Have you ever wanted to go back in time in order to correct the mistakes you have made using the knowledge you have gained along the way? Well, my friends, Stories: The Path of Destinies allows you to do just that. This unique title brought to us by Spearhead Games offers a very unique experience that not only draws you into its world with incredible story telling but also keeps you guessing every step of the way. Let’s go deeper shall we.
Stories pulls you into a beautiful world filled with floating islands, anthropomorphic creatures, magic, and aerial gun ship battles all guided by an engaging and very comical Narrator. You play as an adventurous fox named Reynardo who has been bestowed with an enchanted book filled with action packed tales that have you making choices that ultimately affect the outcome of the game. Your goal is to achieve victory by defeating the Imperial Armada whose leader threatens the very existence of all creation by threatening to awaken the evil gods so that he may achieve eternal life. Reynardo himself is a most interesting character. He is your typical adventurer; conceited, at times very foolish, amusing, but he has heart and he becomes more lovable the more you play. Reynardo’s band of companions and enemies also demonstrate some wonderful dialog that helps you get to know them quite well and causes you to actually care about their well being or completely hate them.
The most appealing aspect of Stories is that every single choice you make greatly impacts the end game and there are a total of 24 distinct endings that you could possibly experience during your ultimate quest to achieve true victory. If you fail at any particular story arch the magic book will hurl you back to the beginning which may seem like a bummer, but you retain all of your upgrades and most importantly the knowledge you gained in the form of “truths” from previous adventures. Betrayed by an ally in your previous life? Well now you have the option to act before you are betrayed or sit back and let it play out. Reached the end of the game only to be killed because you didn’t have the right weapon to overcome the odds? No worries, you can rectify that in your next life. The story of Stories took me on such a whirlwind of possibilities and surprises that I had a hard time putting it down.
Stories is an RPG at heart. You will obtain various swords with magic abilities during your play through ranging from fire, ice, to a boost in speed during combat. There are also gems you can collect as well as a skill tree to manage that enhance core abilities such as strength, agility, and defense. Exploration and crafting play a role as well. The various swords you earn also act as keys to various locked doors that contain much needed goodies on the other side that will help form new weapons and enhance abilities.
The game is displayed from a bird’s eye view which is perfect as you are able to see every battle sequence clearly. Reynardo’s moves are quite impressive and he will need them as the Imperial menace has an army of Ravens that have their own set of special abilities ranging from overpowered brutes, fire enchanted wizards, to suicide bombers. As Reynardo wields his sword he streams fluidly from one enemy to the next with the ability to parry that if timed properly will slow down time which leaves enemies defenseless allowing you to inflict critical damage. The action sequences were entertaining but never presented a real challenge for me. The main thing that is lacking in the game that I feel would have broken up the monotony of combat and offered a challenge is boss battles. Yes, that is correct there are no boss battles in Stories and I feel the developers missed an opportunity here to take the gameplay to a new level and offer a greater challenge all at the same time.
While the gameplay for the most part is seamless there are times where you will experience the dreaded frame rate dips that definitely interrupts the flow of combat. A title this size has no business having such issues and it is happens more times than not. Also the load screens drag on for far to long in my opinion which acts as a deterrent between you and the story you are itching to stay engaged with.
The first thing you will notice about the visuals is that they are reminiscent of a Water-Based painting. The colors protrude and swell so beautifully that they easily rival any centerpiece displayed in an art gallery. It was a real treat to visit the various locales in Stories, such as the forest which showed off the lush greenery of the trees and grass coupled with the eye piercing colors of the flowers and light blue skies. Take a trip down to the underground levels to experience fiery landscapes bursting with volcanic eruptions surrounded by a tapestry of bright red lava lakes. Doing battle in these types of environments only added to the intensity of the the action along with the lighting that was on display from the sparks generated as Reynardo pierced through his enemies. The visuals fit the theme of Stories perfectly!
Stories: The Path of Destinies is a must buy for any gamer that loves a great action-adventure game that is supported by a magnificent story. You will immediately be drug into the world by your hands and feet with the desire to achieve the perfect end to your story. Combine that aspect with intense combat scenarios and a love able cast of characters and you’ve got exactly what you need. As stated, my main gripes are the lack of boss battles and frame dips that occur at the most inopportune times. Overall this is a great game that you should consider diving into.