The Fable Franchise is one of the core IP’s for Xbox and I have enjoyed them for many great hours since the first one on the original Xbox, I even took a day off work on launch day to get stuck into it. And even if Peter Molyneux’s grandiose ideas never really came to full fruition, the Fable series has still captured a huge legion of loyal followers and been enjoyed by millions. So why would Mr Molyneux up and leave Lionhead pretty much on the eve of release of his latest ‘Kinect Required’ Fable title. Read on and it may just become clear.
Touted as the most beautiful Fable yet, it is easy to see that it probably is after short amount of game time. But the fact is pretty obvious that it’s easy to create a fantastic looking game when every scene in the game is either a cut scene or part of an on-rails gameplay section! That’s right. What we have here is a beautiful ON-RAILS adventure, or almost even, an interactive movie. And thanks to Kinect, what interaction you do have is at best flaky and more often down right frustrating. Fable: The Journey definitely adds to the list of reasons of why to avoid anything with the tag ‘Kinect Required’ on the cover.
So, if you are still reading I guess you are hoping for some glimmer of a reason to try Fable: The Journey out. For Fable fans you do get more background and information on some of your favourite characters from past titles. For owners of Fable Heroes you can unlock more characters to play with. For beer drinkers you have a new coaster, and a extra spare game case, although it is purple. Harsh? Not really. Now, I maybe that little bit extra critical of Fable: The Journey because I am a genuine fan of the series and this latest title is steaming pile of cop-out. Jumping on the Kinect bandwagon. A proper Fable title incorporating Kinect like Mass Effect 3 could have been great.
Enough of the criticism, I’m not a fan, obviously. So lets get into the game a bit more. There are basically two elements, driving your Gypsy Wagon and casting your spells. Wagon driving is the simple Kinect method seen in just about every other title of hands out, pull back your left hand to turn left, and right hand to turn right. You can speed up by ‘whipping’ you reigns. So you steer you wagon from set piece to set piece, at which time you dismount and either do battle with your spells or tend to your horse. Spell casting is done by pushing towards the screen and is a great implementation for your lightening and pull spells. If only you had some control over the direction, the idea is great but trying to get a spell on target is nigh on impossible. As for the horse tending sections, Kinectimals anyone?
Since you have no inventory, the act of opening chests nets you the fantastic collectables know as cards. Yup, cards depicting items from the Fable universe like a Bottle of Dye. Awesome! To try and retain some RPG element along your torturous journey you can collect coloured gems similar to previous Fable games. The colour dictates what speed you must be doing to collect it, nothing more. All gems add to a single total which add up to skill points to spend on upgrades to your health, horsemanship, or spell abilities. You can also import gold from Fable Heroes to help boost this total. At least by upgrading my spells I finally started to hit things, sometimes…
I have no idea if this massive dent in the Fable franchise was why Peter Molyneux up and left Lionhead, but I’m sure I would want to distance myself if my pride and joy had grown up to reveal itself as, this. Another nail in the Kinect coffin? Or just another huge step towards social/family gaming? Who knows? But unless there is another Fable title in the works that returns to its old RPG styles then this isn’t just the death of the franchise but the disembowelment and dismemberment of it. It might be out there at a reasonable price but you would be better playing Five Finger Fillet with a mate for $50, even if you lose it will probably be less painful than the journey this fable takes you on.
Inflicted on society on 11/10/2012.