Fable Final Version Updated Impressions

Before we pass our verdict on how Fable finally turned out, we bring you some choice, new details and lots of new screens and movies.

Fable's not quite your typical action adventure game, even if the core gameplay isn't dramatically different from what you may have experienced in the past. Click "Stream for Free" for higher resolution.

Late last week, we finally got our hands on Fable, one of the most highly anticipated Xbox games of the year. We posted our first impressions of the game at that time, but now we're at the point where we're confident that we've seen most everything that the game has to offer. We'll explain all that when we post our full review on Thursday of this week, but for now, we wanted to give you a chance at an updated firsthand look at the game. What we have for you are some choice new videos that show off some of the game's combat, as well as some of the interesting interactions you can have with townspeople. We've also got videos that show some of the ways in which you'll be able to develop your character. As you've probably heard, one of Fable's most vaunted features is the way in which it lets you be either good or evil as you go about your life as a character. The choices you make--good or evil--literally manifest themselves in your character's physical appearance.

We were able to get through Fable's main storyline since last time, and we've since been going back to test out some of the game's other features. As mentioned last week, Fable is an action adventure game with role-playing elements, so if you simply follow the linear series of quests that comprise the game's storyline, you'll be liable to miss some of Fable's less noticeable--but in some cases more interesting--features, such as how townspeople will respond to you differently based on your alignment, your renown, and your appearance.

Your character's appearance can change dramatically during the course of Fable. In fact, our main character's gone all the way from being despicably evil to being divinely good--and he's understandably gone gray in the process.

The interactions with non-player characters in the game are kept very simple, so you don't actually exchange words with them as in a game like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Instead, interactions are basic, but the feedback you get from townspeople can often be pretty amusing. If you're evil and wearing scary-looking armor, townspeople may flee in abject terror of you (and you'll certainly frighten the kids). If you're good and have a nice hairdo, townspeople will gather round to applaud you. We've tested both of these polar-opposite cases, as well as some cases in between.

One aspect of the Fable we were also curious to explore was the possibility of marriage and home ownership. Again, this turns out to be a simple part of the game, but it's still pretty amusing. You can buy certain, specific houses, and you can pay extra to have them upgraded (it all happens the instant you agree to pay). And then, if you're attractive enough and manage to woo one of the local ladies or men (yes, gay marriage is, in fact, possible in Fable), she or he will eventually start nagging you for a wedding ring. Wedding rings can be purchased from local item shops, and when given to your prospective spouse, well...they usually help to seal the deal.

There aren't too many perks to marriage in Fable. If you marry a woman, you get a one-time dowry--which won't exactly cover the cost of your home. But what's interesting is that your spouse will comment on you as you change your outfit and hairstyle in the game. Your spouse will also become disenchanted if you do such things as continually make rude gestures toward him or her. Eventually, this leads to divorce--an act that, according to Fable, is incredibly evil (that is, you get lots of "evil" points if you push your former love over the edge. Figuratively speaking, of course).

Here's the 'Before' picture. Yes, this is the same character. Let's just say we donated a lot of money to a local charity in an effort to undo all our evil deeds. And it worked!

Another, similar element of Fable is how you can purchase titles. Your character is anonymous (people mostly refer to you as "Hero"), but you can purchase special titles ranging from "Paladin" to our favorite, "Malificus," and passersby will come to know these titles. Under certain conditions, it's possible to inadvertently earn a title, which we actually found to be a lot more satisfying than just being able to arbitrarily buy whichever one we wanted.

That's all for now. We've touched on some of Fable's more unusual qualities here, but be sure to tune in for our full review and video review on Thursday to find out how well everything about the game ties together. Fable is slated for release on Tuesday, September 14.

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