PAX 2015: Hands-On Stories: The Path of Destinies

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One of my new most anticipated games from PAX, I sat down with the developers of Stories: The Path of Destinies, which is a top-down isometric action RPG. Firstly, this game is beautiful. In fact, when I commented on how great it looks, I was told that the build I was playing was a much older build, and that the latest one was much better looking and more fluid.

In the demo I saw, you play as a fox with a sword. I wouldn’t say it’s a dungeon crawler, but it’s got similar mechanics. Also as you play the fox, there is a narrator that describes the action as it happens (kind of like Bastion). For example, when I started up the demo, I started to break boxes and vases—a force of habit of playing lots of Zelda games—and the narrator commented something to the effect of my character needed to release some tension.

As you guide the fox throughout the level, he will be attacked by this large crow-monsters. I’m not sure how sure what the other environments look like, but the level I played looked like it was atop of a large crumbling fortress or castle that was high up in the air.

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Dispersed through the level, you are able to get different weapon pickups, plus special story items. For example, there was a key item in this demo that was a demonic sword that needed blood to be used in exchange for using its power. Also, this sword could speak in whispers, and said that if you feed it the blood of innocents, it could grant you even more power.

Just throughout the demo, my character leveled up a few times, and at certain points I was given a choice of upgrade abilities. It was explained that in the full game, there will be a Diablo-like skill tree system. So, I would imagine that this is just one more factor that makes each playthrough unique, since you’ll be presented different options to level up your character.

In addition to the character leveling, I was told that in the full game, there would be the ability to level up your weapons. Also in the full game, there’s a gem system (not seen in the demo) for your glove that changes how you fight (similar to Materia in Final Fantasy 7) based on which gem you equip.

The battle system was quite challenging, since you are attacked by two or more crows at once. One of the sword techniques that I learned in the demo was the ability to stab an enemy, then use it to throw into another enemy, and this would knock both enemies down giving me a chance to strike. The AI of the enemies were very tough; I tried to get around to hit them in the back, but they seemed to anticipate my every move. When the crows were about to attack me, I tried to get away, but they seemed to zero in on me no matter where I moved. The developers were quite proud of the swordplay system, and referred to it as “swordfoo.” There are many other swords and weapons to find in the game, so I’m sure as you go along and level up, you will become much more powerful.

 
Aside from the battle areas, you’ll get out into an over world, where you are flying in a flying airship. The map is displayed here, and from there you can choose one of three paths, each having its own goal. It appeared one path was to go rescue your friend, one could get treasure, and one could increase your strength. Once you choose a path, the other two paths are gone forever, and you are forced to deal with the decision you made.

The game is trying to create a fairytale story book where, each time you open the book, the story will be different. So to accomplish this, there are so many branching paths and choices to make, that every playthrough will be completely different. In fact, it was mentioned that the demo that I played had thirty-two (!) different endings. I inquired about a new game plus, but couldn’t get any detailed information other than you can play thorough multiple times and some things persist to subsequent play-throughs. I did manage to find out that there was character progression, so if you play through a subsequent time, your character will retain their progress.

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Another thing to note is that there seems to be a good and evil system. There wasn’t an explicit meter or display in the demo, but I was told that if you took the demon sword, you could kill your friends to claim the extra power. So, it seems that you will turn the story darker or have it be more light and friendly if you make good choices.

There seems like tons more features to the final game, and the demo only scratched the surface of what’s possible in the full game. For you action RPG fans out there, this is one to keep an eye on. Having never heard of this game prior to PAX, this one is one of few that I just can’t wait to get my hands on.

Stories: The Path of Destinies is set to come out early 2016 and launch first on the PS4.

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Written by Jason Honaker

Jason Honaker

A software developer for over 15 years, originally from St. Louis, MO and currently living in Seattle, WA. Started gaming in 1979 on the Atari 800 8-bit PC. I play all sorts of games, but am partial to RPGs and 3rd person brawlers and shooters.

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