One game I had to review this week was an indie game called Stories: The Path of Destinies. The PR company pitched it to me as a beautiful, isometric action RPG, and they really didn’t do the game service with that simple description. It’s actually the closest example of a Choose Your Own Adventure book I’ve ever come across in a game. People love to say that a game that features choice is like a CYOA book, but Stories is the first time I’ve ever really seen that happen.
And what I mean is like one of those books, there are numerous endings where the main character, Reynardo, will die a horrific death. Only one of the 24+ endings has one with his survival, and if you choose a path that kills him, a book he is carrying literally flips to the beginning where he makes his first choice and he starts again. The only way to unlock the route to the true ending is by uncovering four separate Truths while playing through paths. It’s very possible to get to the end in 4-5 paths, for those who just want to burn through something, and each path takes about 30-45 minutes to get through.
As such, I was up late every night this weekend, because just one more path. One more path. I have to exhaust this lane of options before going to the next.
By Sunday afternoon, though, it was apparent I had to stop what I was doing and wrap the damn thing up, for review purposes as well as for science. Good thing is that it doesn’t “end” my game when you reach the true ending, so I can still go through each path if I want. Which I do, because completionist syndrome and I’m curious how bad things can actually go for Reynardo. Some of his deaths were downright hilarious, especially the one where he wanted to be enlightened and sat down in full lotus pose amidst the enemy army. The narrator said that the Ravens put down their weapons and became his disciples, and then he laughed and said no. They cut off his head where he sat.
The narrator also makes this game for sure, as he’s rather humorous in how he tells Reynardo’s tales, very similar to the one in Bastion. I really loved Bastion as well, so that probably played into it. But I also like choice in games, and I really like it when choice matters.
I hope that the other games I have to review this week will be just as addictive.