Version Tested On: PS4
Available On: PC, PS4
Developer: Spearhead Games
Genre: Third Person Dungeon Crawler
Official Site: www.storiesthepathofdestinies.com
Release Date: April 12, 2016
How to Buy: PSN, HumbleStore, Steam
Once upon a time, Spearhead Games decided to take on the difficult task of developing a game involving decision making. “Oh no, our decisions won’t matter! This will surely end in ruin!”, gamers cried, scorned with decision-based titles that had let them down in the past. Spearhead scoffed. They had a fresh approach in mind, one full of swashbuckling steampunk-ish foxes and erratic rabbits, daring adventures, and danger.
And so Stories: The Path of Destinies was born.
Reynardo the Fox is your swashbuckling hero, set in a fantastical world in the midst of a rebellion. Without giving away too many spoilers, the goal of the game is to lead Reynardo down the correct path to save the land and vanquish an evil emperor, all the while wooing an old flame. Decisions are the major plot device, and what you choose for Reynardo to do next impacts his story until the very end. When a plot line is complete, if it was to end in ruin, the pages of the old book you happen to be reading turn back, and his story begins again. Unlocking various endings will lend you clues to the correct sequence of events to lead you to a better ending. As you venture down new paths, new clues and abilities will become available to aid you in maps you may have visited before. While the story is compelling, it may be a bit confusing for new players as the game throws them directly into the turmoil.
The most impressive feature of Stories: The Path of Destinies is its visuals. Featuring a cell-shaded stylized world, Stories’s levels are absolutely astounding. Adventuring through the game’s levels is both breathtaking and immersive. The developers have excelled in level design by creating what some AAA developers strive for in their visuals. The colorful, cartoony style combined with realistic environmental models and lighting creates a visual feast for the eyes. Reynardo adventures through a multitude of landscapes, ranging from deserts, forests, and forsaken Rebel bases, so there are quite a few different worlds to take in and enjoy.
Stories: The Path of Destinies has a combat system that is a refreshing take on hack-and-slash mechanics. The moves you make while hacking at your foes matter greatly, and require you to think fast as you observe what is going on around you. When mastered, it leaves the player leaving a battle feeling invincible. When rusty, it leaves the player dead. Health is not easy to come by and does not regenerate while running about the expansive levels, so the hits that enemies land hurt a lot. As you progress in the game, players will be able to level up Reynardo’s combat skills and weapons, which provide a fun incentive to see what you can make the little fox do next.
It appears that Spearhead has created a combat system that is balanced and challenging. Unfortunately, the placement of the combat sessions tends to drag the pacing of the game down. Running through the gorgeously rendered maps just to reach an area that you can’t escape until every enemy is dead loses its appeal after multiple playthroughs to attain every ending. Things get understandably repetitive. After all, that is a pivotal element to the game’s narrative. Reynaldo’s story also is only so entertaining after so many runs through the storylines. Even with additional hints and tips after each unlocked path, there is only so much to be said for the same maps and choices leading up to the correct one that wraps up the game’s narrative
Overall, Stories: The Path of Destinies is a fun game with a fun combat system. The levels are beautiful to play through, and the story is interesting enough to keep players coming back for the extra bits of narrative. However, players will just have to drudge through the element of familiarity. Everything is worth its trouble, as long as gamers feel the need to push forward through multiple paths for hints and tips for the correct ending.
- Gameplay: A fun hack-and-slash with a twist. Reynaldo’s abilities and enemy progression keep players on their toes.
- Graphics: The graphics are what excel in this game. This indie is a visual treat.
- Sound: Fantastical narrative accompanied by fitting thematic music suits gameplay well.
- Presentation: Although a bit confusing for new players, Stories throws gamers right into the heart of Reynaldo’s fairy-tale crisis.
- Lovely environment and character design.
- Combat accompanied by character progression keep the hack-and-slash combat style fresh.
- Interesting premise pushes gamers to collect as many details and clues as they can.
- Repetition, while a pivotal part of the game, can get boring.
- Pacing is sometimes interrupted by the forced combat sequences.
- The narrative can be a bit confusing for new players who are thrown into the middle of Reynaldo's crisis.