Fable: The Lost Chapters
Fable: The Lost Chapters is a game by the hand of Peter Molyneux – you know; the guy with the grand visions. Even before the release of Black & White 2, he found the time to patch up the old Xbox version of the game. You can read what he made of it right here:
You start the game as a little boy in a peaceful town called Oakvale. In the form of a tutorial, a first mission is given to you: earn some cash to buy a birthday present for you sister. But as you’re about to give her the gift, armed gangs siege the city. If it weren’t for Mace, you would have been killed in the attack that day.
Through Mace, you were accepted in the Guild; let’s say some kind of Hero farm. From puberty to adolescence, you are being trained in handling the sword, using bow and arrow and casting magical spells, similar to those in Warcraft III.
Once graduated, you’re sent out into the world with a couple of missions to keep you going. These are rather short and -especially in the beginning- very simple. As you keep going, the enemies get tougher, but it never really becomes impossible to beat them.
The surroundings in the game are simply wonderful. Through excessive use of reflecting surfaces and blurry effects, the developers have really succeeded in creating realistic sunshine effects. Of course it isn’t HDR, but we can’t have it all now. The vastness of the world is rather disappointing. It has been divided into about thirty areas that are connected through roads and transportation portals. Once you’ve found one of these, you can transport there from any point in the game. An amusing trick if you were about to get slaughtered.
During your travels, you meet various enemies such as wasps, scorpions, wanderers and bandits, spirits and giants. With most certainty I can tell you that melee weapons -being either a sword, and axe or something even bigger- are the most effective. Ranged weapons are great for the first attack, but as soon as the enemies come rushing your way, you simply don’t have the time to reload. Magic can be used in either offensive as defensive ways, but it isn’t very effective unless trained a lot.
Weapons, clothing and objects can be obtained at shops in the cities or at the traders along the way. It is by the way also your responsibility to keep them safe from evil. If you do so, you’re awarded with positive character points. You don’t like traders that much? Then just beat the crap out of them! Your goodness lowers, so people will no longer worship, but fear you instead.
The more you play, the sooner you’ll realise that you character is aging. At forty your hair will start turning grey, at fifty the first wrinkles appear and when you hit sixty, you look like you could die any second. The age doesn’t seem to effect your performance though, as I seduced a twenty year-old muse at sixty three, married her and triumphed in bed. Furthermore your character doesn’t seem to have any problems with polygamy, nor (supposedly) homosexuality, as the statistics speak of your sexual preference. The aging feature is nice, but you seem to be the only one really feeling its effects, as none of the other characters are aging accordingly.
The controls are fairly simple. Quick binds are shown in the interface, so there’s no shitload of keys to memorize. Only the use of objects on people could have gotten some more attention during the tutorial, because most of the time it’s trial and error. Same thing about the mission descriptions: they are very brief, so you need to get most of the information out of conversations. Tough luck if you were distracted for some reason, because they sure won’t repeat it!
The music in Fable: The Lost Chapters was composed by Danny Elfman, someone high up in the movie business. The score is nice, but somewhat repetitive, which makes it annoying after a while. The conversations sound clear, as far as the typical English language is comprehensible. By some strange reason, my left and right channels were swapped. Not having a ‘swap stereo’ button in the configuration screen made it all quite irritating.
After a year of patience, pc owners can now too enjoy the strongly hyped Xbox game Fable. Besides graphical improvements, this reworked version offers some new missions and items. However, the various changes don’t offer enough fresh material to make it a top game. The graphics on the other hand look wonderful, which should bring the occasional RPS player quite some joy.