Stories: The Path of Destinies

When you first looked into this game, what was your initial impression? It’s got an anthropomorphic fox with an oversized sword, this sounds like something out of a cutesy Disney title, right? “I know how this story will end: happily ever after! I hope the gameplay is at least original…” Ok, maybe I didn’t sound quite that cynical. It was less than 5 minutes into the game [spoiler alert] when you’re chasing a young boy that you’re supposed to protect and he gets slaughtered by the emperors ravens that I discovered… I knew nothing about this wonderful title developed by Spearhead Games.


You control Reynardo, a fox with a sword large enough that it would make Cloud jealous. Another thing that reminds me of FF7? Gems can be equipped to increase your abilities. You’re also packing a Zelda-inspired hook shot, perfect for hopping from island to island via small, ornamental posts in the ground, and for pulling baddies over to you like some Mortal Kombat obsessed Vulpes, shouting “Get over here!” (Which the narrator does occasionally, a nod to Scorpion)


I don’t mention those references to lessen Stories any, or to downgrade it’s originality. Instead I want to highlight one of my favorite parts of this game: it’s full of fun, little pop culture references. I found several nods to Star Wars, Lord of the Ring, Mortal Kombat, Galaxy Quest and more. It really makes me appreciate the love the developers put into this game. Keep an eye out for them and let us know what your favorite was.

I found the battle system unique. One neat feature of it is that anytime you’re about to be attacked by an enemy, there’s an “!” above the head of the aggressive raven. If you move in that direction and attack just before it attacks, you freeze time for everyone else for a second or two. Just long enough to gather your thoughts and gain the upper hand. Plus, if you choose, you can engage your final sword’s ability to speed up your actions even more. Watching Reynardo dash around the screen slashing from bird to bird while they stand, frozen in time, makes you feel quite epic.


The real meat of this game is that instead of being completely linear you’re given multiple options of how you want to proceed. It’s laid out like a storybook with beautiful illustrations that fit perfectly. It’s wonderfully highlighted by a quote from the narrator, “Reynardo wondered if you could design a puzzle that would be different every time you played it… wouldn’t that be fun?” I feel like that was probably how the initial conversation began that lit the fire for this to be created. They did an amazing job at crafting a story that has high replayibility, in fact in the beginning you’re forced to replay the story in order to pick a different ending, but that’s okay! Each time you play through you keep the XP and items from previous runs, so that you keep getting stronger and faster.


The downside to this is if you’re trying to get the Platinum trophy. There are 24 different combinations each with a unique ending. Unfortunately each play thru uses the same 10 or so base levels, in different combinations, which eventually gets repetitious – like a Rubik’s cube having 43 quintillion possible combinations, but they’re all made up of the same 6 colors. On top of this you need to level Reynardo to 43 in order to get all his skills unlocked, which takes more playthrus than those 24 times, you eventually just find a good level and grind XP for the sake of grinding XP. Thankfully, the story’s twists and the humorous voice acting make it worth the extra time you put in.


In the end this is probably one of my new favorites. I’d definitely recommend playing thru it, I think the narration and storylines will keep you coming back again and again. We look forward to seeing what else Spearhead has to offer.

Bigfoot
Bigfoot has been playing video games for as long as he can remember, he was weaned straight from the bottle on to a Commodore 64 and hasn't looked back since. He enjoys sampling beer and hanging out with his family. A couple of his all-time favorite games are Earthbound (SNES) and Fallout 2 (PC).

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