by Wencke Schuncken
author awarded score: 90/100

Fable Review
Published by: Microsoft
Developed by: Big Blue Box
Format Reviewed: Xbox
Review by: Wencke Schuncken

Cancel your winter sport holiday if it is still possible, because plans are going to get changed. Why? Fable has been released and is waiting for you. Fable is a miraculous adventure, created by Lionheads, Big Blue Box and Microsoft and they promise us that fable is the most ambitious role-playing game with guaranteed quality game time. Well let’s see…

In the lovely land of Albion, bandits take over the town Oakvale. They slaughter every person they meet and set fire to every building. The father of a 12 year old boy is killed and his mother and sister are being kidnapped. And that 12 year old boy, that’s you! You’re the lucky one who get saved by Maze, the leader of the famous Hero’s Guild. He secures your safety and arranges a training to become a hero. This training is very important to prepare you on your quest to find the ones who are responsible for that terrible day when the bandits tried to destroy Oakvale. A hero, is this a dream?

Image: http://www.gamergirlsunite.com/reviews/microsoft/xbox/fable/fable_crates.jpg

When you start your adventure as a young boy you’ll notice the difference between you and other villagers because you have the “will of force”. You have the ability to use magic, for example in fights. During your adventures your body grows, becoming stronger and stronger and eventually older. Each choice made in the game has an impact on your character, the way you look and the mental health level. If you use a sword a lot, not only your sword man arts will increase but the body shape (arms) will change too. If you’re fond of using magic, then your magic skills will increase. Further on there’s a way to increase your skills by getting yourself in some fights and collecting orbs from the killed opponents. These are XP points can be used to up-grade your character’s strength, skill and will.

So what kind of weapon arsenal do we have besides the magic spells? Crossbows, swords, longbows and other weapons can be purchase by a trader or if you’re lucky you’ll find them in some secret treasure chests. The weapons also can be up-graded in a later stage. It’s possible to change your character’s look if you want regarding moustache, beard, haircut, tattoo and clothing. The scarves will come automatically after a couple of fights, jikes, my face looks ugly with the scarves, but trying to cover it with a big beard. Your character looks is also responsible for the way people react on you, just like the result of your actions. People will clap their hands, getting a panic attack, flirt with you or giving you names, yes, I’m the chicken chaser. All activity results will change your world. Your personal development is measured in evil and good points. If you do some evil things like steeling items or killing innocent people or eating too much red meat, the evil point increase. Compensate it with doing good things like eating tofu or offer gifts to people will increase your good points. So please consider what your actions result in before you actually take action. Consequences, people, better think twice before you make your move!

The magnificent land of Albion contains beautiful designed villages, ruins and nature landscapes full with characters walking around with their own intentions. The graphics will blow you away especially when you’re using the magic during combats. But I personally am very fond of the architecture and nature and how it is being displayed. The characters are also quite funny animated and please don’t forget to take a look at the beautiful ladies, maybe 1 day one of them is going to be your wife and have sex with her! That brings me to another aspect of the game: Sound. It’s magnificent, comparable with high standard cinema movie sound. The music changes from level to level has some nice melodies, which reminded me of Zelda, Ocarina of Time. Especially when you use the “beam me up, Scotty” teleport gates. The character voices have some nice English accent which makes the game more pleasant, a little bit more funnier. But if they drink to lot in the pub you hardly can recognise what their saying.

Image: http://www.gamergirlsunite.com/reviews/microsoft/xbox/fable/fable_girl.jpg

Besides the personal evolution, the aim is to fulfil the quests to lead you through the game. 2 kinds of quests are available to solve, gold quests and silver quests. The golden quests are the most important ones as they need to be conquered to complete the game. Also you need to fulfil your quest before you can take another gold quest. The silver quests are optional to do, but I recommend to do a couple of them, just to get more into the game. If you’re not able to complete a quest, maybe you need to consider a personal up-grade to get some extra strength, magic or health. The up-grading and the quest accepting can be done in the Hero’s Guild. The quests include finding a doll, chocolates, getting a haircut to killing mean monsters. By completing quests you can gather a lot of points. Strength experience points, when you used your fists or sword a lot during combats. Skill experience points, when you used the bow a lot during battles. Will experience points, when you used magic during the quest solving. All these points can be converted to up-grade your character.

To make the game a little bit more realistic, all kinds of things can be done, like shopping, getting married, drink a beer, change your looks, buy a present or give it away. If you’re the evil one, why not kick some chickens around? Think of the impossible and it will get possible it seems with this game. If you need some extra cash you can steal it, get as a reward or why not investing it in houses and let people rent it. Other options to earn some bucks is to start fishing and sell the fish to a trader or dig up some treasures which contain money. Oh, there are so many activities to do….you won’t get bored at all.

Image: http://www.gamergirlsunite.com/reviews/microsoft/xbox/fable/fable_monster.jpg

Loading levels, if it’s one thing I hate it’s the loading of levels. Fable tried to cover it up by letting you see a map of the area you’re going to, or giving you some game hints.
The loading doesn’t take a long time, but the auto save will start after the level is loaded, and that takes a couple of seconds to complete. I’ve seen worse, but it still bugs me as I want to move on in the game like every gamer! Regarding the saving, yes there’s the auto save system, but you can save any time you want. Note, if you save during a quest without completing it, you need to start that quest all over again! After you have saved and quite playing you can have a look at your statistics which reveal some really odd stuff. Of course you can see how evil or good you are, how many experience points you have but also nonsense like how far did you kick a chicken or how many times did you through up. Maybe pointless, but it gave me the idea of what else is possible to do in the land of Albion.

To end this review I only can state that this is the BEST RPG game ever seen on Xbox, but why oh why did we gamers had to wait 4 years before it was released? It’s a master piece which combines action ~ reaction in a splendid visualized way. Your character and the changes you create are clearly perceptible. The game can be played in several ways and I already recommend you to play the game at least twice, one as being a really bad bad person, and one as the holy Joseph himself. The difference in reactions are huge, and yes sometimes it’s just fun to do devilish things. But I assure you one thing, both will be worth playing. Yes I’m talking about spending quality game time, just like the developer promised us!