Stories : The Path Of Destinies is a game that is reminiscent of those classic choose your own adventure books. You know the ones I’m talking about, where you had to choose from a number of options available to you and head to the marked page to continue your journey and see the outcome of your decision. Of course, if you didn’t like that option you might just turn back, but that’s not possible in Stories: The Path Of Destinies. You can’t undo you choices here, but they are just part of Reynardo’s quest to defeat the evil emperor.
There are 25 completely different paths that players can take within Stories, though only the hero’s path is considered to be the true ending of the game. With such width and choice afforded to you, it’s understandable that you can reach an ending within 40 minutes, though the hero’s path remains locked unless you find the four truths. If you make the correct decisions early then you’ll be able to find the truths within the first six playthroughs, with a little guidance from the game. However, while these four truths are needed, the other paths help to flesh out the characters and their motivations.
Reynardo is the hero of this tale and the character players control, but depending on your decisions he may go down paths that cross the line. The stories are told by a single narrator who describes the events and voices the characters, making the game feel more like an interactive novel. It feels like you are being read to at story time, with the book open on the narrator’s lap. It’s all done in such a way that draws you in nicely, but there does come a point where the same lines are repeated because of the nature of Stories’ design.
Stories’ graphics are similarly imaginative, with bright colours and varying environments from a small abandoned village to flying ships. The general art direction feels like a cross between a cartoon and an animated movie, though the character designs can appear a bit flat at times. The movement is smooth for the most part, but there were a couple of areas where there was some minor stuttering, while the game’s load times can be a bit on the long side too, halting the pace of the game.
Though the narrated story is naturally the hook to draw you in, Stories: The Path Of Destinies features a frantic combat system, which takes inspiration and lessons from the Arkham games. In these battles, Reynardo faces a number of enemies and moves from one to another with some grace. Enemies will attack you when given the opportunity, but you’ll receive a warning as they swing for you, allowing you to counter and cut them down. You always need to be alert, just in case there’s an enemy looking to come at you.
There are different types of opposing fighters from regular grunts, shield bearers, and warlocks that can cast fire or buff other fighters. A bit of tactical thought comes into play later on, as the different enemy types face you together. However, the game can get to be repetitive across multiple plays through, where the encounters are the same in each area.
Reynardo earns experience and skill points from these tussles, but can only spend these on upgraded moves, health or speed if you get to an altar. He also has access to four different swords with different abilities, which range from healing to setting enemies on fire. Only one sword is unlocked at the very start, with the others requiring element essence and ore.
The essence and ore can be found in the treasures chests that are dotted around each level, and they replenish through each story path. When you have enough of the resources you’ll need to find a workbench to unlock and upgrade the swords. The four swords aren’t just weapons but also act as keys. In each area there are doors that can only be opened by the right sword, and they lead to bigger treasure chests that hold gems that give Reynardo boosts, like being able to cause more damage or move faster.
Stories: The Path Of Destinies is a charming and colourful game that is well presented with good narration. The number of paths that can be taken allow for a lot of replayability, and there’s some well crafted combat. However, there comes a point where the game does become repetitive, which can make drumming up motivation to unlock all the stories tough. Even so, Stories: The Path Of Destinies is worth going through a few times, even if you don’t want to go through all 25 paths.
Version Tested: PS4