STORIES: THE PATH OF DESTINIES
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on December 28, 2016
At this time of year, I like to curl up on the couch with a good book. When a developer offers me the chance to "read" a good story by playing a game, I'm all ears. This month, one of the free games for PS Plus members called Stories: The Path of Destinies does just that! So let's just put my book down for now to check out what story, what path and what destiny is out there for me!
The game starts off by introducing us to its protagonist; the old and retired pirate fox Reynardo. He becomes the hero of this story, when he makes a promise to a good rabbit friend on her deathbed; he told her he would keep an eye out for her son. Normally, that shouldn't be very difficult task, but at some point the town where they live comes under attack. See, the evil Emperor has sent out his army of nasty crows to burn all the books in the empire. The young boy decides to try to save one book from the burning flames which, naturally, makes the crows come after him. Reynardo, a little out of shape, is not able to save the boy but the book comes into his possession anyway. Because of the murder on his friend's son, he will not even consider handing over the book to the Emperor's crows. But why was this book so important to the boy that he was even willing to give his life for it?
Stories: The Path of Destinies is told like a story from a fairytale book. Cutscenes will be revealed bit by bit by turning the pages of a book. Together with the hand-drawn illustrations and a colorful storybook aesthetic, this game feels more and more like reading an actual book. It's clear to me that the developers must love their game, they paid so much attention to detail and I surely love the result.
But it's not like you only have to turn the pages with this game. Stories: The Path of Destinies definitely offers a lot of gameplay. You play this RPG with a top down camera mode, which gives you an excellent overview. The camera is fixed on the main character (like in Diablo games, for example), so you don't have to spend time moving the camera around. It offers you fast-paced combat with your awesome swords (yes, you can have more than one), grab attacks and of course special abilities.
Being an RPG, Stories: The Path of Destinies lets you upgrade all kinds of stuff. There is a nice upgrade menu where you can use your earned skill points. Without making things complicated, the developers manage to present a fairly extensive menu to choose and upgrade special abilities. You can do this when you come across an altar. The voice of the storyteller often explains how Reynardo during this adventure will "remember" his old skills and also learn some new tricks along the way.
You can collect materials during your adventure which you can use to make and upgrade swords. These swords are also used to open specific doors. A normal door can be opened with your regular sword, but you what about the fire doors? And did I spot an Ice door? Let's just say that you should keep an eye open for every object you can open or break and use the materials you'll find to create and upgrade your swords. You'll never know what you're going to find behind those closed doors.
What makes Stories: The Path of Destinies REALLY special is the way that you play it. At the end of every chapter you can choose between two or more options to continue your story. For example: would you go to dungeons and risk your life to save a friend, or going after a massive weapon which could be really helpful during your battle against the evil Emperor? After five chapters the story is finished and depending of the choices you made, you'll get a certain outcome.
If things did not end well, you'll get a chance to start all over again, with the advantage that you can do things differently. While this concept is not entirely new, the game takes a slightly different approach to things. It actually helps to try different choices, because you can uncover truths which, in turn, unlock new paths and possibilities. With other games I played up till now, all the options are already in the game and you can easily discover where you went wrong and how you can do better next time. But here, the character learns from the mistakes and it reveals new possibilities. Plus, the storyteller tells you how Reynardo feels about the choices you made, which can be helpful to keep in mind.
The way in which the story progress is very original. Together with the storybook way of telling a story and the voice of the storyteller, this game is really awesome. And while I did have the occasional issue with being stuck behind a non-existent blockade and the grab attack is not quite as precise as I would like it to be, the overall game works absolutely fine. So, if you like to play a nice action RPG, with a great story that unravels and changes while you play the game, cool artwork, simple menus and action-filled gameplay, Stories: The Path of Destinies is one game that you'll definitely want to add to your collection!
STORIES: THE PATH OF DESTINIES
April 12, 2016