I didn’t really know what to expect when I stepped up to the TV to play the upcoming Spearhead Games adventure title Stories: The Path of Destinies (previously called Stories: The Hidden Path). I hadn’t heard much about the game, and from what I had seen before, it looked a little bit like a Bastion clone. After playing it for a little bit, though, I soon realized that while it definitely takes some inspiration from Bastion, it is its very own, and very fun, game.
In Stories, players take control of a sword-wielding fox. The developers didn’t really want to divulge details into the main story just yet, as it seems like there will be some mysteries that players should try to solve on their own, but I did learn that players will have many, many different choices, and each choice will impact the outcome of the game.
Angels and Demons
For example, during my time with the game, I went on two different missions to gain two powerful items — a demonic sword and an angelic piece of armor. Both are actually sentient beings, and they argued with each other over what choices I should have made. They also both gave me some magical abilities, such as being able to use up mana to take down enemies with a single blow. Good stuff. But anyway, I chose to get these items instead of saving my friends. I had the option to do either one, and I figured I could possibly just save my friends after getting some cool gear. However, one of the developers told me that my choices would impact the world, and it sounded like I might not be able to go back and save my friends after all.
With all those choices comes a myriad of different endings. In the early demo build I played, I was told that there are around 32 different endings. In the final build, however, there will be many, many more. An interactive narrator, very similar to the one in Bastion, keeps track of what is going on, and highlights some of the choices I made. The narrator has, or will have, over 1,000 lines, and I was told that players will rarely hear the same thing being narrated twice.
PAX Prime 2015 Stories The Hidden Path Hands-On Preview – Sword Fox
The art style of Stories is also similar to Bastion. Everything is bright and colorful and beautiful, although Stories feels a bit more 3D-y than Bastion. However, although the art style and the interactive narrator are similar to Bastion, the combat in Stories is very different.
Combat is very fast-paced, and very versatile. There are quite a few animations when attacking, about 35 in the demo, and there will be even more in the full build (over 70). That means attacking enemies is actually entertaining to watch, as well as to do. Not only was I able to swing my sword around and watch as my character wiped out enemies via some cool animations, but I was also able to stab enemies, keep them on my sword, and then fling them off ledges or into other enemies. It was incredibly satisfying to do that, and a lot of fun. I also learned that players will be able to run across walls and attack enemies, as well as gain and utilize a variety of skills and spells. I gained one skill after leveling up that allowed my to dash. It made movement quicker, and I was able to dash through enemies and stun them, and then back-stab them as they were stunned. The dash also helped me get through a sneaking level, where I had to avoid drone-like enemies as they flew around looking for intruders.
I was told that Stories: The Path of Destinies will take around 20 or 25 hours to complete, but players can easily replay it and find themselves taking an entirely different path than they did before. It hopefully will be hitting consoles and PC sometime next year, and based on what I’ve played so far, Spearhead Games has something special in their hands.