At its core Stories Path Of Destinies is a hack and slash RPG. But what really defines Stories The Path Of Destinies are its choices, and the impact those choices have on the game. While each playthrough of the game last around 30 minutes, it’s the perfect sequence of choices that you are always looking to crack. Something that is more elusive than it sounds.
|(+) Choice driven narrative
||(-) Repetitive Combat|
|(+) Excellent Voice-Over
||(-) Shallow Skill Tree|
Detailed Stories: Path Of Destinies Review
(+) What does the Fox Choose?
You play Reynardo, a fox trying to help the rebel cause against a dark emperor. Reynardo is in possession of a book, which transports him back to a specific point in time, every time he ends up dead. It just so happens that the specific point in time is when he has to choose his first mission against the Emperor. So every time Reynardo makes a bad string of choices, he is transported (teleported?) back to the beginning with 3 possibilities open to him, while still remembering the paths that he had taken earlier.
Stories Path Of Destinies takes an everlasting tropes of Video games and converts it into a game-mechanic. It takes the dying and learning aspect of video games and makes it the central to the experience. Every time you die, you unlock a new destiny, and may even unlock some truths (4 in total) which will not change across playthorughs. You can then use these truths and your earlier choices (which can be referenced easily any time) to make more educated choice on your next playthrough.
Choices and multiple ending are a part of many games these days. But none impact the ending as much as the choices in Stories Path Of Destinies. There are a total of 24 possible endings, depending upon the various choices that you make. Each playthrough is roughly divided into 4-5 chapters which results in you making 4-5 critical choices. A single playthrough lasts about 30 minutes or so, which encourages you to try difference combinations and unlock each destiny even after you have unlocked the “True Hero Ending”.
(-) The Fox that grinds
When it comes to gameplay though, Stories Path Of Destinies is pretty standard. It’s a isometric Hack and Slash game with counter mechanics, leveling up and skill-tree built into it. As Reynardo gets more experience, he learns new skills. As he gathers more resources, he is able to forge stronger swords. And as he forges swords, he is able to access previously locked areas of levels and discover shortcuts.
The problem with that though is that all of this seems too shallow. By the time I was done with my 7th playthrough, I had upgraded all 4 of my swords, and had unlocked all of my skills. There were some passive skills which needed to be unlocked, but all of my combat options were now open to me, which I was using to dispatch an increasingly predictable assortment of enemies, which were not as varied as most games are.
There is a bit of platforming involved in the game, but nothing that can’t be done with your eyes closed, when you have already done it 5 times earlier. While you can make any permutation of choices, you will still land up with one of the 7 levels/islands in the game, the layout of which can be easily memorized. The game even for its short playthrough can become a little repetitive in its combat and level traversal, which can lead to boredome.
(+) The Fox that looks great, sounds great
The art of Stories The Path Of Destinies stands out. And so does the narration, Julian Casey voice-over over well drawn hand-panels feels as if someone is reading to you from a book, and reading it well adding emphasis on emotions, just like a real reader would too. The hidden jokes and subtle humor also goes a long way in making you grin from time to time. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously at any point, and in that it differentiates itself from similar games like Transistor.
The level design also, looks like a fractured fairy tale world, with each level a different floating island on top of a mythical creature. With pop-colors and witty humor Stories is able to paint a vibrant picture that is in line with its fantastic tale.
I did encounter some bugs on my play time on the PS4. Once when Reynardo stopped responding to directional buttons; and another when he was trapped inside the debris of crystals that I had just broken. But there was nothing in the game that appeared or felt as if it was game breaking.