Finding truths in more ways than one.
Every once in a while, a game will come along that I had never heard of and when taking a look at it, will completely and utterly surprise me. It’s always a refreshing feeling when this happens and revitalizes my thoughts and love for video games as a whole. Stories: The Path of Destinies may sound like a generic game by the title, but it is a gem that I believe everyone should play.
Players take on the role of Reynardo, a roguish fox who has been caught in a war against an evil emperor and a rebellion that is hoping to overthrow him. Reynardo is thrust into this war and must figure out a way to bring down the empire without destroying the entire world or getting himself killed. Both of which can be rather tricky to do.
Platforms: PC, PS4
Price I’d pay: $14.99
The game is an action RPG with choices and exploration being the two main drivers. Reynardo will take on the evil crow army with his trusty sword in Batman-inspired combat. Coming into a “battle arena” players will attack enemies in succession, racking up hit combos and utilizing Reynardo’s rogue abilities for different situations. Run into an enemy using a shield? Use Reynardo’s hookshot to grab the shield away from them. About to get hit by a mage’s fire blast? Use the magic dash to quickly dodge the attack. It is everything I loved about the rhythmic combat in the Arkham games, and unlike other games that tried to use this style and somewhat fail, Stories makes it work, and work really well.
After each battle, Reynardo will gain experience points with which he can level up and learn or improve his abilities. On top of leveling up, he can find chests in the game that hold ore and elemental essences that can be used to empower his sword for ice, fire, or void damage. These special swords also serve as keys for looked doors when going through levels or revisiting levels a second or third time, which will happen a decent amount.
Revisiting levels is going to happen because of how Stories plays out. You see, getting to the end of the story will only take players around 20 to 30 minutes, but the biggest thing is there are over 20 stories to see. As I said before, this game’s main draw is making decisions. At the end of each level, players must make a choice on what to do next. Will Reynardo go rescue his old buddy Lapino, or will he decide to try to find the powerful ancient weapon that was used to banish an evil god? Each decision has an impact on the story and how the game will play out. After seeing how a story plays out, the game begins again, but this time with a “truth” revealed. Knowing these truths, players must make a different decision the next playthrough, and hopefully end up with the right choice. With a ton of different deviations, the story can play out in so many different ways. It even affects the game play in some aspects.
If there were any issues I had with the game it would be that the framerate would dip a bit at times. In heavy combat sequences or even in some of the traversal, the game would hitch up for a couple of seconds, but it was never enough for me to really be effected by it.
The presentation is what really makes the game stand out. It is presented in a storybook form where a narrator is telling the story and even voicing all the characters. With each level being a chapter, it keeps up to date what choices I had made and what the outcome was during the end of each story. Think of it like a choose-your-own-adventure book that’s being read to the player. It’s very well done and even has some decent humor in it. At the end of each story, it shows the overall stories I had unlocked as well as the four main truths I had discovered, which allowed me to choose differently when going back to see the next story. Also, with more truths revealed, newer tiers of abilities would unlock for Reynardo to put skill points in when leveling up.
Stories is a game that has a lot of heart. Sure, there are plenty of things in this game that I have seen before in some form or fashion, but it never stopped me from having a fantastic time with it. The look and stories that are told are fun and exciting to see play out, and the combat works just as well as the caped crusader’s adventures. Add in a ton of replay value with the numerous stories and a leveling and progression system that always adds something new to the table with every playthrough, and you’ve got a fun playing and well told action RPG tale that I think everyone should try out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.