Stories: The Path of Destinies
Stories: The Path of Destinies
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Based loosely on the midieval European fables of Reynardo the Fox, Stories: The Path of Destinies follows Reynardo as he tries to navigate a kingdom beseiged by war in rebellion against its king. The twist? Reynardo can’t seem to survive the process, and each time he dies he wakes up in front of a book that records his adventures and keeps track of the important information he’s discovered. So Reynardo repeats these last few days over and over again, each time trying something different, in hopes that he can bring an end to this war and come out of it unscathed.
The player makes choices that influence the outcome each time. One time they may pursue an ancient superweapon to use against the king, another they may try to reconnect with the princess (who Reynardo once loved), and another they may try to save an old friend of theirs with a hare-brained scheme that just might work. The story is pretty short, and each time the player goes through it, they get one of the game’s many endings and, perhaps, learn something vital that gives them more options the next time through the story.
The game is played from a top-down perspective, meaning the player is looking down at the protagonist and the game world at an angle. Reynardo uses a sword to hack and slash his way through the king’s army of ravens. As the player progresses, they unlock different swords with different abilities, as well as various performative and magical abilities that allow them to be more effective and versatile in combat.
It’s a pretty interesting premise for a game, so let’s see if it’s something your child can handle.
What Parents Need to Know
Violence: Reynardo primarily uses a sword to fight his way through hordes of ravens. Hits are accompanied with visual and sound effects, but not with blood.
Reynardo discusses that the king had killed orphan children. Cutscenes describe Reynardo being killed in various ways, never grapically.
The game has an animated art style, meaning it’s made to look like a cartoon. The game’s fairy-tale aesthetic, paired with the anthropomorphic animals, make the whole thing feel about as violent as Disney’s Robin Hood.
Language: The word “damn” makes a few appearances.
Sexual Content: Nothing to speak of.
Spirituality: Reynardo’s swords have various elemental magical abilities. One character is a mage, and uses a variety of magical abilities. The story involves the corrupt king attempting ancient sacrificial rituals to bring back the old gods.
Miscellaneous: Since the player makes choices as the game progresses, it is sometimes possible for them to make morally questionable choices, such as leaving a friend to die, or giving in to the hatred of a powerful ancient artifact.
Positive Elements: The game’s story includes elements of sacrifice, love, and other positive elements, but it’s primarly about making informed decisions; the more knowledge Reynardo is armed with, the better decisions he can make and the better the story turns out.
Reviewers Thoughts: Stories: The Path of Destinies is pretty much exactly the kind of game I expected going into it; these kinds of independently-developed but relatively high-budget games tend along a similar line. Relatively traditional game design along the lines of older, simpler genres, paired with at least one unique idea that makes it feel fresh and gives it the potential to be something great, along with a cool art style.
So how does Stories stand up to its peers? Fairly well, overall. The game plays smoothly, the narrator who describes the story and reads out Reynardo’s inner thoughts has personality, and the process of moving through the story with new information that leads to new endings works pretty well. The game also just looks fantastic, with the colorful, animated art style presenting no shortage of eye candy to look at.
The formula does come with some setbacks, mainly that the player will find themselves playing through the same levels and locations over and over again as they replay the story, and eventually it can feel a little tiring to fight all these ravens for the twentieth time when you really just want to find out how your story will turn out this time. And while seeing the different outcomes of the story can be a lot of fun, the story itself ends up being fairly simple and not terribly compelling. There is definitely more breadth than depth in this tale, which can make for a fun time but may not open up much opportunity for in-depth discussion with your child.
In the end, there are far worse ways for you or your child to spend your time than adventuring with Reynardo. It’s an inexpensive option on both the PS4 and your computer, so if your kid shows interest I see little reason not to let them play.
Samuel Gronseth II
Samuel Gronseth II is an avid video game enthusiast who manages Video Game Reviews at TheSource4Parents.com. He has experience teaching about video games, and is passionate about their storytelling potential. Sam's favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back, and his favorite video game is Persona 4. Sam lives in Knoxville, TN with his wife, Jimi. To see more of Samuel, check out his Youtube series Games as Lit. 101, where he examines the stories of beloved video games to see what we can learn from them: https://www.youtube.com/gamesasliterature.