A Long and Tedious Journey – Stories: The Path of Destinies review

I don’t like to be negative, so I actually sat on this review for several days before finally deciding that nope, this is how I feel about this game and that’s the kind of review I’m going to have to leave. As much as I don’t want to say it, it’s with a fair amount of confidence that I say it has been quite some time since I have been as let down by a game as I was by Stories: The Path of Destinies. While the game does have some moments that made me giggle, for the most part I found myself bored and completely unimpressed, which is sad considering how excited I was to play it.

Gameplay & Visuals

There’s not much to gripe about in this section. The gameplay is fun and simple enough, though it doesn’t do much new. Combat is fairly straight forward with a few different moves you can upgrade and learn as you level up. Speaking of the leveling system, there isn’t much to it. There are six or seven different skill trees with certain sections locked off until you discover a certain number of “truths.”

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There are also four different swords you can craft and upgrade one time a piece. These different swords allow you to do different things such as heal or start enemies on fire. They also unlock different paths in the game. This was a fun idea, but considering how limited you are in upgrading the weapons, there isn’t much excitement to be found in the mechanic. You can also equip different gems to create different effects during combat, but this system is likewise uninspired.

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The visuals are beautiful, if not simplistic. They’re probably the one aspect I don’t have much to complain about. There’s also only one voice actor the whole time, but it’s done in a clever enough way that it didn’t actually bother me.

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There were also some very annoying glitches that at one point forced me to restart the entire game and lose progress. Granted, I played this the week of release, so I will hope maybe this was eventually fixed at some point.

Overall, while playing this, I was a lot of times reminded of playing Crash Bandicoot: Warped when I was a kid. Except, ya know, more adult themes and more simplistic. It was fun enough, but I’ve had more fun with a game that came out over seventeen years ago.

Story, Characters, & Atmosphere

So here’s where I had high hopes for this game, and here’s where they were all dashed upon the rocks. Normally, I like to start with the bad and end with the good, but circumstances being what they are, I’m going to break that tradition.

So the good: the world of this game has a lot of potential to be something awesome. There, that’s it, that’s the good. There was potential.

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The bad? All that potential is squandered in a simplistic story that is about as deep as one of those plastic kiddie pools. The characters attempt to be three dimensional, but as opposed to their personalities and motivations reminding me of perfectly rendered 3-D animation, they remind me far more of those awkward polygons everyone in Final Fantasy VII was made of.

And the story? It’s monotonous and tedious. The “twenty-five different endings” hardly count as all that different, if you ask me. Plus, it’s incredibly not fun to try and get them. Most games with this kind of mechanic would let you restart from a specific story point. Nope, not this one! It will make you slog through the same few choices over and over again until you get all the combos available. And the true ending? Well, first of all, you don’t even get an ending card for it, and second of all? It was possibly one of the most uninspired endings ever. It was supposed to feel fairy tale-esque. Instead, it came off as incredibly and unbearably corny. The two definitely don’t need to be one in the same.

Final Thoughts

I wanted so badly for this to be a game I could give a glowing recommendation. On paper, it has all the things I love in a video game – multiple endings, story-driven, colorful cast of characters. Instead, the only thing I found mildly enjoyable was the occasional breaking of the fourth wall, most of which happened on the Game Over screen.

Ultimately, this was a game with great intention and potential that tripped just past the starting line. And I really hate that I have to say that.

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