Lionhead Studios likes to be good. Lionhead also likes to be bad. The game developer under the direction of industry vet Peter Molyneux is all about giving its customers choice. Its portfolio includes Black & White and its sequel--in which gamers can choose to be a benevolent, merciful god or a vengeful, ironfisted idol--and the soon-to-be-released The Movies, in which players become a producer in 1920s Hollywood and shape the production of a silent film.
The choices continue in Fable: The Lost Chapters for the PC, which shipped to retail stores today, according to publisher Microsoft Game Studios. The Lost Chapters adds new content to the popular Xbox game Fable, which was released a year ago. An Xbox version of The Lost Chapters is slated to ship next month for $19.99.
In The Lost Chapters, gamers begin as a young boy with his whole life ahead of him. After a raid on his town turns his world upside down, the boy is taken to a Hero's Guild, where he begins to shape his path.
Gamers can direct their character toward several fighting disciplines, such as a warrior skilled in blades, a sorcerer adept at magic, or a ranged hunter trained with bow and arrow. Becoming proficient in a skill is as simple as practice, but the results are often more than just about extra skill or experience points. As in real life, swinging a heavy axe or two-handed sword results in some ripped biceps, and throwing fireballs will mean a little more aura around the caster's hands.
Choice is not limited to simply deciding how to smite enemies; choosing which enemies to smite also changes the character in Fable. If you kill something deemed evil, such as a pack of werewolves, you'll begin a path of righteousness. If you kill something that is deemed good, such as town guards, you'll begin a path of villainy.
The selection of quests and simple town actions, such as kicking chickens or letting loose some flatulence before a fair maiden, will also affect the character's reputation. By leaning heavily one way or the other, gamers' characters will begin to show physical manifestations of their dogma, by growing a halo and glorious sheen or demonic horns and a stink cloud buzzing with flies.
The Lost Chapters portion of the PC game offers new areas to explore, more monsters to slay, and more spells and items to acquire.
Fable: The Lost Chapters is rated M for Mature and retails for $49.99. For more information on the game, choose GameSpot's full review.