Whilst I’ve played a ton of video games that have allowed me to make my own choices, none have really captured the feeling of a ‘choose your own adventure’ story quite like Stories: The Path Of Destinies has. You know the kind, right? You’d face an awkward dilemma that would send you to ‘Page 54’ to make one choice or ‘Page 18’ for another – one page would give you success, whilst the other would typically send you to an early grave. Stories: The Path Of Destinies captures that vibe perfectly, though it doesn’t allow you to quickly turn back the pages if your choice leads to an early end. You try again, only this time a little stronger and, hopefully, a little wiser too…
Stories: The Path Of Destinies’ hopelessly heroic fox Reynardo is the lead character of the game. After trying to protect a friend, he ends up in the possession of a mysterious book that allows him to see the outcomes of each decision he makes. Of course, these aren’t peaceful times with an on-going war between an evil Emperor and a Rebellion taking place, so how Reynardo uses the book’s power will determine whether we see a happy or sad ending.
There are over twenty different outcomes in Stories: The Path Of Destinies, though very few offer a happy ending. In fact, you can’t even unlock the ‘true ending’ until you’ve played through the game a minimum of at least five times, discovering each of the four hidden ‘truths’ in those playthroughs. Fortunately the game does give you a few hints to help discover these truths, though there’s no real right or wrong way to play the game – you can make protagonist Reynardo as heroic or cowardly as you like with your decisions, but most choices typically lead to death anyway.
Each outcome takes between 45 to 60 minutes to reach, so it won’t take you too long to see a lot of what Stories: The Path Of Destinies has to offer. It’s a good job too, seeing as you’ll be re-playing a lot of the game each time you start anew. Each ‘bad’ outcome simply leads you back to the start, allowing you to re-play through and make new choices this time around.
There are plenty of new things to see with each different choice you make, but get ready to re-visit plenty of previous seen areas too. You’d also be best prepared to start over often – Stories: The Path Of Destinies vary rarely offers a correct approach to take, but one that teaches you something new about the world around you (or what not to do). It’s more about progression than success, but when that progression offers so much freedom you won’t be able to stop yourself from coming back for more.
Of course, given the ‘storybook’ vibe of the game it’s a necessity to have a quality story to be told. Fortunately, Stories: The Path Of Destinies delivers with not only a fantastic story, but also a narrator that perfectly captures all the emotions of the tale. Be it his improvisations in depicting each character’s voice or simply the way he portrays Reynardo’s perilous journey as if it’s a bed-time story, I was left wholly satisfied with the quality of the voice work and story telling in the game. There’s even room for humour, with the narrator making shrewd quips at Reynardo’s actions and even breaking the fourth wall with game design observations.
Whilst Stories: The Path Of Destinies main hook is the story and the amount of different outcomes to uncover, there’s a lot of action to partake in during each playthrough. Reynardo will face plenty of adversity throughout the game, but fortunately he’s a dab hand at combat.
Combat will feel familiar to those who have played the Batman: Arkham series, though the same could be said for most action games these days. You’ll take on mobs of enemies that come in a few different varieties, forcing you to adapt in order to take on each enemy type. Whilst you’ll utilise a variety of skill sets to take on foes, most battles depend on button mashing with a little bit of keen observation also required to counter each enemy attack that comes your way. You can grab and throw enemies around too, be it utilising the enemy’s body to take out other foes or perhaps even throwing them off a high ledge to their doom. Don’t feel too guilty because they’d happily do the same to you…
It’s not all combat in Stories: The Path Of Destinies though. There’s plenty of platforming sections and even moments where you’ll utilise stealth to sneak by enemies. You’ll also get to upgrade your weapons and Reynardo’s abilities too. Whilst Reynardo’s abilites will help you improve in combat situations (something especially useful given that these abilities carry over through each playthrough), it’s more important to keep upgrading his weapons. The swords of the game aren’t only used in battle but also unlock doors in the game, allowing you to reach previously inaccessible locations and uncover all new endings. It’s a neat concept, allowing you to discover something new in each area regardless of how many times you’ve already trekked through it.
The game’s very enjoyable, though there’s nothing on offer you wouldn’t have seen before. There was nothing during gameplay that really surprised me or came across as original – just a series of mechanics that have been used plenty of times before across a variety of different titles. It’s not really a flaw, but maybe a few fresh ideas might’ve made Stories: The Path Of Destinies stand out more, especially considering how good a job it does at letting you follow your own story.
Stories: The Path Of Destinies does nothing wrong with it’s visual design though, offering a world that’s an absolute pleasure to explore with stunning, vibrant environments making up each of the game’s levels. I’m a big fan of cel-shaded visuals and they’re beautifully incorporated in the game. Even character design itself is great, with a great cast of animal-humanoids encountered throughout the game’s story. Stories: The Path Of Destinies is certainly very pleasing on the eyes.
Whilst Stories: The Path Of Destinies’ combat and gameplay mechanics don’t really offer anything new, the story telling and freedom to choose exactly how you progress is fantastic. I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘choose your own adventure’ books, so being able to essentially ‘play’ one was great fun. We’ve had the freedom to make our own choices in games before, but the sheer volume of outcomes available in Stories: The Path Of Destinies eclipses anything I’ve played before – it just kept me coming back for more and more.
Stories: The Path Of Destinies is a fun experience and one I’d thoroughly recommend to those who enjoy playing through a story that’s moulded by your own choices – just don’t expect anything new gameplay-wise.
– A great story that you shape yourself with over twenty outcomes
– A lush world with lush cel-shaded graphics
– Great narration that brings the story to life
– Gameplay offers nothing new you wouldn’t have seen in any other game