REVIEW – The fox tries to save the world in a fairy tale story. Canadian developer Spearhead Games wasn’t that known until this game, but maybe they managed to sneak into our hearts. Reynardo offers replayability with decisions… but is Stories worth replaying to see more of the story?
One book, one ex-pirate fox, a frog emperor gone evil, and ravens. That’s pretty much the base concept. Fortunately, there’s way more to the story, because Reynardo isn’t part of a basic, run-of-the-mill I’m going to save the world plotline. Still, even if the story were that simple, I’d still have a positive opinion about its narrative because it is performed in an enjoyable way. Making decisions multiple times to see how our story follows doesn’t just lift the replayability, but it also changes the ending, not to mention the fate of a few characters. What a great idea!
(How many times am I going to do a fox lead?) The gameplay is for those who want to have basic, but entertaining action. It is an action-RPG, but not in a penalizing-yet-rewarding style (Dark Souls III), and it also doesn’t hook the player for multiple tens of hours in front of their TVs (The Witcher 3) – it might be both a positive and a negative. A bad point for those who haven’t played older, basic games, but on the flip side, a thumbs up for those who doesn’t want to learn complex combos, as Stories: The Path of Destinies is a tribute to the past of the genre it participates in.
The game still has a modernized approach. Reynardo has four types of swords, combining the usage of them can build some decent combos, plus some tactics mean easy survival (don’t worry, checkpoints are aplenty!). There are also gems that enhance these swords. For me, a safety approach was the winner, so each time I defeated an enemy, I regained some HP. (I didn’t say kill on purpose, I’ll get back to this topic later.) Also, these swords open doors, too! Secrets await all around, you might even stumble upon the Emperor’s diary fragments that expand on the background story a bit further. Foxes’ lives aren’t all that fun, and combat, sometimes there is a need to stealth. These stealth sections are timed perfectly! The bottomless pits make Reynardo Indiana Fox, hooking around using those special platforms, avoiding bitter fate.
Fox populi, fox dei
For some reason, graphics reminded me of Dragon Quest Builders for some reason, although that game is completely unrelated to Stories: The Path of Destinies, which is full of colors, looking visually friendly. Going back to the killing comment in Spearhead Games‘ product, it’s not aggressive; it felt like even kids could play it without any fear. What about the audio? Not bad: the narrative is thought out; reading from a book with the characters having some remarks here and there can make the ambiance decent… for a while.
The PlayStation 4 version of the game (despite using Unreal Engine 4!) isn’t able to keep 30 frames per second at all times, in fact, it might even crash. This issue is one of the biggest problems with Stories. There are some glitches as well: one time I could run through a wall, and then I wasn’t able to turn back, so I had to restart. It looked ridiculous to an extent. The biggest problem with this game is the replayability. You must play the game multiple times to see the best ending, making the gameplay boring – where are the boss fights?
The game came with a low price. Fifteen bucks. Worth a buy for this cost! Hopefully, the developers will try to fix the stability issues, because if that gets repaired, one playthrough is recommended. Stories: Path of Destinies is an enjoyable, fun story with good narrative while not willing to be overly complex. Being down to earth makes it sympathetic. It might be a free PS Plus title down the year, and then, nothing should stop you from picking it up and giving it a shot. The fox did not die. (On PC, I recommend using a controller.)
+ The story, and its presentation
+ Visually appealing
– Technical issues
– Replay it over, and over, and over…?
– No boss fights?
Publisher: Spearhead Games
Developer: Spearhead Games
Genre: Action RPG
Release date: April 12, 2016 (PS4, PC)