player story campaign puts players in charge of leading the human race back to glory, while the revamped multiplayer mode lets players create, manage, and develop their own teams comprised of eight races from the Warhammer world. With the ability to upgrade stadiums, customize jerseys, and transfer players, Blood Bowl 2 is a turn-based strategy game with countless possibilities.


Reap Blood on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 22nd.


As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, it's only fitting to pass the darkness with some new-found horror.


From Frictional Games, the creators of the highly-acclaimed Amnesia and Penumbra horror series, SOMA is a first-person sci-fi survival horror game that takes place underwater. In a remote research facility, machines have begun to become human, and alien entities have begun to disrupt the peace.


Players have to find out what happened to the abandoned facility, and find a way out, without weapons, and without help. Through a futuristic setting, disturbing truths about technology and human nature await to be discovered.


Escape SOMA alive on Windows, Mac, Linux, and PlayStation 4 on September 22nd.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5

After more than a decade, the sequel to the greatest skateboarding game series of all time has finally arrived.


The tenth installment in the Tony Hawk's series and the first main entry since 2007, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 brings it back to where it all began. Classic gameplay with signature Pro Skater moves mixed with extended trick combinations is brought to life in over 80 unique missions across 8 different environments.


As a pro or personalized skater, players can shred pavements online with up to 20 people at once, and build and share their very own skateparks using over 250 obstacles for endless creativity. With new items like power-ups and projectiles, leveling up to be the best pro skater around will be a fresh and entertaining experience.


Go Pro on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 29th, and PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 10th.

LEGO Dimensions

Developer TT Games is back once again with another instalment in their successful LEGO series, but this time they're pulling out all the stops with what is undoubtedly the biggest LEGO game to date.


LEGO Dimensions bring the colorful worlds of 14 fan-favorite brands such as DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, and The LEGO Movie together in a LEGO Multiverse threated by an evil mastermind. Starting out in the world of Oz with Batman, Gandalf, and Wyldstyle, players will have to traverse the 14 different Adventure Worlds in order to save their friends and their universes from oblivion.


LEGO Dimensions also marks LEGO's first foray into the toys-to-life arena, with physical minifigures, vehicles, and gadgets available for purchase to be unlocked in-game. Up to seven toys can be dropped onto the LEGO Toy Pad included in the Starter Pack into the game, providing an action-packed experience regardless of whether players choose to play solo or co-op.


Travel through multiple Dimensions on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Wii U, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 from September 27th.


Arise for the Fall


The hustle and bustle of the summer has finally come to a close, and the time has come to settle in for colder winds.


But while we have to say goodbye to sunny beaches, crowded festivals, and smoky barbecues, we can now say hi to the most exciting, congested, but ultimately fun time of the year for video games: the fall.


To start us off on the wonderful gaming journey towards the end of the year, here are 9 games coming to a platform near you in the cool, refreshing month of September.

Focus Interactive Releases Styx: Master of Shadows Teaser Thu, 13 Feb 2014 09:08:24 -0500 Cosmic Engine

Focus Interactive  released a new teaser trailer for Styx: Master of Shadows. The game is in development by French developer Cyanide Studios, who recently released self-published title Dogs of War Online.

The game focuses on Goblin thief Styx; however this is not the first title to feature him. Back in October of 2012, Cyanide released an Action RPG title named Of Orcs and Men. In the game, you played as both Arkail (an elite Orc warrior from the Bloodjaw Clan) and Styx, who is to be Arkail's guide as he tries to infiltrate the human realm.

In Of Orcs and Men, the game allowed you to switch seamlessly between to two main characters. Arkail was the powerhouse in combat, while Styx was more of a rogue and best used for sneak attacks. The game itself was highly underrated in my opinion and was certainly a diamond in the rough.

Little information is available about Styx: Master of Shadows, however we do know that the game will be a stealth game. The game is a standalone tale of the character Styx and not a continuation of the Of Orcs and Men storyline. The developers took to their blog to say:

In Styx: Master of Shadows, you will play a goblin: fragile, but resourceful thanks to his agility, his assassin skills and his magical powers. Your goal will be to steal the heart of the world-Tree, an infinite source of power: amber. But things are not as easy as they seem…”

The developers also went on to say that Styx will not be an easy game and will provide quite the challenge. I for one am very happy to see this character re-emerge from the shadows, as I think two of Of Orcs and Men's strongest features were its characters and world setting.

No release date is available yet and we can assume that Cyanide are still very early in development. It's certainly one I'm keen to keep an eye on.

Apothecary! Blood Bowl Servers Suffer Mysterious Critical Injury Sun, 02 Jun 2013 16:42:54 -0400 Mat Westhorpe

Players eager to spend their Sunday pitting Orc versus Dwarf and Zombie versus Elf in the comedic violence that is Cyanide Studio's Blood Bowl will be sorely disappointed.

At time of writing, the online portion of Blood Bowl has been unavailable for at least 12 hours with no communication from developers.

Attempts to log into the video game adaptation of Games Workshop's classic tabletop game result in a generic error message and there has been no visible announcement on the official website or any associated Twitter feeds, leaving many fans angry and disappointed:

No response was forthcoming from official sources.

Cyanide Studio's website was also unavailable.

On a personal note, with EVE Online also being unavailable due to a DDoS attack, it is looking dangerously like I may have to venture outside...

Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition - Flawed and Loving It Wed, 15 May 2013 20:53:34 -0400 Mat Westhorpe

The comical brutality of Blood Bowl was one of the highlights of my youth. It's creator, Jervis Johnson, was one of my heroes and the playful blend of American Football and Games Workshop's Warhammer medieval fantasy brand was his finest work.

When French developer Cyanide Studio released their first online version of Blood Bowl in 2009, my friends and I were eager to rekindle those evenings and weekends of hilarious, frustrating, tactical violence. Sadly, it was a mixed bag with some frustrating foibles which marred the game experience for us, so ultimately we didn't play it for long.

Uneven Paint Job

Now, several years later, Cyanide has been re-packaged the game as Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition, now with a full compliment of team rosters from the old faithful races like Orcs and Dwarfs to some team types that didn't even exist in my day. Who the hell are the Khemri?!

There are 23 races in total. More importantly, given that it is still the same game engine as the 2009 version, there has been plenty of time to iron out those annoying quirks.

Granted, there are still some problems as my esteemed GameSkinny co-contributor Joseph Rowe points out in his fine and thorough review. The sound is so-so and the commentary quickly repetitive. The graphics do the trick mostly due to the benefit of Games Workshop's excellent vision which, to Cyanide's credit, they've capture well. The unnecessarily labyrinthine menu and management portion is poorly designed. The real-time game mode is just an atrociously pointless addition which manages to drown most of what makes Blood Bowl great in a messy click-fest.

The Right Kind of Ropey?

But the core turn-based game feels right now. I have faith that I can once again play against my friends and recapture that entertaining cacophony of bloody sporting mayhem. Multiplayer is where this flawed gem shines.

I can forgive the game its low-rent feel—after all it is still leaps and bounds ahead of having to pore over rulebooks, shuffle through reams of team sheets and suffer the disapproving gazes of my peers as I reveal I still haven't painted my team miniatures.

And most importantly, the dodgy bastards (you know who you are) can't fiddle the dice rolls any more.

As a result, I am happy to award Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition a score of 8. I agree entirely with Joseph's sentiments, but I feel that his review score of 5 focuses entirely on the wobbly fringes of Cyanide's implementation. Since Blood Bowl is the most flawless board game invented since Chess and is worth of a 10, I'm averaging out and rounding up.

Perhaps I'm being a little generous, but if Joseph doesn't like it, then I'll see him on the astrogranite.

Impire: Does This Ring Any Bells? Sun, 12 May 2013 00:52:31 -0400 MirandaCB

Created by Cyanide Studios and released February 14, 2013, Impire seems hauntingly reminiscent of another game that likely ignites a little happiness, that is if you were a Bullfrog dev fan. Although the game came out a few months ago, I've only recently found the game and ever since playing the first couple of levels, I've noticed that the game is nearly a reboot of Dungeon Keeper 2.

The basic gist is that you play an arch demon summoned by a wizened old warlock looking to take over earth one dungeon at a time. Right off that bat you might be thinking "Hey! I was supposed to be an arch demon! From the looks of it I'm just a stupid little imp!" Well that's the case at first but as the game progresses you actually grow in size and your appearance changes, which helps provide incentive for the player in an otherwise weak story. The whole thing is largely based around the warlock who summoned you, becoming your master. You do his bidding and a lot of the orders that come from him seem almost based on whimsy rather than having an actual point. This, however, plays to the game's strength because at its core, Impire is a casual strategy with cheesy, but endearing dialogue and art.

This Sounds Familiar...

Now, I mentioned Dungeon Keeper 2 for a reason and that's because the core game play and setting is IDENTICAL to that of Impire. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike this rehash because, intentional or not, it really does Dungeon Keeper justice. Sending around your little imp minions to dig out a new room was so satisfying in Dungeon Keeper 2. Although the imps seem to magically create the room instead of digging out each individual tile, the game is a ton of fun and really brings me back. The polish on the graphics engine also serves this well as it's very nice to see the detailed textures of the rooms and how they clearly differentiate between a basic imp lair and a more detailed torture chamber.

Additionally, the nicely polished mechanics honor the battles that take place between warring dungeons. Now this is a bit different from Dungeon Keeper 2 in that there is not necessarily a "good" dungeon (with paladins, clerics, etc.) and a "bad" dungeon, but the combat effects and style are the same and, while simple, they add a fun action-oriented element to the game.

You're probably thinking "Hey! What about the game, Dungeons? That seems pretty popular on Steam too!" Well I don't know nearly as much about it because I just couldn't get into it. It had a similar play style and purpose, but the setting was just plain different. It lost the comedic relief and became a darker game overall. Maybe I'm biased, but I prefer to stick with a lighthearted casual dungeon maker that I can laugh at and blow off a little steam. What do you guys think?

Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition - the Dice Hate Me Tue, 23 Apr 2013 09:08:49 -0400 Joseph Rowe

Blood Bowl is possibly one of the greatest ideas for a tabletop and/or video game ever. You take the races from the Warhammer fantasy universe and pit them against each other in a brutal game of pseudo football. Orks kicking the crud out of Elves, what's there not to love?

I'd known about the game for a few years, but never really developed an interest in playing it until recently. I've always had a passing interest in Games Workshop's products, but I never wanted to fork out the ridiculous cash they ask you to pay to get into any of their tabletop games.

Thankfully, there is a (few) video game version(s) of the Blood Bowl IP. A few of my friends expressed interest in it, so, when it went on sale a few months ago, we picked it up.

Initially, I was super excited for the game. It seems to do a good job of recreating a tabletop experience with its mechanics revolving around virtual dice pools and rolls. Unfortunately, the execution fell a bit short and, well, you'll see:


The sound in Blood Bowl is passable. I really feel like there is nothing special that stands out in a positive way. The various sound effects do what they need to do and nothing more. The music that was present in the game never stood out to me. It was okay.

There is one area in sound where the game really falls flat: commentary.

Everyone knows that sports games need commentary. Even though I haven't touched a Madden game since Bush's first term, those games had commentary that did a good job at lasting for a while without getting too repetitive. I'm assuming that they've even improved on it since then.

Blood Bowl has two commentators, Jim and Bob, a vampire and an ogre. When you first start playing the game, they entertain you with their jokes and observations. Then they repeat them over and over. By the time you've played your third match, unless you collect broken records, you're going to turn off the commentators.


The graphics in Blood Bowl themselves are, for the most part, on par with what you should expect from a game which originally came out in 2009. There are some really awesome designs for the character races and stadiums, but said stadiums are filled with the same repeating crowd models that just make that aspect of the game feel half-assed.


Here comes the heartache. As excited as I was originally for the game to recreate a tabletop feel, it was ultimately the dice mechanics that made me not click with this game.

In real life, when you play a tabletop game, you yourself get to roll the dice. You build a bond with your favorite set and you generally can trust one that you feel has gotten you more crits than other sets.

In Blood Bowl, the dice are rolled virtually. These should end up with the same results, but there are times where a game will give one or both teams rolls that deviate from what they should be averaging.

Sometimes, you get bad rolls in real life. You just happen to have an off day. However, there is a sense of control that comes with rolling your own dice. In the game, this is removed and it just sometimes feels unfair when your opponent is rolling extremely high and you are rolling extremely low. When the tables are flipped, it feels like you're cheating.

This lack of agency with the dice rolls feels especially bad when your players die. I mostly played teams with lower armor values which translated to tons of injuries and deaths. After each game, I'd have at least one player dead, sometimes two or three.

When you're a low armor team and you play against a high armor and/or high strength team, you're going to lose players. This is a truth you deal with. It becomes especially harsh when you lose players early on in the game, more or less making the victor clear before the first half.

Due to the ongoing League multiplayer nature of Blood Bowl, continuing with a team that's lost multiple players due to deaths and serious injury, you're basically forced to scrap teams that have particularly bad games. There's no limit to how many you can make, but this still becomes tedious and spirit breaking after a while.

On the subject of multiplayer, when playing Blood Bowl, my friends and I had a handful of disconnects that were the fault of the game. In addition to that, setting up an online game in the first place is kind of a pain in the butt, especially when you first start playing and aren't familiar with the clunky menu system.

My last complaint is about the game's complexity. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually really like the complexity of the game and it actually makes me still want to try the tabletop game, but I feel that the tutorial the game gives you is inadequate in properly acquainting you with the game.

If more editions of Blood Bowl come out, I hope that they further develop the tutorial system and maybe teach the player a thing or two about strategy.

There are more issues I have with Blood Bowl's inherent randomness that I could harp on for a while, but for the sake of brevity, I'll leave it at this: at least in the initial stages of building a team, the majority of the game is luck based. With enough bad rolls, even the most optimized team can lose in Blood Bowl.


I was severely disappointed with my experience in Blood Bowl. I did manage to have some fun playing with my friends, but ultimately, the dice were unforgiving and ruined my experience.

If you're interested in playing it, do your research and/or pick it up when it's on sale. It seems like it would be a solid game in the hands of some people, but I just couldn't get into it personally.

For Blood Bowl making me watch my handsome Elves and beautiful Amazons die over and over while assaulting my ears with horrible commentary tracks, I give this game a 5/10.