425th played so far

Fablebox

Genre: Action/Role-Playing
Platform: PC/Xbox
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Big Blue Box/Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

How have we not covered the Fable series yet? One of Peter Molyneux big games, Peter majorly got into the second some time ago and it’s always been high on my list to play. It’s got the concepts, it’s got the promises of greatness, and even the games themselves measure up quite well, even if not as much up to promise.

Fable is an action RPG in the proper western mold – create your own character, choose your own path between good and evil and so on – with some more easily accessible parts thrown in and a dynamic world beyond what most other games offer. Time to dive in.

Our Thoughts

This is, first of all, a pretty charming game. The graphics are a bit cartoony, a lot of the dialogue doesn’t take itself entirely serious and a lot of it is for fun. There are some serious, dark parts but a lot of it is bright, coloured and at times pretty. Fights against bad guys can be presented as fun at times – some missions being as much a competition against your guild colleagues.

It’s a toy, in a way, but then again, the game is a sandbox, a toy where the story doesn’t take precedence and it’s mostly about exploring, finding goodies, reaching points and leveling far enough. Your main mission is to get more renown and get more famous, increasing the number of quests you can take on.

 The game’s battle system focuses on three different modes of attack – melee, ranged and magic – with kills and attacks made through a mode giving you more experience for that type as well (in addition to general XP that can be spent in any category). Other non-combat, or non-attack-specific abilities run off these abilities as well, encouraging to mix your attack modes.

All of this comes together into a game that’s fun to play in a way that’s not entirely easy to define. The world is inviting and gets you in further and the sheer number of options of interacting with it is amazing. In a way it feels like a more defined Elder Scrolls game.

There are a few niggles, but they’re pretty much all down to an underdeveloped interface. During a long quest, I wanted to restart a boss fight because I approached it wrong. Thinking I could just reload a save game, I was rather disappointed to be fully kicked out of the quest and expected to start over. Another time, doing certain actions that screw you (such as stealing) felt a bit too easy to inadvertently trigger, which caused another reload and redo of some areas.

Similarly, choosing a combat mode and attacking with it can feel a bit clumsy at times (at least on PC), requiring several buttons to be pressed which becomes easy to mix up, making you cast your healing spells when you mean to swing your sword. It works, sure, but it just seems a bit more polish would have been welcome in the user experience.

Final Thoughts

Was the game worth it? Yeah, it was, I was happy we got to it this quickly. There are a few niggles, but on the whole they feel as much my failing as the game’s. I believe we still have the first sequel coming up for a future write-up, which felt a bit more polished when I played it before. Something to look forward to for sure.

  1. […] to make a choice between these because they feel equally worthwhile, but my best new games are Fable and Final Fantasy X. The former offers an openness of play and magnitude of choices that’s […]

  2. […] I’ve worked a little bit on it. In fact, that was one of the reasons I played the first Fable game when I did (so I could play it before I started work on that) and this play through started in […]