Stories: Path of Destinies Review

Stories: The path Of Destinies (Stories) from Spearhead games is a hack and slash narrative based indie title now available on the PS4 for $16.45. Being a very narrative driven game it was clear from the onset that the delivery had to be spot on. This was done by the telling of an old folk tale from a story book. With an over-arching plot of good vs evil, it is not a difficult task to get behind the game's protagonist Reynardo. Reynardo, a pirate looking hipster fox is not out of place in this steampunk inspired world of flying islands, airships and magic.

In an attempt for player immersion, at the conclusion of each level you come to a fork in the story and have to choose your next objective. These choices all have cause and effect outcomes eventually leading to one of 15 different outcomes. A play through varies from 5 to 7 different choices/levels which ultimately leads to a conclusion where we can start to put together the story and try to achieve the true ending. This does cause us to roam the same areas multiple times, I can see where this would become a little monotonous. It is the implementation of the RPG mechanic and the gradually increasing difficulty of the enemies that helps to keep your attention for a bit longer.

The RPG mechanic of Stories is a little shallow with a basic point allocation system, with 1 point being allocated every time you level up. These points can be allocated in a minimal amount of upgrade categories, ranging basically from combat, magic and vitality. An implementation that I feel could have been done away with, is the need to visit a shrine in order to spend said level up points. The main positive to come from levelling up is the grappling hook ability and upgrade, which does add a little more fun to the combat. If some of the upgrading categories were explained a little better then maybe they would become more useful in combat.

The combat can be basically broken down into the hack and slash genre, with a Batman (Arkham) like counter system. Attacking and countering is all done with the one button while the left stick is used to choose the direction of the attack. If not for some stunning combat visuals and time slowing abilities this mechanic could have well become quite dull and monotonous and considering that combat is mostly the energetic aspect of the gameplay, it really had to shine to hold it all together. Upon collecting different materials and ore, you can create 4 different swords. Each sword possessing the ability to unlock doors made of the same element, this is about the only variation offered up to make each play through feel different. Each sword has a unique ability but they seem to be a little generic often being forgotten to be used.

There has been a bit of negativity covered in this review but there are two main aspects of this game that thrusts it into the realms of an enjoyable game. First and foremost the narration of the game that brings back feels from the likes of Bastion. Considering the narrative is derived from a virtual story book, the narration feels quite pure and necessary to sell the direction of the game. The only gripe I have with the narration is upon embarking on additional play throughs, the narrator can get repetitive. It can sometimes come across self-aware making reference to previous decisions made and at other times be completely oblivious to these decisions and repeats itself.

This story telling ability coupled with great banter and a very decent soundtrack has helped in holding Stories together and halted it from becoming “just another Indie title”. At just a little under $18 it sits in the grey area of value for the amount of fun that is obtainable, at special for around the $10 mark I would recommend it for the narrative alone. I would say this is a decent game with a slightly better than mediocre delivery of gameplay mechanics but by no means a terrible game. A little more polish and consistency would have projected this game to a better appraisal. Feel free to have you say across at our Facebook and join our daily gaming conversations.

Cheers Red

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