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Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox) artwork

Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox) review

"Before the original Fable's release, lead designer Peter Molyneux hyped up the game so much that it seemed that it would be the most ingenious RPG ever. Upon release followers of Mr. Molyneux were disappointed to find that instead of the groundbreaking best RPG ever, what they found was a short, linear game that featured a bare-bones story and dumbed-down customization when compared to what was originally planned. Despite this, people still loved the game, mainly due to its fantastic presentatio..."

Before the original Fable's release, lead designer Peter Molyneux hyped up the game so much that it seemed that it would be the most ingenious RPG ever. Upon release followers of Mr. Molyneux were disappointed to find that instead of the groundbreaking best RPG ever, what they found was a short, linear game that featured a bare-bones story and dumbed-down customization when compared to what was originally planned. Despite this, people still loved the game, mainly due to its fantastic presentation. The graphics were incredible and every NPC that you could talk to was voiced. The world, though extremely confined, was beautiful and featured some of the best effects in recent gaming history, whether it be the fantastic water or that incredible looking shine that seemed to cover everything in the world.

Although Fable was originally released on the Xbox, Fable: The Lost Chapters is a port of the enhanced PC version of the game that was released a few months earlier. The Lost Chapters adds a lot to the game, considering that it only costs $20. Some of the most notable enhancements are: new quests after the original game ends, some new side missions scattered throughout the game, extended choices during some quests, more Demon Doors (living doors that force you to solve a puzzle or riddle to open them up), and a lot of new equipment.

The game starts you off as a young boy in Albion who has forgotten about his sister's birthday. Your father agrees to give you a gold piece for every good deed you perform. This is where the game's choices begin to trickle in. You can either do good deeds like watching a farmer's crates while he goes to the bathroom to get the coins, or perform bad deeds such as taking a bribe to not tell a cheating husband's wife about his affairs that won't gain you your father's coins - or respect, but you will net you piece of gold. After gathering three coins you'll buy candies for your sister, but before you can deliver your present to her disaster strikes. A group of bandits pillages your village and kills or captures everyone you know while you hide in the woods. Eventually you'll have contol back and you'll attempt to grieve over your dead father before Maze shows up and brings you to the Heroes Guild, where all of Albion's greatest Heroes came from.

The Guild serves as a large tutorial in the beginning of the game. Here you'll learn how to wield a blade, fire a bow, and...shoot lightning out of your hands, which is the first showing of magic in the game. During this time you'll be introduced to your rival, Whisper. Being the younger sister of a famous Hero, her skills are adapt, but no match compared to her massive ego that propels her into constantly belittle you. She will follow you throughout the game, taking opposite quests than you and doing anything to get under your skin. Eventually, the day will come when you and Whisper graduate from the Guild. At this point you will advance in age and be able to go off on your own. The Guild takes on a different role now: a spot to take quests.

You'll take most of your main and side quests from a table in the Guild, and if you're experienced in RPGs, it will probably sound weird that you take story quests in the same matter that you take everyday jobs. Upon taking a quest, you'll be given an option to boast. Boasting if basically Fable: The Lost Chapters difficulty meter. You can bet money on whether you can complete the quest without wearing any clothes, without any weapons, without getting hit, etc. Most quests revolve around killing X character.

Combat in The Lost Chapters can be performed in three ways: up close and personal with a melee weapon, farther away with a bow, or by using various magic spells. Melee controls are pretty straightforward: you attack a person until you build up a flourish attack which cannot be blocked. You can lock onto enemies with the bow or zoom into a first-person-like view for more precise aiming. For magic, you hold down R and use the four basic face buttons to use your abilities or to rotate the available abilities around.

After you defeat an enemy, you'll gather experience orbs that drop from your fallen foe. The amount of orbs and what they affect depend on what type of weapon or magic you were using and your combat modifier. By continuing to attack foes and not get hit, your combat modifier will be built up. Once you gain experience orbs, you can go back to the Guild to spend them. In another weird decision, you'll spend your experience orbs in a shop-like way. Instead of distributing skill points, you spend your orbs on different abilities or on more health or magic. Along the way more of the alignment choices are shown. Some come in story events, where you'll have choices including killing a wounded enemy or letting him live and possibly change his ways, but your main source of alignment modifiers comes from which type of enemy you kill. This makes the whole good or evil thing less intense, as you can change back by simply killing the opposite enemy or donating money/sacrifices to the opposite church. This dosen't mean the system dosen't add to the overall experience, as having horns (that strangely disappear when wearing a hat) sure does make you feel bad.

The Lost Chapter's weakest point is it's story and length. Being an RPG, most gamers will expect TLC to have a fantastic story and last twenty plus hours. However, the story pretty much fails to provide any emotional attachment and the game can be finished within ten to fifteen hours (maybe even less), even with the extended content. Luckily, there is other things to do in Fable that you can spend your time on. Most of these thing take place in towns, which there is surprisingly not too many, where you'll be able to buy or sell items, steal things, buy and sell homes (and stores and barns), get married, and do some other stuff. This is where Fable can grow on you, and you'll soon find yourself hooked on saving up enough money to renovate your home or marry the hottest chick in town. You'll also be able to have some fun outside of towns, where you can go fishing, dig for treasure, and perform a couple other activities. Just don't plan on exploring. This is another major problem with Fable, your generally confined to a path or other small area. Theres basically no exploring to be done, which is disappointing considering how fantastic The Lost Chapter's environments look.

The presentation in Fable is incredible. Every NPC that you can interact with is fully voiced over with a British accemt and walk around towns and pathways seemingly involved in their own lives. TLC also has some of the best graphics in a current-gen game. The cut scenes (all done in real time) are incredible and the amount of detail is insane. All the enviroments and items also have this shine to them that give a very story book-like effect to The Lost Chapters and the music score is really well done. Fables' sound effects are also awesome, whether it be a Balverine howling or wasps buzzing around you.

All in all, Fable: The Lost Chapters is a must-buy for any Xbox owning RPG fan. It will also attract to non-RPG fans with its Zelda-like game play and incredible presentation. The extra features warrant at least a rental from Fable veterans, even though you don't have the option to upload your old Fable saves into The Lost Chapters. Don't worry, though, you don't need to original Fable to play this version. With its very attractive $20 price tag, anyone can easily get into this one.

styoung's avatar
Community review by styoung (May 20, 2006)

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