encompassing story sees you take on the role of a young hero when he is still a small lad. The story is set in the fictional medieval world of Albion which is a similar world to that of the Zelda games. Every action and decision taken by the player will determine the future of the hero and everyone else’s perception of him. As in the Black and White series, games that are also developed by Peter and the Lion-head team. So your first task is to collect 5 gold coins to buy your sister a birthday present. Whether you achieve this by running errands and generally being good or you take the darker path and collect the coins by less wholesome methods every moral decision taken will, in time, carve out what lies ahead.
Shortly after completing a few simple tasks, either by being good or bad, you will have been quickly versed in the control system, which is nice and easy to use especially if you have played third person games in the past. The story is pushed forward by a cut scene showing a terrible thing that happens to the young hero, leaving him with no family or home. Fortunately enough, you are taken under the wing of a kind warrior who takes back with him to The Hero’s Guild, which becomes your new home, where you will grow into adulthood and learn how to fight.
Fighting makes up quite a large part of Fable, you get to use ranged weapons such as crossbows, long bows etc. and an excellent range of swords, clubs and axes. You also have the ability to use magic to fight with and this takes the form of a lightning type bolt coming from your hands. As you progress through the game you can buy and sell weaponry and spells to make your future battles easier. Once you have completed the training and a few short missions to prove your worth the game advances to your heroes adulthood. This is the main part of the game and this is where your journey begins in earnest.
The general way in which you are directed from one mission to another is through the map room at the Guild of Heroes. Once your current mission is complete you are called back to the guild with the news that another mission is available. This system works quite well, there are teleport spots dotted around Albion for a speedy route back to the Guild or alternatively you can get there on foot. Taking the long road has its own benefits and this way you end up being more evolved in the world. An example of this would be to say that the villages surrounding the guild are worth a visit, they are packed with traders, blacksmiths for buying new weapons, females which can be courted and married, houses to buy and rent out, pubs to drink and eat in and many other elements that all help to further immerse you into the world of Albion.
As you leg it through the conurbations people recognize you and talk of your feats, you can also get up to loads of mischief if you so desire. There is what seems like an almost infinite list of things you can get involved in from playing bar games over a beer with the locals to fishing in the lakes for your next meal to sneering at the kids or even breaking wind in the face of your enemies.
As you progress through the set quests your hero will gain much skill, strength and will ability which all accounts to a stronger hero. You get the option to divide any gained points between these three key areas so if you are finding a certain type of combat hard you can embellish your hero with the relevant attribute to make the next quest easier.
The graphical look of Fable is beautiful; the world of Albion has been created in stunning detail. The use of light is amazing, and as you wonder through the forest, swamps, caves the trees, leaves, rocks, hills, grass, ground and hazy lighting all merge into one hell of a convincing environment. This aside the greatest bit of graphical work of all is your character himself. You can zoom right in to see scares from past battles as well as seeing how your good and evil deeds have affected your appearance.
Sound in the game is also of an incredibly high standard. The score is classical and works incredibly well within the game adding suspense to the tense scenes and generally breathing life into all elements of game-play. The ambient effects also help to bring the graphics alive, such as birds and water. The voice acting work gels the worlds many, many characters nicely. All vocal acting is done by English actors and the range of accents (Brummy, Scouse, Cockney, Yorkshire etc) give the game a diversity not previously seen…..or should I say heard.
If you are looking for a classic adventure to brighten up the long winter nights you could do much worse than Fable, my only gripe would be that the main mission is a bit on the short side and the replay-ability factor isn’t quite there. I am not a big fan of fantasy titles and don’t really see myself as a warrior or magician but with Fable being so lovingly constructed I highly recommend that you take the journey, you will not be disappointed.
9 out of 10
Features: Engaging in intense real-time combat. Players collect battle scars as they duel with cunning foes and deadly creatures. They can master an array of deadly weapons as they hone the art of blade-craft, hunt their quarry using subterfuge and stealth, or weave death from the elements as they harness the dark arts of the arcane. Building a living legend. Through deeds and actions, “Fable” players build a name for their character across the land. They can recruit allies and followers, gain glory or notoriety, make friends and enemies, the whole time interacting with a living world of people, places and events all reactive to them. Shaping and exploring a living, evolving world. Players champion or manipulate an ever-changing land with competitive and cooperative heroes, dynamic weather systems, and deformable environments teeming with cultures, creatures, citizens and cities. Honing scores of unique skills and extras. Players master new abilities and add possessions as their character develops. They can learn to ride steeds, master the art of thievery, acquire pets, clothing or tattoos, and more. Forging a hero based on actions. Heroes age and evolve through the actions players choose and the paths they follow — be it for good, evil or in between. Those who ply the way of the sword will see their muscles bulge. Those who weave the dark arts will witness power crackle at their fingertips. And those who skulk in the shadows will watch their skin bleach. Never playing the same game twice. Once an adventure has been completed, players can forge a new tale full of unexpected twists and turns, with new skills, powers, influences, allies and enemies.