Stories: The Path of Destinies, from Spearhead Games, overflows with choices that actually affect the outcome of the story. This stands in stark contrast to Telltale, makers of the upcoming M-rated Batman adventure game, who have often been criticized for failing to provide players with enough meaningful choices in their games. You get to make lots of choices in The Wolf Among Us, Game of Thrones, etc. but most of them lead to the same outcome. Thus these games feature the illusion of choice far more than the real thing.
Stories: The Path of Destinies is action-adventure game that takes place in a colorful fairytale world filled with talking animals, airships, and mysterious technology. A unique choose-your-own adventure mechanic allows players to steer the story in hundreds of different directions. Stories is coming to Steam and PlayStation 4 in April. Read on for full impressions and our interview video with gameplay!
Fight the power
Stories: The Path of Destinies follows the adventures of Reynardo, a roguish adventurer who captains an airship called the Farfarer. Reynardo is the last hope of the Rebellion – not the makers of the upcoming Sniper Elite 4 but an actual rebellion poised against an evil dictator. The Empire has been kidnapping innocent villagers in order to sacrifice them to the old gods.
Although The Rebellion faces near-certain destruction, Reynardo possesses a secret weapon that could turn the tide of battle: a magic book. This book allows him to make choices, experience their outcome, then go back and do things differently. Things will usually go poorly for our hero and his friends, but if he can just make the right choices, eventually they will overcome the evil Empire.
Each time you play, you'll experience your own story lasting approximately an hour. Reynardo will continually face do-or-die choices, each leading to entirely different outcomes and adventures. For instance, he might have to choose between saving a friend's life or seeking a relic that will aid the Rebellion. Each of these choices leads to not only unique areas, but more choices that branch the story even further. Few games give players so much control over the outcome of their stories.
A dashing hero
Stories plays like a fast-paced Zelda game. Reynardo explores a variety of distinct floating worlds, breaking barrels, solving simple puzzles, and doing battle with the Empire's forces. Exploring these areas is a pleasure thanks to the hero's dash move. He can zoom all over the place, traversing distances quickly and escaping from danger in a flash.
When Reynardo runs afoul of enemies, he'll engage in sword-based combat. Again, the fights resemble an amped-up Zelda. Not only can Reynardo dash about like a madman, but he also wields a powerful Hookshot. This hook-and-chain grabs enemies and pulls them closer, not unlike Scorpion's signature move in Mortal Kombat. Counters and the ability to grab and throw enemies add further depth to the fighting.
Although each Stories adventure lasts a relatively short time, the game still features upgrade mechanics that enhance replay value. Reynardo collects crafting materials from chests and crates that he can spend to forge and upgrade an arsenal of elemental swords. These swords unlock gates of the same element, opening up new pathways in subsequent playthroughs. Reynardo levels up by earning XP, allowing him to unlock new skills from an upgrade tree.
With clever choose-your-own-adventure elements, fast and fluid combat, and lots of fun areas to explore, Stories: The Path of Destinies looks like an action-adventure game of choice. Hopefully, the full game proves as engaging as the press demo when it launches on Steam and PlayStation 4 on April 12th.
What are some games you've played that offer meaningful choices, adventurers? Leave a comment and let us know!