PlayStation 4
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Game Info:

Stories: The Path of Destinies
Developed by: Spearhead Games
Published by: Spearhead Games
Release date: April 12, 2016
Available on: PS4, Windows
Genre: Action RPG
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Teen for Violence, Blood, Mild Language
Price: $14.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Spearhead Games for sending us this game to review!

Reynardo is an adventurous fox who enjoyed his time plundering the floating islands until his mother called to him from her deathbed. She made him promise to protect a character known only as 'the kid with the book'. Not understanding the ramifications of her request, he agreed. While chasing down the kid with the book, Reynardo will learn the basics of combat, grappling, and jumping. These skills will all be beneficial in this 3D action RPG title.

The chase between the kid and Reynardo is short lived and the fox soon finds this book in his possession and realizes how valuable it truly is. This powerful tome lets him see the outcome of various choices he can make throughout the game. His ultimate goal is to topple the evil emperor and ensure a victory for the rebel army. If he plays his cards right, Reynardo may even find some romance!

Much like the “choose your own adventure” books, you will begin your story with deciding on pursuing a powerful weapon, or saving an old friend in distress. Each adventure has five chapters so you won’t realize your missteps right away. As you explore various ruins and destroyed cities you’ll come across numerous chests with ore, gems, and elemental materials. Reynardo’s bracers allow him to equip up to three gems at a time and these gems can help him find better loot or reduce elemental and/or physical damage. The ore and elemental counterparts are used for forging and upgrading swords. Not only do these swords have unique abilities to them, but they are also used as keys to unlock gates constructed of the same element. All of the items and upgrades are carried over for subsequent playthroughs.

Stories: The Path of Destinies
Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun combat and good storytelling; twenty-five endings
Weak Points: Some repetition to unlock all of the endings; no back-tracking
Moral Warnings: Combat violence; magic use; language (d*mn, *ss, bad*ss); references to other gods and rituals involving sacrifices

In total, there are twenty-five endings and in order to get the good ending you have to play through at least four times to unlock the four truths. Once all the truths have been revealed, the book will guide to the proper selections to get the good ending. Going through the bad endings is fun too, especially the peace and enlightenment route. The commentary in this game is quite funny at times. Reynaldo can hook his enemies to bring them closer to him and once said “Get over here!” which is the same line used by Mortal Kombat’s Scorpion. The narrator is entertaining to listen to and does a great job with the voice acting.

There’s no shortage of ravens to fight. They are often accompanied by wraiths who can buff them or hurl ranged attacks that are very painful. Some of the ravens equip shields that need to be removed before you can hurt them and last but not least, are the detonating ravens that need to be kept away from once detonated. Between countering and abilities unlocked through leveling up, the enemies aren’t too challenging until the good ending’s play through.

Dying mid-quest may happen, and if it does you’ll be respawned with half of your health by the nearest checkpoint.  While this may seem generous at first, without the ability to backtrack, you won’t be able to retrace your steps to change out your jewels or heal yourself by smashing vases and crates.  When I respawned with hordes of enemies waiting for me, I found that taking out the wraiths and luring the rest to you is the best way to deal with them.

Stories: The Path of Destinies
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 86%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 74%
Violence - 5.5/10
Language - 6/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8.5/10

Visually this game is very charming and does the Unreal Engine proud. The levels have multiple paths that can be fully explored once you have all of the swords unlocked. If you like to explore, the lack of backtracking will annoy you until you memorize the levels. Given that you will have to play through them several times, memorizing them won’t be too difficult.

As fun as this game is, it’s definitely not for younger children. With the fantasy violence, magic, and language, it definitely earns its Teen rating from the ESRB. There are references to cities being razed and there are sometimes bodies lying on the ground as a result. The evil emperor seeks to become immortal and is willing to offer his daughter as a sacrifice to achieve his goal.

Fans of choose your own adventure books and those who like the movie Groundhog Day will enjoy the premise of this action RPG. The price is a reasonable $14.99 and it will entertain you for a few hours or longer depending on how many of the endings you wish to see.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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