Game Review: Fable

Fable: The Lost Chapters
(8.2 of 10)
Platform: Windows (PC)/XBOX
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios


Last year, Microsoft Game Studios and Lionhead Studios released a game, "exclusively" for XBOX, called Fable. Of course, as a PC RPG afficionado, I was disappointed knowing that I won't be seeing Fable on PC. However, a few months after its release, and a couple of bad reviews, Peter Molyneaux and Lionhead Studios decided to add more content to the game and port it to PC. I was delighted to hear the news, and I immediately bought the game on its release date.

I haven't really played the original XBOX Fable. So I can't comapre it with Fable: The Lost Chapters. Although, if Lionhead Studios did try to improve the game, I'm not sure if they went through lengths because I'm not impressed with Fable: The Lost Chapters.

A Hero in the Making
In Fable: The Lost Chapters, you don't start the game by creating a character. No gender, race, or class selection. Instead, you'll start out as a young boy who has dreams of becoming a great hero, or a terrible force of evil. As the player, you must choose between the path of good and evil through a series of quests immediately. The alignment of your character will change according through the actions you make in these quests. Defend a child from the bully and you'll become more good. Help the bully steal from the child and you'll become more evil.

Pinching butts is a very good example of an evil deed

Like in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series, your character's appearance will change in conjuction to your alignment. Do a lot of angelic deeds, your skin will become more vibrant and you'll have a halo. Go down through the road of darkness, you'll grow horns and your eyes will cast a deathly stare. People will also react on how the way you look. If you're evil looking, with the addition of a black armor, bad haircuts, and scary tattoos, people will ignore you or flee in terror. But if you have a vibrant skin, plus good clothing, haircuts, and artful tattoos, women (and even men) will start falling in love with you.

Looks can't kill, however. That's why you still need your combat skills. Combat skills are divided into three parts: Melee, Archery, and Magic. All of the skill are available to your character without any restrictions. As for my character, I always focus on building a fast melee character, I have everything under Melee Tree; Speed under Archery Tree; and Multi-Strike, Assassin's Rush, and Slow Time under the Magic Tree.

Slow Time gives you the speed to make short work of a dozen of monsters

Superficial and Aural Beauty
I love the graphics of the game. The big arms and big feet style is awesome to look at. The characters are all detailed, the lighting and the special effects from the spells are very vibrant.

Unlike in games developed in Norther America, voice actors often try hard with the brit accent. Not in Fable: The Lost Chapters though. Since it is developed by an English Studio, the accent comes naturally. The music is also very orchestrated since it is performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Adventure Begins
There are a lot of things to do in Fable: The Lost Chapters, and it's quite an adventure playing it. Besides from slaying monsters, there's a lot of fun things to do in the world of Albion. Buy a rod and go fish in some brook, and if you get lucky, you might get more than just a fish. Get a shovel, find pieces of a treasure map, and your off treasure hunting; or you could just settle for gravedigging. If you feel lucky, try gambling in one of the towns. If you want to invest, buy a house, decorate it with your trophies and rent it. If you want to settle down, find a girl and marry her. If one girl is not enough, go to another town and marry another girl. The things to do never ends.

Fishing, one of the past times in Albion

Role Playing and Story
As always, the most important thing for me is the role playing aspect, and the story, of the game. Although Fable: The Lost Chapter is a fun game, it plays more like an action/adventure rather than a RPG. Of course, you can change the morality and physical appearance of your character. But he's rather lifeless and boring. He doesn't talk, and he only communicates in gestures. The same with the NPCs, they have no depth of character in them. They're just a bunch of mindless droids who are made to praise, or sneer on, your character.

As far as the story goes, I think it was well presented. The quests, sidequests, mini-games, books, and the cutscenes blends altogther to paint a beautiful story and world. The only thing is, the story was too short. I'm talking about 10 to 15 hours short. So it doesn't have that epic approach like Baldur's Gate.

Although Fable: The Lost Chapters proved to be an enjoyable game, I'm still disappointed in my quest in finding a good RPG this year. Indeed, Fable: The Lost Chapters (with its short storyline and shallow NPCs) is one of those excellent games but a bad RPG.

I recommend this game to people who liked Gothic, Gothic II, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords.