Stories: The Path of Destinies is a beautiful looking game and when you step into its world, that thought still rings true. No matter how good this game looks, it cannot overcome its own repetition, obnoxiousness and thinness.
Combat starts out as a fluid and surprisingly fun experience. A hook comes into play early on in the game and that can bring enemies toward you for a quick strike, while you can grab an enemy and toss them, momentarily stunning them. Then of course you have the strikes with your sword and can counter incoming enemy attacks with a timed reaction.
The game’s combat feels most rewarding after an intense battle with numerous enemies, and the more you keep a hit combo going, the more XP you will be rewarded with after the battle. You are also awarded additional XP for not taking any damage and the style in which you dispatch enemies. Even with all of this said, combat does eventually become repetitive due to how basic it is, and it falls a bit flat.
The XP that gamers gain will result in leveling up throughout the game. As you level up, you can then assign a skill point to a compartment that will award you with a variety of things such as a dash move, increased health, destroying an enemy’s shield by striking it once and more.
Gamers are rewarded when they explore the beautiful world of Stories: The Path of Destinies with various chests that contain resources like ore, wind essence, fire essence and many others. These are essential to the game’s basic crafting system, which allows gamers to craft many different types of swords or simply upgrade current ones they possess.
Players can craft a variety of different swords, such as the Hero Sword, Void Blade, Winterthorne and Firestorm. Each has a unique sort of effect it has on enemies when you use it. For example, Firestorm sets enemies on fire, while Winterthorne can freeze enemies.
These swords are most essential when it comes to opening up gates that correspond to the sword. Behind each gate are chests that contain items like health, energy (for power strikes from a sword) and gems. Outside of opening doors around the world, it doesn’t really matter which sword you use in combat because any of the four will do essentially the same thing, killing enemies.
Gems are used in the game as items that can change up your offensive and defensive abilities. Players have a gauntlet that allows them to place up to three gems at once, which makes choosing them extremely important for players.
These items can provide benefits like providing additional damage, resistance to spell damage and more. Each gem has a maximum level of three and they aren’t really upgraded, so much as they are collected by opening the various gates scattered throughout the game.
Not having control over the in-game camera is a bit of a hassle sometimes because certain parts of an area of the game have tall pillars that tower over your character, and it just feels restrictive to not be able to move the camera. It would also be nice to be able to look around an environment to see if you missed anything. That said, it’s not that big of a problem from a gameplay standpoint, outside of the convenience factor.
The environments in Stories: The Path of Destinies are beautiful and surprisingly fun to play through. While the different levels are interesting and possess some fun design elements, those elements don’t prove to be too challenging and eventually become boring.
This is perhaps one of the biggest issues with the game, its repetitiveness. Progression is limited with swords only being able to level up to two and gems only going up to level three. That combination with the fact that you replay the same levels, over and over, make this game hard to say it’s more than average.
One thing that proved to be bothersome was the game’s dialogue and narrator. Many times it felt like the game was trying to be funny, but it was coming across as serious or awkward. The voice-acting wasn’t the greatest as it had a hard time maintaining a consistent tone over the course of the game.
Additionally, the script itself seemed a bit wordy at times and even lost. Some buzz words like “game changer” and other terms just don’t fit with the sort of lore and story this game is telling.
When things like tone and misplaced humor come up, it is hard to remain convinced that this game knows what it’s doing and should be taken seriously. “Go Habs Go,” seriously? Even if it was intentional, the script overused a term like “the kid” brutally at the beginning of the game. These are just a few obnoxious and out of place instances that dragged down the cinematics or cutscenes.
The narrative, which at times can seem convoluted, features three main characters, Reynardo, Zenobia and Lapino. The last two trade off relations with protagonist Reynardo throughout the course of the game. The narrative can be taken or left, and isn’t what you’ll come to this game for.
Choice is an interesting part of the game at times, as it can reveal certain facts about each character and those become important further down the line in the story. While there are some fun twists to the ending of the story, it cannot overcome the repetitive nature of the gameplay and its settings.
While Stories: The Path of Destinies certainly has some unique elements and beautiful levels for people to enjoy, unfortunately it turns out to be a mediocre RPG that truly struggles to provide any meat. This is a hard game to recommend, though if the price is right or is on PS Plus, it’s worth a look.
- Beautiful settings
- Ending plot twist
- Obnoxious script
- Repetitive levels
- Thin progression
Spearhead Games provided byteclay.com with a PS4 code of Stories: The Path of Destinies for the purpose of this review.