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Platform

PC

 

Genre

RPG

 

Developer

Lionhead

 

Publisher

Microsoft

 

Rating

Mature

 

Released

September 2005

 

- Flawless graphics/audio

- Rich and rewarding character customization

- Plenty of mini-games and quests

 

 

- Character strength too high in end game

- Minor interface problems

- Still a touch short

 

 

Review: Fable (Xbox)

Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (PC)

 

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Fable: The Lost Chapters

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Sometimes it pays to be forced to wait for a release to come to your preferred platform. I remember wanting to play Fable when it first came out, but not having an Xbox put a damper on my plans. Enter Fable: The Lost Chapters; now released for the PC, bigger, better and designed to take advantage of the PC's technical capabilities. Not only that, as the title indicates, extra content has been added to the game and now gamers can experience some of the further adventures of the Hero that were cut from the original.

 

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Fable follows the story of a boy whose town is burned to the ground by a group of unknown assailants. You are rescued by the Guild, a collection of Heroes that performs quests for the general populace. After being taken in by the Guild, you begin your apprenticeship as you seek revenge for the murder of your family and the town. There is an introductory portion of the game that takes place before your village is burned down and during your training at the guild that gets you up to speed on the controls and actions you perform in the game. Following through from beginning to end, the story line is nothing spectacular but serviceable enough considering how good the gameplay in-between is.

 

The game is broken down into free play portions and quest portions. Quests are received from the Guild base as well as from people that you meet through Albion. The land of Albion is divided into a linear set of areas. After accepting a quest, you are directed to an area and you are not able to leave that area unless you want to forgo your quest progress for that mission as the game cannot be saved mid-quest. This is generally true of the quests received from the guild, however those that you receive from other people are generally ongoing missions, or missions that you can 

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complete at your leisure. A cool feature of taking quests is the ability to boast about your quest. This is basically a wager that will allow you to bet on your completion of the quest with a given restriction. For instance, you can boast that you will complete the quest without any weapons, or that you will complete the quest without any clothes on. These can be great for earning some extra money, and can make the easiest missions next to impossible.

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The game has a quite few "currencies" that you earn. There is renown, or how famous you are, your morality, your attractiveness/scariness, experience, and of course money. Renown is gained by completing quests and showing off your trophies after completing your quests. Generally after completing a quest, you will have a trophy of some sort; a keepsake given from someone you rescued, or the head of a monster you killed. You can show this trophy off by selecting the option in your menu to do so. In any given area, there will a number of people that you must show the trophy too. After doing so, you will be rewarded with a bunch of renown which improves your standing in the eyes of the townsfolk across the land. How this is important is not really clearly defined in the game, but I believe that it is a relevant goal in and of itself as you are on a quest to be a legend.

 

Next, your morality is quite simply based on the decisions you make when performing your quests. You have many opportunities to sacrifice and kill innocent people. Likewise you will have opportunities to help, or hinder those who want to harm others. You can choose to be evil or good in such cases and you are ranked on a meter based on the points you accumulate for deeds of evil versus deeds of good. Where you are on this meter affects your appearance and how the townsfolk react when they see you. Unlike perhaps some of the more morally ambiguous RPGs in the past, Fable is quite black and white in its depiction of good and evil. While simplistic, it works in the context of the game world the designers have created. While the game is rated Mature, the soft graphics, classically simple storyline and warm voice acting all contribute to the feeling that you are playing in a world where neutrality is simply a balanced number of good and evil deeds.

 

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While your morality can affect your appearance, you are also able to affect your appearance by the clothing and armor you wear, your hair style and facial hair, and the tattoos you have on your body. All of these have a rating for scariness and attractiveness. You can be very scary and very attractive at the same time as these two attributes do not work on the same opposing scale. A great thing I discovered as well was your characters ability to obtain scars. I discovered this fairly early on as I attempted to perform a mission naked, and was clawed and sliced up by some wolverines. Later, I noticed that my character still had the scars from battle on his back and on his face. Your diet can also affect your appearance. Food replenishes your energy in the game, however, the food you eat to replenish yourself can affect your waist line. If you eat too many pies and have too much beer, your suit of armor can begin to look fuller than heroes who eat only apples, carrots and fish. Last but not least, your character ages over time, and will obtain wrinkles and white hair.

 

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