Review: Stories: The Path of Destinies
Stories: The Path of Destinies follows Reynardo the Fox as he finds himself sucked into the Rebellion against an evil Emperor. Things aren’t going well for the Rebellion and with the final battle approaching it’s up to Reynardo to make decisions that will greatly impact how the final conflict will play out. It also helps that Reynardo has in his possession a book that allows its holder to go back in time and learn from prior mistakes.
The Path of Destinies works like a choose your own adventure book and across five chapters you’ll be presented with four key branching points. At the start Reynardo is presented with three options with subsequent junction points offering two specific choices. These paths continue to branch into a variety of different stories that ultimately lead to 24 endings that’ll provide the knowledge needed to unlock the true end. Each of the 24 routes that you can take ultimately lead to a bad end for Reynardo, but what’s important is the information that’s learned in each story. For instance one route might reveal a traitor and another might demonstrate just how deadly a certain artifact might be. It’s in these moments that ‘truths’ are learned that are necessary in making the correct choices that lead to the game’s true end.
At its core Stories: The Path of Destinies is a pretty simple hack and slash game with a focus on counters that provides a similar feel to the combat found in the Batman Arkham series. In addition to basic attacks Reynardo can spend skill points to learn new abilities and even forge new types of weapons by using resources found in the environment. Using Reynardo’s hook-shot to pull enemies close, throwing enemies off a ledge, and stringing together counters to build your combo feels really great. At the same time the game is hardly challenging and it really doesn’t take long to become overpowered. I never really found a reason to use different weapon types or special abilities because I really didn’t need to. Even the stronger enemies quickly become pushovers which just makes the character progression and weapon crafting feel a little meaningless.
Outside of combat the stages have plenty of secondary routes and hidden areas with lots of loot to find. This is really important when you consider that you’ll be replaying the same stages numerous times on the route to the true end. There’s absolutely a feeling of repetition that creeps in, but I felt like Spearhead Games handled this issue pretty well. The narrator has enough lines that it’s rare to hear him say the same thing twice, alternate routes allow levels to mix things up, and doors that require a specific type of weapon to unlock allows for even more new areas to open up with each playthrough. It’s not perfect, as I’ll get to soon, but there are enough changes that make at least the first handful of playthroughs feel pretty distinct.
It didn’t take long into my second playthrough to see how the story would build from one route to the next. The knowledge I learned from each route played into the story, delivered new context for each scene, and often times influenced specific choices that I’d make. This works really well with the choose your own adventure conceit and makes the overall story far more interesting. Unfortunately, with only 4 truths to learn, the game doesn’t really make it worth your while to seek out all 24 endings. Every route fits into one of four truths and those truths offer endings that are quite different, but the group of endings that are tied into each truth offer stories that are only slightly different. There’s no epilogue or anything for seeing every route and so going through every last choice just felt like a waste. (Especially with how similar some endings felt and the amount of repetition that comes along with playing through the story 25 times.) That said I absolutely recommend setting aside the five hours it’ll take to unlock the four truths and to seek out the true ending. The narrative and how it’s told is really interesting and is absolutely worth seeing.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Choose Your Own Adventure style narrative
- Using truths from past playthroughs to help make new choices
- Stringing together combos feels good
- Does a decent job of avoiding repetition at first...
What I Dislike:
- ...but there's still quite a bit of repetition if you end up going for every ending.
- Enemies provide very little challenge
- I wish there was something there for people who get all 24 endings