Stories: The Path of Destinies (2016) "Action-RPG set in a vibrant fantasyland"
As a temporary addition to the team, I was asked to write some articles about my fields of interests. Even though I’m nowhere near as knowledgeable about videogames, as Marko for example, I might still be able to bring a different perspective. This time I’ll be reviewing a game called Stories: The Path of Destinies. I’ll also be pointing out some of the oddities that make me tick when it comes to gaming, as that’s most definitely the part I suspect is not that common. SPOILER WARNING, some minor spoilers about the game, mainly about the mechanics of the story are unavoidable.
Stories: The Path of Destinies was released for Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4 on April 12, 2016. It is an action-RPG set in a vibrant fantasyland full of floating islands, airships and magic. And villains, let’s not forget those, as your quest as the anthropomorphic fox Reynardo, an ex-pirate and unintentional hero, is to save the world from the mad tyrant emperor and his many minions. Here’s where the game’s storytelling twist kicks in as you’re given multiple choices throughout your quest. Will you set out to save an old friend from the claws of the empire or will you search ancient weapons to win the war? Each choice you make takes Reynardo into a unique narrative in an everbranching world of possibilities. If Reynardo’s plan explodes in his face, he will be transported back in time to the point of his first choice. What choices will he make this time?
It becomes clear that the player is expected to play through multiple storylines in order to learn all they need to guide Reynardo to the best possible ending. Each story takes somewhere around 30 to 60 minutes to complete, so the game stays very friendly to people wanting shorter sessions between plays. The game autosaves much more frequently than the mentioned 30-60 minutes, but I personally encountered some errors when autosaving mid-story, quitting and later reloading, hoping to continue where I left off, only to find myself in a completely different storyline. I even managed to skip an entire chapter and jump to a scenario I hadn’t chosen by quitting in the middle of the story. Luckily those errors aren’t too serious, as the storyline is often quite short.
Actionwise the gameplay is quite fun, flashy dashing around the battlefield, slashing, grabbing, kicking, throwing or murdering ravens with magical sword attacks gives a decent amount of variety in combat. Grapple hooking a pesky raven from afar and subsequently grabbing and throwing said raven off the cliff is satisfying enough to keep you interested in creating longer hit combos. Why do I mention hit combos you might ask? Different actions in battle award experience, long combos are not a necessity but they help when trying to level up. Battles don’t really need stronger abilities as most players should find a style of fighting enemies suiting them quite fast. There also aren’t that many enemy types to worry about. Personally I found that battles were on the easy-side, as some magic-sword powers or abilities are really powerful. For example, the ability allowing you to instantly kill everything with one hit after 20 hit combo comes to mind.
Gaining the majority of the experience became a problem I started to face when I was close to the end of the game. I was invested enough into the game that I wanted to 100% it, or get a Platinum trophy as I was playing this on my PS4. Most people don’t really see any point in doing absolutely everything the game offers, as achievements in some games often require insane tricks, luck and/or time to complete. I usually think of achievement hunting as a way to honour the game for being good. The last hurdle for me was getting all skill upgrades, in other words grinding experience. There really aren’t that many good methods for grinding experience in this game for ability-upgrade-points, apart from doing one chapter, choosing an instant game over-choice afterwards and redoing the entire chapter again. Getting good combos in battle gives the easiest boost of exp, but getting a 60-hit combo with “you kill everything after 20 hits”-ability purchased is difficult. I would recommend that for people aiming to get all abilities as fast as possible it’d be best to save a couple of skill purchases, mainly those increasing damage, until the very end.
I found most of the glitches during my hours of grinding: Grapple hooking into a moving platform but not quite reaching it, instead stopping mid flight, staying forever in a limbo of partially unloaded environment. Having an elevator platform just not being there after a cutscene, making me unable to go forward. Quitting mid-story only to find myself in a different path. And a couple of cases of clipping inside walls when dashing in the middle of battle. I personally enjoy finding glitches in games, specifically when they’re not save file corrupting glitches; Looking at you, Pokémon Gold. But that might be a story for another time. In a humour-based game such as Stories featuring a fox shouting witty one liners as the main character, it wouldn’t have surprised me to hear a one liner when one of these glitches occured. Sadly it was not to be.
Published by Pekka on Ilkka's permission.