Well hidden behind one of the most generic names within the gaming industry is Stories: The Path Of Destinies, a small unpolished pearl with a lot of potential but tainted by several issues. Developed by the guys at Spearhead Games, this title is a singleplayer RPG adventure where you play as Reynardo the fox, a sky corsair with a shady past who sets out on a quest to save the world from a dictatorial emperor.
As mentioned before, Stories: The Path of Destinies is a title that shows a lot of potential but that somehow falls short when it comes to delivering an enjoyable experience. The narration is probably one of the best and most solid we had the chance to see in recent years with its branching storyline, meaningful choices that lead to a plethora of different endings, witty lines, frequent references to popular and geek culture, and the voice of Julian Casey, who worked on other games such as Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry 3, Watch Dogs, and Spearhead’s Tiny Brains; but this amazing storytelling turns out to be both a blessing and a curse. Stories: The Path of Destinies will have you retrace your steps as you try to correct the errors you made during your previous playthroughs. Reynardo is, after all, all you wouldn’t expect from a hero: an impulsive person (or personified fox, I guess) who tends to follow his heart rather than act rationally, who is barely competent enough to get the job done and who will often question his own past and the choices he made. This translates in most of the endings being unpleasant ones: you might have survived yet another day, but that doesn’t automatically mean that you succeeded in saving the world.
Closer to being an interactive book than a standard Video Game, Stories: The Path of Destines seems to enjoy purposely making interaction a challenging task. The game is sold as designed to be played with a controller – a thing that I personally regard as a lazy way to deal with a PC port – and using keyboard and mouse takes some getting used to. Movement and attacks are achieved by pointing your cursor toward a general direction and holding several mouse buttons, resulting in an almost total lack of fine maneuverability, a detail that will prove fatal when going through some of the title’s stealth sections or when fighting larger groups of enemies.
Reynardo can dash through the battlefield and use several abilities such as a hook or special swords but all of these become less important when you constantly have to keep an eye on your cursor to tell the doubtful fox where to go next. Plugging in a controller makes the problem disappear, but it is here that the combat system shows its flaws and shortcomings.
Designed to be vibrant and dynamic, the combat in Stories: The Path of Destinies allows you to quickly rush toward enemies, parry, counterattack, and even use some of your opponents as a projectile weapon when dealing with bigger threats. The game rewards you for higher combos and for defeating your enemies without taking any damage but the aforementioned lack of fine maneuverability and the fact that, whenever there’s more than a certain amount of enemies on screen, your framerate will unexpectedly drop make this particular task much more challenging than it should be. Combat also allows you to earn experience and level up, unlocking several skills that have mild effects on the experience but that won’t change it completely. The game also seems to be affected by stability issues and has crashed multiple times during different playthroughs.
Stories: The Path of Destinies cannot be called a bad game, though. While being far from visually impressive for today’s standards, the title features beautifully crafted locations and a quite unique art style that serves the fantasy setting of the story extremely well. Where the combat system struggles to keep you involved and the controls seem to be just a bit too clunky to master, the top notch narration manages to provide an immersive and compelling story backed by an excellent writing that artfully mixes drama and humor and that has you eager to learn more about the characters you encounter, the current events, and the world you are exploring. If you manage to look past the minor technical issues and you own a controller, Stories: The Path of Destinies is a game that you should definitely consider playing and that you most likely will end up liking a lot.
A PC copy of Stories: The Path Of Destinies was provided by the developer. To learn more about our score, read our review policy.