Review by Yoh_of_Izumo

"Had Potential, but a Letdown"

Well, I am fairly green when it comes to my exposure and experience with console single player games, but I can tell you that in about an hour I was quite accustomed to the setting of the Fable game. While I spend most of my time playing on portable systems or Halo 2 for the Xbox, this my first break into single player console gaming in which I sat in front of the TV devoid of applications on a computer to distract me.

Now when I first popped that disc into my Xbox and loaded up Fable, I was mesmerized by the graphical power of the game…I guess this is what happens when I spend too much time playing Pokemon. The storyline was typical for a role-playing game, but I truly enjoyed the battle configuration setup and relished the plotline as it developed throughout the game. Though I heard rumors that this was a short-lived game, I tried everything in my power to attempt to have the game last a longer amount of time. But alas, the rumors were true and once I defeated the final boss, I felt robbed. The ending was pure garbage and mundane…well, the graphical cutscene cinematic of the ending were pleasant, but once the game loaded back up, I said to myself…I just wasted ten hours of my life on building a future on such RPG games for console only to find that portability could cream such pettiness. Yes, the graphics and battle scenarios were idealistic and Utopian, but that does not make the role-playing game that requires breadth in story, and which Fable undeniably lacked.

With that set up, it is time to pick apart the pieces of Fable.

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Gameplay: 9/10
After being used to the typical four or six button setup of an role-playing game on a portable system or trying to use the computer as my console source, it was quite interesting to try a multi-button setup on the Xbox. It was not hard to get used to and the configurations were quite logical. I find most important thing in a role-playing game for gameplay is the battle-button configuration. Since leveling up and boss battles are based on this button setup and since at least two-thirds of the time a person will be spending battling creatures to level-up, it is most necessary that this setup be ideal, plain, and effective. Too many buttons and the setup become cumbersome; too few and it becomes ineffective; and illogical and it becomes befuddling. Now I must say that this setup is wonderful in the Fable gameplay and is perhaps as close to perfect as it could come. There are some minor nuisances though: the main one is the targeting feature. Sometimes the targeting goes weird especially during multiple player fights and sometimes I may even kill an innocent bystander if I am not careful. Other issues are not as pronounced and are quite negligible. As for the interaction with the environment, quite pristine. With the other characters and people in the game it is nice that most actions that you do will have reactions. The button layout for the environment is complacent, but sometimes it is annoying to attempt to do an action and move at the same time, but that is more of the fault of the controller perhaps than the game designers' intentions. Enough with the controls, and now it is time to mention the heads-up display and other side items. The heads-up display is extraordinarily well placed and all the crucial items that I need to know are there: a map, my health, my magic power, items, controls as hotkeys, etc. I cannot complain with it. And along with that, a player can go into detail about maps and items and spells by just pressing the proper commands. Leveling up is quite easy and it focuses on three areas: stamina, strength, and accuracy. It is not quite necessary to worry about which area to focus on, because it is possible to max out all areas whether a person wishes to be in close combat with a sword or far combat through magic or arrows, though with each new level of skill a player games, his character will grow older. Though to continue on with what is amazing, there are ways to reverse this aging process and get rid of all those nasty wrinkles and skin (just look in the good old guides on this site). Now I cannot forget the main motive of why I wished to purchase this game: the ability to choose a person's destiny: good and evil. Will you join the dark side of the force or become one with the light side of it? Now the game is quite liberal. It is easy to be a good person and it is just as easy and probably more tempting to be the evil one. Too be good, just do the good quests, the good deeds, etc. To be bad, break the rules, kill people, etc. With being good, a player can see changes in his character with the addition of lighter skin, lighter hair, angelic-looking tattoos, and a halo with butterflies flying above the character's head. Though be bad, and it is quite the opposite: dark hair, rugged skin, black tattoos, devil horns, and flies that buzz around the person's head. There are many opportunities throughout the story despite continued goodness that the dark side will tempt you, and there will be many times when you play evil that perhaps the moral conscience will voice in your head and tell you do not do it. I have to say that when I played this game, I could only play it as a good person, and even the thought of killing people for the fun, even though it was a game, made me feel bad. I doubt I will ever try to play the game as an evil one. Now then that basically wraps the gameplay up. It was quite wonderful and well constructed with only hair-thin flaws.

Story: 4/10
Without attempting to spoil anything, the storyline was one that most people could predict with a few surprises, and when there were surprises it was rather satisfying. As a player, your character starts off in his hometown and carries out tasks in order to buy a present for his sister. Though after this pleasant task, chaos strikes the town and the entire town is destroyed and it appears that your entire family is wiped out. The guild master of this conditioning school appears and takes you away so that you may train and one day become worthy fighter. Now that is about as far as I will go directly with the plot line, but after you leave the school, you actually do not leave it. You take quests from the guild (the school) and your actions determine your fate as evil or good. After awhile the quests start coming to the climax of the plot and soon enough you'll defeat the last boss and beat the game. Now why does the story get only a four out of ten? Well, I cannot say the storyline is rubbish, but as a role-playing game, I did feel robbed, robbed of half a game. The game finished in less than ten hours and as quite disappointed that ten-hour games even existed in this contemporary era. Even if it had lasted 20 hours, I still would have been disappointed. A game requires a plotline that is in-depth, slow, and fully satisfying. Though the storyline was developing well, it ended too abruptly and too soon, and that destroys the intrinsic quality of a role-playing game.

Graphics: 10/10
I have to say that the graphics truly taxed the limits of the Xbox and I found nothing debilitating such standards. The environment, the character's and other characters' textures were stunning and I enjoyed the three-dimensional world of a role-playing game that I lacked in the two-dimensional portable games. Details were refined and as your character ages, you could tell and as the spells are being cast, there are noticeable differences. The environment is even destructive, which adds to the mystique of the graphical power. Though I would like to add that truly what made the graphics a ten out of ten were the stunning graphics of the battle scenes without any chopping or shearing of graphics and the wonderful town scenes and scenic tours of the land in which branches and twigs could be separated. The true essence of the graphical score is knowing that the Xbox's capability has been full taken-advantage and once this is accomplished it is quite pleasing to the eye whether it be role-playing game or action adventure.

Sound: 10/10
I cannot argue with the sound either, it was truly wonderful and the voices of real people in a role-playing game were a real change for me. The background music of the city strolls or that of a battle scene also got the adrenaline flowing as the controller shook as you hear the boulder crash on your character at a perfectly in synch timing. What makes me really annoyed about some games is the use of keyboard music or synthesized music in a console era where an orchestra or chorus can be used to produce the music. Fortunately Fable held up to this standard and I enjoyed the stereo sound of the classical-baroque and renaissance style of music for a time period that is before ours, but with a magical essence to it to match the mysterious moments a blast of fire hurling at the enemy.

Replayability: 6/10
I will say that I was annoyed by the brevity of the game; so annoyed that I never took it up the controller to the game again. But I will say that it does have replayability value. With the game lasting only about ten hours it is possible for a person to load up a new game and switch alliances to the dark or holy side (depending on what you were as the first character) and try your luck with that. But unfortunately with the game lasting only ten hours, the plotline was just too simplified that the events that would carry out despite a moral alliance would just not be fulfilling and in fact hint at a sign of immaturity that I am not willing obligated to oblige. If there was one factor that destroyed this game, it was game life.

CONCLUSION
Using my rating system for Role-Playing Games:
20% Gameplay, 30% Story, 20% Graphics, 7.5% Sound, 22.5% Replayability

Overall Game Rating: 7.1

OVERALL RATING: 7/10
Suggested Action: Borrow from a friend or rent from the store.


Final Comments: Unless you do not mind paying $20 dollars for the platinum edition of Fable that only contains another hour or two of gameplay, do not waste your time or money on this game unless you wish to borrow this game from a friend or store. It is quite saddening that such a game that was supposed to deliver so much and had superior candy-eye graphics would totally bail out with a disgraceful length of game life. Though I may say that even with this failure, Fable has set a foundation on which to build on in which people can enjoy a free reign of choices and perhaps Fable 2 will be the game that earns a spotlight in the classics.

Fin


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/05/07


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