As a child some of my favorite books to read were the “choose your own adventure” type books where you would come to a page and have a choice to make and would flip to the page it tells you to continue reading. If you made a wrong choice the story would end and you would go back and make a different one to try an get a different outcome. Many games like to give players different choices to change things up as well. Stories: The Path of Destinies from Spearhead Games resembles those childhood books I loved so I was curious to see how it really turned out.
The game begins with our roguish fox hero, Reynardo involved in a war with a evil frog emperor. The game is an action role playing game where you will travel through various environments fighting various enemies, collection treasure, and becoming stronger. Each story or playthrough will only take you around an hour or a little more to finish. Before you freak out and think that this game isn’t worth the cost of entry know that this is a key point of the game. After you finish each level you are asked to make a choice between a few different options. Do you choose to go save a friend or instead seek out a powerful weapon that could turn the war in your favor? Things aren’t always as simple as they may appear and each choice will take you down a different path and different worlds.
When you finish one of your playthroughs you’ll find that things maybe didn’t go so well but in turn you also learn something that could help you in your next session. Then you’ll play again making different choices and learn something else that can help you in your third playthrough. So yes while each story will only take you around an hour or so you’ll want to keep playing more and more to see what can happen next. As you travel through the worlds you’ll find treasure that you can use to upgrade your sword or various other swords that you can unlock. These swords also allow you to open various doors in the game leading to new paths and new treasure. Maybe on your first playthrough you don’t have the right sword to open a door but when you come back to that world again on a second, third, etc time you might have the right sword and thus will be able to explore that previously blocked path.
Since Stories is an RPG as well every enemy you beat will reward you with XP that will level you up. Every time you level up you’ll earn a skill point that you can spend in your skill tree for more things like more health or the ability to slow down time while fighting. Speaking of fighting I love the combat system in Stories and if you’ve played the Batman Arkham games you’ll feel right at home here. You press the square button to attack and chain combos and when you see a marker above an enemies head indicating they are going to attack you can press the analog stick towards them and bounce to them before they land their attack. It just works very well and you can’t really go wrong imitating the combat system from another great franchise. You’ll face various enemies in the game from crows to wizard like enemies who will try to keep their distance from you. Enemies with shields you’ll have to use your hookshot to yank their shied away once you unlock that upgrade. There is a lot here to enjoy.
The graphics in the game are colorful and really beautiful. The game has a top down like view but when you are running near a cliff or across a bridge you really come to admire just how vast the world is. You’ll travel to deserts, forests, snowy mountain tops and more through the various stories so there is a good variety here. The game does have some issues here though as several time the frame rate would take a noticeable hit and I even found myself stuck in the ground at one point causing me to have to close the game and start that section over.
As far as audio goes much like a certain other indie RPG, Stories has a narrator who tells the story. The voice work here is really well done and it delivers some laugh out loud moments for sure. I would have liked the characters to have their own voice actors rather than the narrator speaking for them but it’s done well regardless. It was really funny when he would say something even when I was standing there slashing my sword at nothing.
I can’t speak highly enough of Stories: The Path of Destinies. It’s another fantastic game in the PlayStation Launch Party lineup and one I can’t really find hardly any fault with. All I wanted to do after I finished each story was start another one to see what different choices I could make and different worlds they would take me to. It’s got a beautiful art style, awesome combat system, and a narrator who delivers some great lines. If you are a fan of action RPG’s or games with choices that change the outcome of the game you MUST play this.
+ A story that changes based on decisions you make and encourages you to come back for more
+ Satisfying combat system and progression system
+ Beautiful worlds that you never get tired or visiting
+ Well delivered voice work
= Occasional frame rate dips and a glitch here and there
*All screenshots were taken in game using the Share button on the Dualshock 4