A pirate er….hero like me can save everyone, or I could save the princess. Hell, I bet I could do whatever and figure out a way to destroy the entire Armada!
Stories: The Path of Destinies is an Action-RPG and an adventure unlike any titles that share the genre. Spearhead Games created a game with endless tales and a choose-your-own-adventure vibe. The story revolves around a fox named Rolando who, through his tireless efforts to save the world has, well, failed several times. Protecting his friend Peter didn't work out so he decided to help the rebellion against the evil Toad king, which failed. Rolando tried to convince his childhood best friend Zenubia to aid him save the world, only to see her die. Stories: The Path of Destinies is filled with action, romance, and tragedy. You can save the world if you put your mind to it Rolando, time to start over.
Everything that is in the adventure comes from a magical book that is stolen at the very beginning by Rolando's friend Peter. The book narrates what happens during each chapter down to each action that the hero takes. You slash a box to find essence and ore for crafting inside, or you barely survive an encounter between ten foes, and the narrator comments specifically on the action seen. This gives an incredible amount of immersion between the protagonist and player as you feel that you Sam are actually in the novel and being followed by some omniscient narrator. The mixture of great humor, narration, and gameplay presses Rolando to save the world and compels the player to join him.
The graphics and scenery are filled with remarkably vibrant colors. The beautiful character, enemy, and environment designs add rich depth to the world and cutscenes. The artwork in the cutscenes themselves is noteworthy. Each scene changes depending upon the choice that Rolando made and foreshadows choices that have yet to be made. The player makes different decisions every playthrough, leading to the discovery of the Four Truths that complete the story. Making the correct choices to find the Four Truths takes a few playthroughs, but Rolando gradually gains better weapons and abilities—as the enemies increase in difficulty. The narrator does a wonderful job of explaining from both a past and future perspective, giving Stories: A Path of Destinies a definitive spot in the Action RPG genre.
The action and exploration in Stories is exciting as you uncover more of the plot and the Four Truths.
Battles are fun and the incentive to level up and make Rolando stronger keeps the player moving forward. The evil toad king has a Raven Army to send at Rolando and stop him from his “heroic” deeds. Ravens constantly hunt the protagonist as you cross from one floating island to the next in search of answers, Truths, and new doorways to enter. Battle is similar to the Arkham Asylum or Assassin's Creed series with attacks, dodges, and counterattacks. Attack damage is dependent on Rolando's level and which sword is currently equipped. Dodge and counterattack can be upgraded with skill points that are awarded at every increase in level. Learning the timing for counterattacking or dashing is essential in keeping Rolando from an untimely death. This highlights different tactics to apply when encountering and slaying new enemies. Combat and exploration are seamless and intuitive, making Stories gameplay a distinctive experience.
Rolando can create different swords by collecting ore and essences. While exploring, the swords act as keys to unlock new areas and additional choices during the hero’s quest. The new paths that open up to Rolando change the opportunities made available to him. The difference in those choices could be the death of a friend or end of the rebellion. The swords contain elemental essences which help in battle against certain enemy types. Rolando has active abilities and passive abilities at his disposal. Passive abilities range from slowing down time for a second when an enemy is killed, to providing basic armor increases. An altogether simple and accessible skill tree and crafting system only add to Stories’ greatness.
I thought Stories: The Path of Destinies was great.
The story and narrations had me going from my first encounter with the Ravens. I find it unique that one person does the voices for every character. Unlike most voice acting, he is reading as if it's a folklore tale. I enjoyed how the narrator mentioned anything you did around the world including smashing boxes, crafting weapons, or just exploring. While you are on any kind of lift or elevator, Rolando will sit and have a quirky thought about the plot or anything he sees. Witnessing a newer and fresh take on narration is a relief as we have seen RPG’s riddled with lazy voice acting as of late, The Tales Of series being one of the main offenders.
Everything in Stories is polished and exciting. I have no gripes with any part of the game. I enjoyed it all; the story, combat, Rolando’s thoughts, the animal personification, and more. Stories: The Path of Destinies is an experience that will be loved by many and remembered as a classic for its original storyline, narration, and great gameplay.