We tore into the finished version of this long-awaited game and quickly got our bearings. Read our very first impressions and check out lots of new images and gameplay movies.
We were privileged to get our hands on a copy of Fable more than two weeks prior to the game's release date, and we quickly sat down to put this highly anticipated action RPG through the paces so that we could tell you about it. GameSpot has covered the game extensively since it was first announced years ago, and as those who've been following the game's progress know, it has changed around quite a bit since creative director Peter Molyneux unveiled the first details about the game. However, we'll be ignoring all the hype and history from here on out, and we will instead be focused on providing you with the clearest possible sense of how Fable actually looks and plays--whether it's actually any good, and, if it is, then how good.
Let's get one of your most important questions out of the way right now: Based on the limited time we've spent playing the game (several hours at the time of this writing), and having come at the experience without any sort of preestablished expectations--just the same sort of cautious optimism with which we tend to approach any new game--we're quite impressed. For the most part. But let's get down to the real details, shall we?
To put it plainly, Fable is an action adventure game with role-playing elements. We found that the game is pleasantly responsive to control, and that the main character can run around at a satisfyingly brisk pace. The right analog stick can be used to set the camera closer to or farther away from your character and to rotate the perspective about; after some practice, we found that it worked well. Meanwhile, the Xbox's face buttons and direction pad may be mapped to different functions, such as attacking, initiating dialogue, or social interactions ranging from burping to giggling. These latter social interactions may be used to get a rise out of certain non-player characters, but as you might expect, they don't seem to have a huge impact on the game.
There's a lock-on targeting system for when you're engaged in combat against a foe, and you can use melee weapons, a bow and arrow (unlimited arrows, actually), and magic to do damage. It's easy to switch between these different styles even in the midst of combat. While we had a bit of trouble getting used to the lock-on system, we generally found the game's combat to be quite entertaining from what we've played of it thus far; it's relatively simple, but it seems to work well. Our favorite touch from the combat is when you're holding a bow and arrow and the controller starts rumbling gently as you pull the string as taut as it will go, and the longer you hold down the attack button, the harder you'll pull back the bowstring and the more damage you'll inflict. You'll learn about combat early on in the game during the young main character's training at the guild of heroes. This main character, who has no name and apparently never speaks, is brought to the guild of heroes under mysterious circumstances. As you may have heard, in Fable you start out playing as a child, and then continue on into your teenage years, and then into adulthood.
We reached the main character's adulthood (that is, past the teenage years) within the very first hour of play, which came as a surprise. Granted, we were given the option to not advance so quickly, which was kind of strange. Fable's visuals, which are filled with colorful lighting effects and plenty of detail, help to portray a rich and detailed world deserving of the game's title. On the other hand, we found ourselves slightly put off by the game's fairly frequent and noticeably long loading times and other such prompts or interruptions, which dispelled some of our suspension of disbelief. To continue the previous example, when you first reach the guild of heroes and complete your basic training, you're prompted either to continue to your teenage years, or to remain as a child and explore the guild. So, it's not like your character gradually, subtly ages as the game proceeds. There comes a specific point when you must choose to advance the plot, though when that time comes is up to you.
The game's alignment system is certainly one of its most intriguing features. Basically, you can commit good deeds or bad deeds, depending on the circumstances and your whim. When first starting out as a child, you're challenged to perform some good deeds around town; whether you choose to do so or not, though, is up to you. Some of the situations are interestingly complex, and highly reminiscent of situations from last year's superb Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. For example, you happen upon a young boy being bullied by a bigger boy. You may choose to fight off the bully (good deed), or join in his nastiness (bad deed), or whack the pip-squeak and then thrash the bully for good measure. The bullied kid will then thank you, but plead that you don't do him any more harm. So there's more to the game's alignment system than just a purely binary "be good or be evil" type of thing.
- Player Reviews: 976
- Game Universe:
- Fable: The Lost Chapters (PC, XBOX, MAC),
- Fable III (X360, PC),
- Fable III: Traitor's Keep Quest Pack (X360, PC),
- Fable: The Journey (X360),
- Fable II: Game of the Year Edition (X360),
- Fable II (X360),
- Fable (XBOX),
- Fable III: Understone Quest Pack (X360, PC),
- Fable II: See the Future (X360),
- Fable II: Knothole Island (X360)
- Number of Players: