Fable: The Lost Chapters Review
Fable is an imaginative game that's got enough remarkable, unique moments in it to make it shine.
- Lively, beautifully envisioned gameworld is fun to explore
- Interesting, if slightly shallow, morality system causes your character to evolve
- Solid action and role-playing elements
- Outstanding presentation makes the game exciting to see and listen to
- The Lost Chapters adds some great new quests, extending the storyline .
- Main quest is quite short and linear
- Combat system can be exploited, thanks to some overpowered spells
- Character interaction is shallow.
Some heroes are made when they rise to the occasion. Others build their reputations over time. This latter case is the subject of Fable: The Lost Chapters, a game in which you get to vicariously experience the life of an archetypal fantasy hero, and, in some respects, decide what eventually becomes of him. Originally released for the Xbox last year, Fable was one of the most highly anticipated games since the Xbox's debut, and the latest title overseen by visionary game designer Peter Molyneux since 2001's innovative Black & White. Like that game, Fable invites you to solve problems either by being good or by being evil, and to watch as the effects of your decisions gradually take a noticeable toll on your persona. Fable also features a number of novel elements, such as how your hero's appearance gradually changes with age, and how villagers respond differently to him depending on his reputation, looks, and other factors. These elements serve to significantly differentiate a game that's actually pretty straightforward in terms of how it plays. Beneath the surface, Fable is a well-put-together but standard action adventure, primarily consisting of lots of basic combat and running from point to point. Mind you, this is a decidedly great game, all in all. Its most interesting, riskiest features may lie at the fringes rather than at the core--but they're there.
If you're familiar with the Xbox version of Fable, you'll find that Fable: The Lost Chapters is essentially the same game, though it's been tuned to work well for the PC and gains a significant amount of new content. That is, the 12 months since the release of the original apparently were well spent--this game isn't any worse for wear today. The new Lost Chapters storyline picks up immediately following the conclusion of the original Fable's main quest, challenging you to explore the treacherous north of the world of Albion, and conquer a great threat lurking there. Featuring new places to explore, new items to find, and new monsters to fight, plus lots of new dialogue and cutscenes, the additional content of The Lost Chapters is at least as good as that of the original game, and it blends in seamlessly with the rest. It's like getting an expansion pack together with the original game, and The Lost Chapters helps address one of the original Fable's problems, which is that it was quite short. Fable veterans will of course need to play through the game again in order to get to the new stuff, and the additional quests amount to only a few more hours of gameplay, if you play straight through them. So while fans will surely enjoy the new content, it isn't necessarily enough to justify getting a second copy of the game. And if you're new to Fable, you'll be better off for all the stuff that's been added. Other than the new content, Fable's controls and presentation have been translated very well to the PC, to the point where the game barely shows its console roots.
You begin Fable as a young child, and it's here that you're introduced to the game's moral alignment system, its sense of humor, and its dark edge--as well as its basic controls, which will be mostly intuitive if you've played other third-person perspective games recently. Your first order of business is to earn a few gold pieces with which to purchase a birthday gift for your sister. Whether you make the money by being helpful or by making trouble is up to you. This initial choose-your-own-adventure-style sequence is quite impressive in the amount of freedom and variety it affords you, and it suggests that Fable will constantly challenge you to make moral decisions like the ones presented early on. For example, will you help a little kid fend off a bully, or will you join in on the bullying (or beat them both up)? These decisions are so ethically basic that they're not at all difficult to make, but it's still interesting to see how the game plays out depending on what you do. You'll discover, though, that Fable's introduction is not reflective of most of the game's quests, which don't give you many choices. At any rate, soon after you complete your first main task, something sinister happens. Fortunately for your young character, he is saved by an enigmatic man who transports him to the Heroes' Guild, where he is to be trained to become an adventurer.
Cut to your hero's teenage years. At the Heroes' Guild, you're instructed on how to fight with melee weapons, a bow and arrow, and the powers of will--otherwise known as magic. All three of these fighting styles are relatively simple to use, but they work well. It's possible to lock onto nearby targets, and you can switch between ranged and melee weapons easily. Melee combos are unleashed just by left-clicking repeatedly. Some foes will block your attacks, but you can penetrate their defenses either by maneuvering behind them or by using a slower, stronger, unblockable strike that becomes available after every few normal strikes. Archery works similarly but is more methodical--the longer you press and hold the attack button, the more fiercely you'll draw your bow, resulting in significant damage per hit. Actually, archery may not seem altogether practical in Fable. It can be plenty effective, but since you'll be fighting most foes single-handedly, and most of them will quickly close the distance between you, toe-to-toe combat proficiency will seem like the obvious first choice. A few flying enemies will require you to put your unlimited arrows to good use, though.
Magic is unquestionably valuable in Fable. You'll start off with a simple lightning attack, but you'll be able to spend experience points on more than a dozen other different spells (and upgrades to those spells). There are spells that do such things as temporarily boost your strength and speed or temporarily cause time to slow down all around you, letting you easily outmaneuver foes. (Descriptions of these spells make them sound very useful, and, in fact, they are.) Magic is a little awkward to use at first: You need to hold down the shift button to access your spells, then you have to use your mousewheel to cycle through your available spells, if you have more than a couple. But this is easy enough to get used to, and worth getting used to sooner rather than later, because magic helps make Fable's frequent battles pretty easy, for better or worse.
- Player Reviews: 479
- Game Universe:
- Fable: The Lost Chapters (PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Fable III (X360, PC),
- Fable III: Traitor's Keep Quest Pack (X360, PC),
- Fable: The Journey (X360),
- Fable II: Game of the Year Edition (X360),
- Fable II (X360),
- Fable (XBOX),
- Fable III: Understone Quest Pack (X360, PC),
- Fable II: See the Future (X360),
- Fable II: Knothole Island (X360)
- Number of Players: