There was a barrage of smaller titles that came alongside Ratchet and Clank last month. Stories: The Path of Destinies takes place in a world on the brink of a catastrophic war. Reynaldo, our protagonist, is a pragmatic, arrogant, and sarcastic fox who finds himself, due to matters beyond his control, aiding the resistance efforts. He ends up in possession of a mystical tome that allows him to relive his last few days, altering his choices and seeking the result he desires out of these events.
Stories is only about 1-2 hours long per playthrough, so you can quickly weave your way through its 24 endings as you seek the truth of this story. This might seem like not a lot of storytelling, but in reality there is quite a bit of dialogue distinction from attempt to attempt. Additionally, based off of what you’ve learned from previous attempts, the narration will change to remind you of what you’ve learned. That is probably my favourite part, as it really makes you feel like the story is moving somewhere, even though you are endlessly repeating the same events.
This game, unlike many, features a true storyteller as opposed to a narrator. Picture this game’s story as a book being read to you rather than a game: there’s only one voice acting as the full cast and relaying the story, the conversations, and the whole experience. It’s an interesting way to approach matters, but it works here… mostly because of the talent of the storyteller. He does a great job of relaying the story while maintaining enough humour to work.
What we have here is essentially an action rpg. The combat itself is fun, if simple, and relatively easy. You get access to a variety of different swords, each with their own special activated effects, as well as a few different abilities such the a hookshot-like effect and a dodge. It is exactly as simple as it sounds… and honestly, I think this proved to be one of the game’s greatest flaws. Not only are you covering the same territory over and over again, but you’re also performing the same combat actions and, to rub it in further, fighting the same enemies over and over again. It gets dry and very repetitive before long.
In the end, the game’s short playtime would have worked to alleviate its flaws if not for the fact that you must play several times through to see the true ending. But problems arising from repetitive enemies and environments combine with relatively stagnant combat to create an experience that is fun for the first couple runs through but quickly becomes a chore that is only broken up by moments of fantastic storytelling that break it up and keep it interesting.