Title: Stories: The Path of Destinies
Developer: Spearhead Games/Nephilim Game Studios
Genre: Action & Adventure, RPG
Platform: Xbox One
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 22/03/2019
Price: £12.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
Stories: The Path of Destinies wasn’t a game I’d heard of before, despite it being available on Playstation for a few years. A quick research told me that this is was a choice-based game in a fantasy setting. Now, I’m a massive fan of narrative games as a fiction writer, and fantasy is my favourite genre. The combination instantly drew me in, and with so many other strengths, I’m happy to say this game didn’t let me down!
Playing as Reynardo, an ex-pirate fox, you find yourself caught in a battle against a raven army fighting for an Emperor. How you approach him is up to you, and this is where you choose the steps you take, altering the storyline. There are more than twenty outcomes for you to discover, but four main truths to unlock. Who can you trust, and how does Reynardo really feel about the Emperor’s daughter?
This means although you may choose different steps and receive a different outcome, you won’t necessarily find a truth. However, if you’re struggling, you can turn on a truth finder symbol in the options, to make sure you choose the steps which will lead you to a truth. I thoroughly enjoyed finding out what would happen if I took a different path, as it did alter the story and its characters.
Even if it wasn’t one of the four truths, you would always discover something new. There were many islands and environments, alongside new dialogue to keep you entertained. With the British accents and witty, sarcastic humour, it definitely gave me Fable vibes, another fantasy franchise which I love. There are also brilliant pop culture references which had me chuckling!
However, I think it can get a little repetitive trying to unlock more outcomes, as some are so similar. This means you get a lot of the same battles and encounters or go to the same places. This isn’t necessarily a negative of the game, but it means you’ll probably pop on to do one or two rather than play for hours.
To counter this though, there are a variety of swords for you to unlock which in turn open gates to pathways on the islands. To acquire these swords, you collect materials like ore from the chests scattered throughout the game. Alongside that there are gems in chests too, with special perks like extra damage, being able to equip three at a time.
There is also a skill tree, obtaining points to spend by fighting enemies and levelling up. This unlocks abilities that Reynardo has forgotten, such as dashing and slowing downtime. Fighting is acrobatic and fun, especially when you have more abilities. The movement is very well done and graceful, so it’s very pleasing to watch!
Your enemies are mainly ravens, though there are different types such as an exploding one and a necromancer-like one. There could have been maybe more of a variety of enemies, though to make it less repetitive. You can counter their attacks and throw them, shield-wielding enemies having to have someone thrown at them to break their shield.
You do get a warning in the form of a white exclamation mark above an enemy’s head when they’re about to attack so that you can counter. However, it can be easily lost if you’re fighting a lot of enemies so I would have liked it to be a brighter colour or maybe bigger.
The graphics are not mind-blowing, but they are smooth and portray the different environments well, which is excellent world-building. From the glistening crystals to the flying ships to the gloomy sewers, it allows you to imagine the overall world. It’s a shame that because of the top-down view of the game you can’t see Reynardo and the other characters particularly clearly.
However, you can in the ‘cutscene’ sections of a game, which show the story as illustrations in a book (shown in the trailer) which bring the characters to life. Having this alongside the gameplay changes things up. I love the whole game revolving around storytelling, and it does show you how important it can be.
I do think the game would look cool in the style of Spyro, to have that cleaner world and characters, though of course, this is an indie game, so there’s not that same budget. The soundtrack, however, furthers your immersion in the fantasy world, adapting to each choice that you make. At the height of the battle, it’s tense, and it’s eerie as you wander through dark forests and dramatic as you find out who has betrayed you.
As the game essentially is all about replaying to discover all the endings, there is a vast amount of replayability. Not only do you have 20+ outcomes, but the skill tree to complete and gems or sword materials to find, so there is hours of content. However, as mentioned, you would probably play the game in short bursts, so you’re not redoing the same thing over and over again in a row. There’s also a lot of gamerscore to rack up here and easy achievements to gain.
Though I expected to like the game, I was still pleasantly surprised by how good it was! It’s a great example of games based on choice and narrative, with lots of twists and turns to discover. The humorous dialogue and the illustrative storybook breathed life into the characters. If you’re a fan of Telltale Games, this is one for you!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Stories: The Path of Destinies from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/stories-the-path-of-destinies/9nnhzx41p7jv#activetab=pivot:overviewtab
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