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Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)

By bengy | The Elder Gamer | 10 Nov 2021

Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Like any other nerdy gamer father, I am always on the lookout for high-quality games to introduce to my girls. As a hardcore gamer, I am often horrified much of what passes for gaming... like any other narrative medium (books, music, art, movies....) there is wide variety of quality in games. However, gaming originally had its roots as a "child's" past-time when I was growing up... and many parents these days still see it as the same. A waste of time and productivity... and as such, they don't actually take the time and effort to discover that there are really great games out there, and there are also the games that are training your kid to respond like a gambling junkie in the Skinner box manner of addiction.

Obviously, I'm one of the annoying parents that doesn't just let my kids play the latest micro-transaction fuelled hype-game... but when they are older, they will (hopefully) thank me for it when they appreciate true quality in gaming! Or they will be on a therapist's couch complaining of the joy of childhood being restricted by an overly nerdy father.... hopefully the former.

Oh yes.. anyway, over the years (and with my wife's blessing (mostly)!)... I have bene building up a little store of games that I have been dripping down to the oldest girl (and also now to the younger one). All these games are ones that I have carefully chosen as good representatives of the gaming genre... presentation, story-telling, mechanics and challenge are all things that I'm looking for in my own gaming, and these are the things that I search for in games that I give to my kids.

As part of the vetting process.. I make sure to play the games myself!

So, today... we have a review of the very cute aRPG style Stories: The Path of Destinies on PC (also on the odd BoxStation things as well). Released in 2016 by Spearhead Games, it has been sitting on my "to-play" list for quite some time... I honestly don't remember buying it, but then... my steam library is over 1500 games, so I really should get around to sorting and ordering it so that I can rediscover long lost purchases! Anyway, now that my older girl is getting more co-ordinated and sophisticated in her gaming tastes, I thought that this might be a nice one to try out for her.... if I can drag her away from Animal Crossing!

The Setup




You play Reynardo, a fox who is an incredibly talented sword-fighter and all round scoundrel... who has been dragged out of retirement by the clash between THE EMPIRE (led by an Emperor Toad) and THE REBELS! Hmmmm... everything sounds a touch familiar... just not warring in the Stars. And this is what sets the tone for the whole game... everything is tongue-in-cheek, subtle (and not so subtle) humour and cross/self references to popular culture. Its pretty funny... for me, but I wonder how much of it would go over my children's heads?




Oh come on! How is this not nerd humour at its most hilarious!!?!?!??!... its funny... right? Strings? Universe? Physics?... funny?

The Game




The game plays itself out in fairly short gaming chapters that are bookended by a decicion tree where you will have to pick out a "path" on your way to your "destiny"... from the "Story" book. He he he... crap, this sort of humour is infectious.

Anyway, the larger story telling is done through a narration and the progress of the chapters in a book. It is a curious way of presentation, cute but somewhat confusing on your first run... you feel like you are missing out on quite a lot, but it all starts to make sense later!


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


The game world is beautifully presented, the camera angles zoom and pan to present you with gorgeous vistas or to focus in on combat. You explore the world of each of the chapters, hunting around for upgrade materials, travelling towards the chapter goal and bashing aside enemies. At first, you bemoan the lack of a map... in these games, the urge to explore everything before progressing is hard-wired into the aRPG gaming genre. However, after meeting unlockable doors and missing out on paths as the story progresses, you start to let go of this completionism mindset and start to just enjoy the flow of the story.


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Certain sections of the chapter are combat sections that will lock you down to the area until you defeat the enemies that spawn. The fighting is very much reminiscent of the Witcher 3 mechanics, there is a high emphasis on the timing and rhythm of sword attacks and defences, rather than the focus on mashing buttons. I loved this in the Witcher, and I love it here... you start to get yourself into a meditative zone where you push aside the chaos of the battle to fall into the rhythm... good mechanics, and good training for handling other stresses in life!

I did find that the Dash mechanic was a little bit unresponsive in battle... I'm not yet sure if I'm using it out of rhythm or my mechanical keyboard needs a bit more a bash to register the keypress. At the moment, I'm blaming myself rather than the game... but outside of combat it works easily, just in combat it is a little bit janky whilst other keypresses work just fine.


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Ah yes... it might look and feel like a kids game, but it is pretty tricky! If you get out the zone, you can easily find yourself defeated! The game does start you from the nearest checkpoint, but if you arrived at that checkpoint with next to no health... well, it is going to be a tough battle ahead!


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Like every game where you have a former hero coming back to the adventure... you need a reason for them to not be completely overpowered. Generally a whack to the head and amnesia does the trick for most games... in the case of Stories, Reynardo has just gotten lazy in his retirement and forgotten all of his sword and adventuring tricks!

As you collect XP through defeating enemies, you gain skill points to "remember" your skills and these can only be spend at shrines (not just anywhere). It is a bit annoying to have to find a shrine to upgrade your hero... but they are often enough such that you only ever have 1 or 2 unused skill points to spend at any one time.

What is interesting is that the higher tiers of skill unlocks are dependent on your discovering story "Truths". More on that in a bit!


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Reynardo has initial access to just a single Sword at the beginning of the story and through workshops scattered throughout the world he can use the Ore and Essences that he finds on his adventures to upgrade or build new swords. There isn't a huge depth of upgrade available (3 tiers) and there are four different sword types that unlock different abilities in combat (as well as unlocking previously locked paths).

The sword abilities are handy, but I've found that they are more of a little bonus in combat (you need to expend very limited mana energy to use the abilities) rather than something that you rely on heavily. The principal mechanic still the rhythm and flow of keypresses.


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Ahh... passive bonuses! Who doesn't like passive bonuses! You can slot up to three different crystals to unlock passive bonuses in combat. These gems are only found in areas that are locked behind doors that are unlocked by the higher tiers of swords, so you won't be getting these on the first run or two!


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


Now... each run is about 5 easily digestible and playable chapters long. Over those chapters, you will have made 5 critical decisions that affects how the storyline progresses for the Reynardo. Many of these end in Reynardo's demise... but you unlock a reward and most importantly...


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


... a critical Truth! These truths unlock higher tier skills and give you more insight and understanding into the story. So, when you are dumped back to the beginning of the story, you now are better informed about your choices! It is a really interesting way of telling the larger story... gently guiding you to the final true ending whilst exploring all the "false" endings.

Visuals, Sound and Performance


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


The game is just beautiful to explore and live in... the camera pans and zooms, there is just that sense of joy even when you are just travelling on a platform to the next combat destination! There is something in the presentation that just brings a smile to your eyes... if you aren't already a dead and jaded gamer and there is still a sliver of that child-like joy still in you!


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


The presentation of the single narrator (doing lots of voices!) is spot on, and the writing is superb! Again, it is the sort of style that you can only take in small chunks... but in a single sitting of half hour, you can easily do a few chapters. So, this is a prefect presentation for small chunk gaming... that just leaves you feeling... happy!

My Thoughts


Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review) Stories: The Path of Destinies (PC Game Review)


I really didn't expect that I would take to Stories: The Path of Destinies quite so much as I have! The style of storytelling and revel is such that I REALLY want to know how Reynardo is going to get through all of this... I love the little fox, and his little band of Rebels. I'm invested into the story... their story!

... but that isn't enough by itself, so it is amazing that this game has some superb gaming mechanics under the hood as well. Timing based combat, just gets you into that zen-zone of gaming... pure calm in the face of chaos!

I am definitely going to complete this game before I give it to my girls... this is MY GAME at the moment!

Review Specs

Played at 1080p (144Hz) on:

XMG Fusion 15

CPU: Intel Core i7-9750H
RAM: 16 GB
Storage: SSD (SATA/Nvme)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 2070 Max-Q


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I am a Musician (Violinist/Violist) specialising in Early Music living in The Netherlands. I have a background in Mathematics and Physics due to an earlier tertiary level study... and so, I'm still quite interested in Science and Technology related stuff!

The Elder Gamer
The Elder Gamer

Gaming Reviews from an Elder PC Gamer. I've got no time for poor quality games!

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