Developer: Lionhead Studios
Release Date: 10/18/2005
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The Good: Wonderful presentation, superb voice work, morality system really makes a difference, unique game play ideas
The Bad: Absurdly linear, over simplified combat, not the longest RPG, very shallow in content
Fable is a strange soul. Right off the bat, this game is big in variety but no so much in depth. When you enter Fable don’t start expecting the depth in games like Final Fantasy or even WoW because it’s not there. The game is actually absurdly shallow and linear. What makes the game so great is the presentation, story, art design, and variety of game play mechanics never seen in an RPG before. You are a boy only known as the Hero who’s family is killed in a Bandit raid and a powerful wizard, Maze, comes and saves you. You start the game as a young boy before all this to get a hang of the main game mechanics. After the fire, you do the tutorial which is cleverly disguised as part of the story.
Once you finish your training you can go out on side quests and main quests in typical RPG fashion. Leveling up is a bit different since you have Strength, Skill (bows and stealth), and Will (magic), but you can only level up in the Mage’s Guild. The game has a teleport system for easy transfer but it’s not hard to get lost due to the game’s absurd linearity. Unlike most RPGs there really no exploration here since you’re stuck on a one-way path everywhere you go. You can go through Demon Doors to find super special items under the Door’s parameters and what not but there are only maybe 30 different types of armor and weapons and you can get the strongest half way through the game. There are little quirky ideas like mini games to earn gold such as Black jack, memory etc. You can show off your trophies from main quest missions to earn re-known and make yourself the top of gossip. All of this is grand and all but there is still little depth to the game.
The combat is satisfying yet oversimplified. While you can parry, attack, and use magic all in real time it just always feels too simple. You don’t learn new combos but only new magic powers which always seem to feel weak. With ALL of this aside the best aspect is the morality engine in here. You can veer down a dark path then in key moments through the story suddenly alter that. It really does make a difference such as people will scream in your presence, cower under your feet, and praise you for your good deeds. You can even use expressions to attract ladies and get them to marry you for more gold income.
While all of this is great it’s enough to be declared the best Xbox RPG ever made. I can’t wait for Fable 2 and if you have an Xbox system you must own this. While The Lost Chapters doesn’t have enough for people who beat the original new comers are warmly welcomed.