DECIDING YOUR ADVENTURE
Making a decision is always difficult. Should I eat a bagel with cream cheese or a bowl of oatmeal? Am I going to take the highway or see the scenic route? Will I keep my current mundane job or take a risk and fly to a new job? Most decisions are innocuous and minimally alter the course of your life. Others though, drastically shape your future – for better or worse. Stories: The Path of Destinies toys with the idea of choices to entirely shape it’s storyline to craft a good single-player adventure.
You begin your adventure as Reynardo the Fox, a clever rogue, who falls into a brewing war between the maniacal Emperor and the Rebellion. With an affinity to side with the Rebellion, you traverse around the world searching for powerful weapons, or attempt to rescue your rabbit friend, Lapino, or work your way to charming the Emperor’s daughter. The fine line between revealing any sort of spoiler for the game and explaining the simplest storyline stops here.
With 25 different stories to be told, with 25 distinctly different endings, the experience crafted can change from player to player. This, to me, made the game wonderfully fascinating. Yes, Telltale seems to be the master of this, but Spearhead Games decided to craft the game with this in mind and allow for the game to become inherently replayable. In fact, once you complete your first “story,” the game explains a scenario in which you’re repositioned in the beginning once more to experience a different play through. In of itself, this strategy is perfect for replayability. I found myself going through this more than a half-dozen times (each playthrough takes about 40 minutes), each time finding an entirely new adventure at my fingertips.
The replayability to discover the alternate stories is an intriguing idea and also serves as a catalyst to explore the various floating island levels. An ominous graveyard/ catacombs level, an icy avalanche-prone mountain, and an armada of flying ships create an ever changing environment for players to explore. The cell-shading-esque graphics are a wonderful change of pace from the polarity of either pixel games or photo-realistic cinematic games. My most enjoyable moments, by far, certainly occurred randomly throughout the game. Luke-warm voice acting aside, the writing at random moments wonderfully references numerous pop-culture worlds – Star Wars, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Final Fantasy, were some of the franchises that were subtly mentioned. Whether it was traveling in 12 parsecs or shuffling your best deck, I’m certain there were more that I didn’t catch, that I can’t wait to find for the first time.
The mechanics of the game, however, did not catch my attention. Traversing through each floating-island was a decent enough experience with alternate pathways. Different pathways become accessible over time as you collect more powerful swords that open different doors based on different elements (fire, water, etc.). Treasures would be discovered, and I could further strengthen my skills and weapons for battle. The combat did flow in a very Batman: Arkham Knight style, but the lack of variety in both enemies and attacks quickly lessened my excitement towards the melee – I was just pressing one button and your direction over and over (and over and over) again. The ability to build up the combo meter helped hook me into gaining more experience,which lessen the blow in apparent grinding. But with the lack of difficulty to the fighting paired with the quick boosts in the character’s overall strength found me getting more annoyed with these battles than looking forward to them as I wanted to.
The Verdict: 7.1 out of 10
Stories: The Path of Destinies is an interesting approach to an adventure game that centralizes around a decision-based story weaved within an inherent need to replay and discover alternate adventures. The mundane voice acting, paired with static fights, ultimately hinders the game and wanes on the player’s desire to replay the game fully – essentially deterring from the exact hook of the game. A few playthroughs can satiate the excitement of experiencing different stories, but if you really want to get all of them then the enjoyment will certainly diminish.
A review copy has been provided by Spearhead Games for this article.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.