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Fable [Xbox] Review

Discussion in 'Playground' started by Vae, Oct 15, 2005.

  1. Vae Gems: 1/31
    Latest gem: Turquoise

    Oct 15, 2005
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    [​IMG] Title: Fable
    Platform: Xbox
    Developer: Lionhead Studios
    Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
    ESRB Rating: Mature 17+

    Conceptually, Fable is brilliant. At it’s core is a very solid hack and slash engine, but with enough depth to set it apart from the vast collection of more mediocre titles in the genre. While the game is rather on the short side, it comes with a surprising amount of replay value as there are many optional quests and a few interesting story branches. I managed to get somewhere between 20 and 30 hours out of it, and there’s still more for me to do.

    Fable’s main strength lies in it’s unique faults. In RPGs it is traditional to create a character before play begins, but in a cinematic computer game, especially any game with a focus on hack and slash action, character creation can hinder the story. Fable’s character creation system is a novel new concept for console RPGs, and I hope to see it used more in the future. In Fable, you take control of a small child, a victim of circumstance, and you guide that child throughout his life, creating your character by choosing the arts in which the boy should train. You can be good, evil, or any combination thereof. You can train in three fields: melee, archery, and magic.

    Surprisingly, Fable manages to tell an interesting story that, while cliched in parts, manages to entertain and engage the imagination even is a non-linear world complete with a quest based mission structure. There is always enough going on the player should never find himself wondering where to go next. For players that like a challenge, Fable include the ability to boast about your abilities before each quest, allowing you to earn more fame and gold by attempting such tasks as: completing the mission naked, completing the mission without harming a single person, killing every bandit in the mission, or protecting an NPC from death. Boasting is a form of gambling where you place a bet for additional gold. If you fail to complete the mission and all boast criteria then the money is removed from your mission reward.

    As if this wasn’t enough, Fables strongest feature is actually a collection of the little things that most games overlook entirely. The game is designed to allow players to assume the role of the hero, and spends a great deal of effort allowing the player to decide how he or she wants to experience the game. A good character may find a loving wife who accasionally surprised the player with gifts of expensive armor. An evil character may have many wifes, beat them all mercifully, and just before they get fed up enough to leave, the character might even bring one of his wifes to a sacrificial temple where her life can be sacrificed for the favor of an evil diety.

    The relationship system is quite enjoyable at first, but the number of NPC designs is small and by the end of the game a good character will have nearly everyone in the game world in love with him and ready to marry as soon as a proposal is made. It would be nice to see more variety in the NPCs and a courting interface that consisted of more than giving chocolates and flowers to NPCs until they as for a ring. Fable represents a more than solid effort in a traditionally uninspired genre, but leaves room for improvement and paves the way for a sequel.

    Overall, if you’re a fan of hack and slash action-roleplaying then you’ll probably like Fable. If you’re a fan of story-driven console RPGs you’ll probably like Fable. If you appreciate originality in the industry today then you’ll absolutely love Fable, and if you can’t stand any RPG under 80 hours in length, or are expecting the go-anywhere sandbox experience of a Grand Theft Auto title then you’ll be dissappointed. Rent if you must, but I suggest playing through this game at least twice to experience it completely. It’s short enough afterall.
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