E3 2011: Fable: The Journey Preview Updated Impressions

We get a chance to see a bit more of this equine Kinect adventure.

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Dogs may be man's best friend, but they do have limitations. If you're planning on taking a cross-country trip, for instance, it would be much more advantageous to hook your carriage up to a sturdy horse than a scrappy puppy. So you don't need to shed any tears for your furry friend that has been unceremoniously removed from the next entry in the Fable series. You do have a horse after all; a fine horse with a chestnut-colored coat. And you should be happy that it's willing to pull your lazy butt all over the country. We had a chance to see the horse and the rest of Fable: The Journey in action at a pre-E3 press event. Though we didn't get a chance to play this Kinect game for ourselves, we did see someone else take the reins, and we came away with a better understanding of what to expect.

Like the trailer shown during the Microsoft press conference, you begin The Journey on a horse. Well, not on the horse itself, but in a carriage behind the horse. Unlike most Kinect games, you can play this properly while sitting down. In fact, it's recommended that you are situated in a relaxed position. The Journey is supposed to replicate the experience of casually riding through the countryside, and only a fool would stand up rather than sit down in the carriage.

The direction you take is predetermined, but the speed is up to you. By snapping your arms, you urge the horse to go forward. If you're an uncaring, horse-hating bully, you can whip the poor beast raw. A horse has feelings just like your dog in Fable, so if you're needlessly cruel, it will tire, get injured, and build up an unhealthy (but entirely deserved) hatred toward you. The Journey uses "horse-sweat technology" according Peter Molyneux, so you can see it wilt under your pressure. Thankfully, its baser functions have been left out so there's no need for a horse diaper.

While you travel down the road behind your reliable steed, you can occasionally stop for some extracurricular activities. In the demo, we saw a plant drained of its life force. It sounds like a sickening concept, and this process serves as your morality choice throughout the adventure. Life force is your experience points. To grow more powerful, you must extract the precious energy of the organisms around you. But if you get greedy, you get evil. We were told about an example involving an unfortunate squirrel. If you're kind, you can suck a bit of life force away and leave the squirrel happy. Or you can drain it a little more until the poor thing passes out. And if you're really greedy, you can siphon that arboreal rat dry. The choice is yours.

If you decide that manning the reins is too much work (which is ridiculous considering what your horse has to put up with), you can use voice commands. Now, we didn't get to see this feature in action, but we were told that horse-ordering staples such as "Whoa!" and making a clicking sound would work in the finished game.

The Journey is more than just a horse-roving adventure. During designated moments, you can leap off the carriage and continue on foot. This is where combat kicks in, with a strong emphasis on magical warfare. Doling out magical attacks is simple and intuitive. By swirling your hands around, you move balls of energy, and you can manipulate these particles in a number of ways. If you punch forward with one hand, you issue a quick burst. If you do the same thing with both hands, your attack is slightly stronger. You can also rub your hands together to turn your particles red, powering them up in the process. This transforms an ordinary fiery blip into a flaming explosion, so it's worth taking the time to do your stuff.

The final trick we saw was a simple crafting system. By twirling your hands, you mash your magical particles together. Once spun into a gooey paste, you can transform your ball of powers into all sorts of different creations. Drawing a square slows down time and creates a temporary shield, for instance, which serves as a handy defense. You can also turn your magic into a spear, telescope, or fishing rod. We only saw the first one demonstrated in the game, though the other two examples correspond with minigames.

The Journey is much more linear than a typical Fable game, though it contains the same pick-up-and-play gameplay and whimsical charm for which the series is known. Keep your eyes on GameSpot for more information on Fable: The Journey when it becomes available.

Discussion

33 comments
JTrockin
JTrockin

What rpg fan would want this? Even if you enjoyed the last two Fables what would make anyone want to crossover to this garbage? I just don't understand what they were thinking. It's like they want to destroy Fable.

XCore93
XCore93

@DrEvilKoala You are so foolish...FABLE 1 WAS CRAP? man, you don't know what you are talking about, really, if you gonna make stupid comments, PLEEEEEEAAAAASE do not comment then. Save it for yourself.

XCore93
XCore93

@NoiseMonkeyy Aye with that, i loved fable 1 lost chapters(PC) then played fable 2 , the story wasn't so interesting or entertaining, then fable 3 (haven't played it yet) but i have heard that is even worst than the 2nd one.... I really hope THEY MAKE FABLE: LOST CHAPTERS 2 and BLACK AND WHITE 3 project started. Else it will be an arrow to the knee....

NoiseMonkeyy
NoiseMonkeyy

Does anyone else feel fable gets worse and worse evrytime? Fable 1 was awesome, then fable two came out and mucked up the magic system, I mean 5 or 6 spells that pretty much do the same thing? So disapointing. and as for the whole story of Fable 3? spending the majority of the game rebelling against an evil king, only to find that when you do de-throne him you have to be even more evil than he was or everyone in albion dies....

kazumashadow
kazumashadow

Man this is ridiculous if compared to the other Fable games where you had freedom. This was simply a bad idea, the devs probably were high when they came up with this and not in the good way.

Roger_Smith
Roger_Smith

What a waste of a good name. What a stupid idea. All to bolster a useless peripheral's shoddy catalogue. You can have any horse and buggy game with some magic tricks, but to call it Fable...well I honestly lol'd IRL. Every Kinect title I see released pushes back any chance of getting some decent games like a new Perfect Dark or Killer Instinct. Nope...horse and buggy with arm wagglan.

cr8ive
cr8ive

Most RPG fans prefer to travel from 1 location to another location instantaneously ... hence teleport stones.. portals...(unless we're level grinding or easter egg-hunting) but in case of Fable: The JOURNEY... it's exactly the opposite?? Heroes don't ride carriages!! The preview sounds like a kinect demo with Fable setting ....although I think Red Dead Redemption would be a better fit.. If this is the future of gaming...maybe kinect is the worst thing to have happened to xbox fans...

smwat
smwat

Been a big fan of the fable games. Though sometimes a game franchise just needs to end. Fable was only good for its setting in history and the use of the guild. as the games progressed you got farther from heros and the heros guild. This made the game very dull and Predictable, 2-3 were fun but didn't have the play value of the first, I found myself playing them to just beat the game and toss it in the closest. I still play Fable 1 It was the Only Good game In the francise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DrEvilKoala
DrEvilKoala

@riariases You were fooled into thinking Fable ever was an original RPG. Actually, you were fooled if you thought Fable was an RPG. Molyneux was once a great game designer, but ever since he announced the very first Fable his career has become a joke. Al he does is act like some spokesperson for a franchise that was dead on arrival. Never have I found a franchise that was so painfully broken to the core, and there is no way a so called "Master Game Designer" like Molyneux can get away with it. If all he wants to do is talk he should write a novel, record a monologue, or make a movie starring himself. He's long past his ability to design an even half-decent game though. I would recommend not to make a whole lot more public appearances at these events and conferences, as each one gets more and more painful. The Fable franchise should have been killed off after the mindblowingly bad first game, and every continuation of it served both as a painful reminder and as a testament to how much Molyneux had sold out both as a creative artist and game designer. He hasn't spoken a word of truth since, what? 2001 or something? At least have the self-respect to make the decision of stepping down yourself.

nigelholden
nigelholden

Link's crossbow adventure comes to mind

riariases
riariases

Fable started as an awesome, original RPG. Now it's turned into a cheap My Little Pony game. I thought this was gonna be like a Fable RPG with Kinect.

jimlbunch
jimlbunch

the fable series started out something amazing, why does this feel like it is continuing the trend into .....crap. It better be just an arcade thing or a minor part of a bigger game or something like zelda wind waker. yeah

chyng85
chyng85

A racing mini game?~

HiroArka
HiroArka

I am thinking this will be an Arcade title rather than an actual disc based game.

Burdonkadonka
Burdonkadonka

great, a game where I get to look at a horse's ass in first person...

Ashatar
Ashatar

will this be playlable without kinect????

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

All this game has ever done is give me headaches and hurt my eyes. Please smooth over textures and such so I don't get that sparkly bs that happens when I play these games from now on. I am not sure what effect causes it but geezus !

xSlider257
xSlider257

Any controller implementation Tom or is the game completely on-rails as it appeared in the demo?

JorgeChC
JorgeChC

I like Fable, but, this game, I'm not going to buy it on release date, I might wait 6 months for a price cut, and that is if the reviews convince me.

gamer4god88
gamer4god88

We ask for more adventures in Albion, more exploration, and a bigger better world....and Molyneux's answer is a rail shooter?? I think you may have lost your touch sir...or perhaps you're just not listening.

d4v1dbow13
d4v1dbow13

Peter Molyneux you are the king of over hyping. this game will be terrible as was your last 2 games you arrogant fool

Shidira
Shidira

"Fable: The Journey of Railshooting Sims Because RPGs Are Apparently Stupid" - Brought to you by the creative genius, Peter Molyneux. Ruining games in stores near you.

ronnet
ronnet

Fable was always a light-RPG, an entry level RPG to enjoy for old and new RPG fans. Fable III wasn't an RPG at all, although it atleast pretended to be one. This... thing.. doesnt hide the fact that it is an light-adventur game. Cheap thrills for full price. I said that after Fable III I would stop buying these games on release day and wait for the reviews, but with this I can simply say I won't be getting it.

Erdi90
Erdi90

pfff, fable is degrading...

Majkic666
Majkic666

only thing i am interested in is, it only kinect or can you play it with a controller?

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

You become evil for sucking life force from plants and squirrels? Good gravy! Send that man to prison for crimes against the fluffy cuddly folk of carebear land!