Have you ever wondered what it would be like to change your past? To walk down a path you weren’t sure you wanted to take? You’ll be able to do that in Stories: The Path of Destinies.
In Stories: The Path of Destinies, you’ll take control of Reynardo, a fox who has gotten a bit caught up in a war and rebellion. After the initial introduction/tutorial level, he will obtain a magical book – a book with the power to walk down a path and then rewind back through time. As the player, you’ll need to use this power to discover 4 key truths. These truths will serve to guide you to the path that will lead you to the true story and ending.
At its core, Stories is an interesting concept. The power to follow all of the different paths – 25 in total, if you include the true ending path – is intriguing. Each of the truths is unique in how it ends, and one of them can even be a bit tricky to uncover. Luckily, should you start failing to find new ones, the game will give you a push and point you towards the right direction. Going for all 25 different endings/paths can get a little repetitive, especially since you’ll need to start figuring which ones you haven’t yet done, but it’s something you’ll need to strive for if you want the platinum.
One of the biggest downsides to this design is that you’ll be going through the same areas a lot. Even by the time I was going through my true ending path, I was sort of just rushing through on whatever I thought might be the fastest way there, just to get it done. I felt like, at that point, I had seen all those particular areas had to offer me, and I was done with my weapon upgrades so I had even less incentive to go hunt down chests.
A lot of the fun parts of Stories does come within the exploration. The areas are absolutely gorgeous. There are a ton of side paths that you can go down and explore, should you have the appropriate weapons for the doors. These paths will typically lead to special treasures chests that contain Gems. You are able to equip three gems at once, and each gem gives a different kind of buff. The ones I ended up sticking with were ones that made me take less damage, deal damage faster, and be able to more easily deal with shielded enemies.
Let’s talk about the combat in Stories. One of the biggest focuses in combat in Stories is maintaining your combos by not getting hit. This will allow you to ramp into fun benefits (unlockable by leveling up). In order to not get hit, you’ll either need to work on quickly dispatching the enemies so that they never have a chance to attack, or you’ll need to counter their attacks should they try to go after you. Countering can be a bit finicky as I sometimes found myself getting hit despite the enemy clearly getting countered.
Stories features a few absolutely annoying enemies. The shield enemies are the absolute worst, at least from what I found. Unless you equip the gem that lets you just attack off their shield, you’ll need to either mess around with them with your grapple hook (which is locked behind skill points), or grab and throw enemies into them. I almost never actually grabbed enemies and generally found it pretty awkward to try and set up to do so. The other enemies that I absolutely despised were the bomb enemies. One hit on them and they’ll start to blow up. A second hit will cause them to instantly blow up, damaging anything with it’s radius. I’m pretty sure these enemies caused most of the game overs I received during my time playing simply from accidentally dashing into their explosion range at the last second.
Healing up after you’ve taken damage can be hit or miss as well. In order to heal you’ll need to find fruits within breakable objects (after you’ve obtained all sword upgrades chests can have these as well). The breakable objects can contain nothing, ore, or healing fruits. I often found myself getting the energy recovery fruit more often, something that got quite annoying whenever I was low on HP and really needed to heal.
Once obtained (or, in the initial sword’s case, upgraded), swords gain special powers that can help you out in combat. To be honest, I almost never even used these until near the end. I just never found the time to really use them, though the one on the ice sword is definitely very handy. It would’ve been neat if these had been implemented more into the combat so that there was more incentive to actually want to use them.
As you level up you’ll gain skill points. These skill points can be used to unlock new buffs and abilities to help you out in combat. All of these upgrades are generally useful, but I definitely aimed to grab more health as soon as I possibly could. Upgrades to your countering and the eventual ability to be able to instantly kill enemies should you pass a certain combo threshold, are also definitely extremely handy to grab. Each tier past the first are locked behind finding your first three truths, giving more incentive to try and find these as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, Stories didn’t scrape by without a few bugs coming in. I noticed a ton of frame rate drops through my time playing. Sometimes these frame rate drops got so bad that I actually got glitched into the ground and couldn’t get back out without exiting out. I also ran into a case of an enemy spawning in a wall, causing me to be unable to progress, again forcing a level reset. One final bug I encountered was dying to an encounter, going back to it from the checkpoint… and the encounter simply no longer existing. The biggest concern out of all this is how much the frame rate seemed to simply struggle if you were breaking pots and such.
The sound direction in Stories is absolutely fantastic. The voice acting is spot on, and it helps that the writing is quite enjoyable as well. I often found myself giggling at a joke that was made by the narrator. The narrator will also randomly commentate on stuff you do within the game, and I don’t ever recall hearing the same lines twice while I was playing.
Stories: The Path of Destinies is a generally enjoyable Action RPG that will give you a good laugh (in the right way). There is a highly repetitive nature to it however, and you’ll likely find yourself quite sick of going through the same areas over and over again. While I do easily give this a recommendation, I do suggest trying to find it on sale. If you only focus on getting the True Ending, you’ll likely finish the story within 10 hours, but if you’re aiming for the Platinum, the true value of this game does come in as you aim to get every skill and go down every path.
Stories: The Path of Destinies Review Score
The bugs and repetitive nature hold this back from being truly fantastic. It’s still an enjoyable experience, but if you’re on the edge, find it on sale.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with a PS4 code for review purposes.