Stories: The Path Of Destinies was developed and published by Spearhead Games. It was released for PlayStation 4 on April 12th, 2016 at a price of $14.99. A press review copy was provided to The Hidden Levels.
Stories: The Path Of Destinies is a pirate-looking fox facing off against ravens using ancient weapons and a trusty ship which sounds like my kind of game. This PlayStation 4 title takes place in a land where anthropomorphic animals walk the land, with toads usually serving as scholars, ravens as dim-witted soldiers, and a fox who wishes to be a legendary hero! After securing a magical book from a burning village the fox-like Reynardo finds himself venturing down multiple “paths” in which each end in some type of failure. The goal for the player is to find the “true ending” by venturing down multiples paths, learning new “truths” to help decide on events as you go through them again, and make the fox stronger to cut down his enemies easier every time around.
What I Enjoyed:
Funny-good story: It may seem like a basic statement but this is a really well written story with an interesting background. There seems to be a lot of history behind the different lore and weapons of the past as they go on about Lost Gods, the Skyripper, the Iblis Stone, and on which makes you want more. If anything the game makes the player want to learn more about other magical warriors and weapons that could be discovered. It also leaves an opportunity to grow into more spin-offs and sequels if the developers get enough recognition from the title. The plot is the greatest part about Stories that players will want to get behind and fascinate them since it’s told in a way that’s comical but still has underlying messages that are endearing and profound. The Path of Destinies can entertain players of all ages with its cartoon style graphics but also some of the more mature humor that can be found down the road.
Beautiful scenery: The landscapes, cities, and forests simply look gorgeous as you travel through the different levels, fighting Ravens in order to figure out the best way to take on the Empire and its evil Emperor. The best location is the Nexus, a place where dark magic happens and crystalline growths come out of almost every floating rock around staircases in the sky. Each level definitely stands out from one another, never feeling the same and always letting the player know that they’re somewhere else entirely. It’s just sad that these maps are seen so many times over and over while venturing through multiple play throughs, it almost ruins the majesty for them.
Easy and rhythmic: It’s all about timing in Path of Destinies‘ game play, and making sure you’re in the rhythm of things whilst keeping up with where your enemies are. This is beneficial because it makes the game fairly easy to get through while still getting tough later on closer to the end of a story path. The player still needs to be quick to the punch (or slice) as you decide whether to hook and pull someone close to Reynardo, dash through them to avoid a suicide-bomber Raven, or work your way to killing the ice Raven buffing his companions. It’s definitely fun even though it’s not as intricate as other role-playing games available on the platform.
Awesome narration: The only charm that comes with repeating multiple timelines comes from the eccentric narrator that not only weaves the tale the player has unraveled but also performs all of the characters’ voices with whimsical talent. Be it male or female, the narrator makes sure to explain what the characters are feeling with cute humor and obvious sci-fi references (i.e. Star Wars, Duke Nukem). It’s obvious that the male narrator isn’t doing a good job at portraying a woman which adds to the hilarity but also makes it feel like a funny audio book. This humor is coupled with the funny quips and intentional awkwardness in the dialogue that catches the players attention even more.
What I Disliked:
The same enemies: Ravens are great and there is a bit of a variety to them that includes fiery versions that can shoot at you, icy ones that power-up other Ravens, and even the odd one-eyed sentinels that can bring down your health significantly if you’re caught in their gaze but this isn’t enough to warrant replays or offer anymore originality to the title. If there were only different enemies to encounter after going down a certain path instead of the steady ravens that are thrown at you then it would have offered more intrigue. This is where the title starts to feel bland in this beautifully crafted world as players will soon get sick of facing the same thing over and over again.
Grind’s end: There are some Trophies that require you to not only acquire all the different endings that are accumulated throughout every run through but also that the player has to acquire every skill in order to achieve. While this was a fun title in order to find the true ending to it after circumventing the ones that led to the death of our foxy hero having to grind out the five level system 25 times will begin to feel redundant and boring. Of course hardcore players out there will go through it but at the end will need something for their headache after hearing the narrator repeat choices over and over. Which brings us to the next point.
Chit chat: This is a title that’s sole purpose is replay-ability so it’s only fair to point out that not just some of the dialogue should be given the opportunity to skip, but ALL of it should. This becomes extremely tedious to listen to the same lines when the narrator is explaining all the choices after each level every time. For those that are going for the aforementioned Trophies, be prepared to memorize the choices and be able to repeat them out loud in your sleep. This slows down the progress and ultimately ruins the fun in replaying the story over and over. It’s understandable that sometimes the choices may be different so the developers wanted the player to hear them for sure but when you just want to see the ultimate outcome along with brief explanations on the side of the choice you’re about to make in the book, it doesn’t really matter to hear this witty narrator quip the same joke in a choice for the fourth time.
The odd glitch here and there: While the game did chug while rendering at certain points, there were also other minor glitches that arose during game play. These glitches included getting snagged in the ground, which slowed our hero significantly and even at a point became stuck permanently. Getting stuck seems to be the main issue with the title, as dashing is a common way to quickly traverse the map but sometimes it can get wonky whilst in battle. You’ll find yourself stuck in the wall or falling off the ledge past the invisible wall trying to prevent that. Other glitches that occurred have been invisible enemies when the action gets too crazy for the game to handle, out-of-reach hook-poles on the ships, and the one-eyed laser sentinels stinging you although you crept up behind them for sure. These all take away from the game play and can make it extremely frustrating, especially when replaying the story to collect all the endings…
I’ve got to say that I really like what Spearhead Games has done with Stories: The Path of Destinies. It’s a really well-thought title in which a lot of heart was put into making the story humorous along with wrenching feelings here and there. It’s funny to see how the story can go wrong in almost any type of circumstance, and only by learning the truths can you find out how the fox will get away with living in the end. It’s a fun title for what it’s worth and I’d recommend anyone to get it just to play through it and enjoy its comedic, but well-written, plot. It is, however, a very repetitive game, and becomes tedious if you want to collect all the endings and power up the fox hero to the maximum, but ultimately this can be countered by leaving the game for another title and then coming back to it in a few weeks.
Score: Buy it now