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Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox) artwork

Fable: The Lost Chapters (Xbox) review

"Fable: The Lost Chapters is a re-release of the original RPG to hit the Xbox. The original's rushed development led to the game being unfinished and extremely short. The approximate 33% added content does a lot to lengthen the game; it adds a total of about five hours of game-play. The much boasted about additional content is a small selection of new armor and weapons, new tattoos, two new spells, and an entirely new part of Albion for you to explore. The new area is one new town and it's outski..."

Fable: The Lost Chapters is a re-release of the original RPG to hit the Xbox. The original's rushed development led to the game being unfinished and extremely short. The approximate 33% added content does a lot to lengthen the game; it adds a total of about five hours of game-play. The much boasted about additional content is a small selection of new armor and weapons, new tattoos, two new spells, and an entirely new part of Albion for you to explore. The new area is one new town and it's outskirts which are devoid of life, but house plenty of enemies and a fierce foe only the most powerful of Heroes can hope to defeat. Though you might think that the extra content seems small, it adds about five hours of game-play, which is a third more game to play; anybody who played the original will have a great time playing it again - this time with a sense of completeness!

The story is the same as last time. As a young boy, the main character loses his family in a horrible bandit raid - which his sister had unknowingly foreseen in a prophetic dream - and was forced to live in the confines of the Guild of Heroes, where he learned to become a Hero with intense training from the Guildmaster. You must take your Hero and carve your place in history as one of the greatest Heroes to exist - whether you're Good or Evil, it's your choice. The game quickly turns from you making a name for yourself to spending every waking moment trying to solve the mystery of your Bloodline and learning enough about your childhood to seek revenge for what happened.

There are many magnificent aspects of Fable that make the game so glorious. The amount of freedom you have is the biggest part of the game that makes it so appealing. The storyline is completely linear, but how you get there is completely your choice. You could become a gallant Knight - beloved by the people of Albion; an evil Wizard which strikes fear in the heart of people by your mere presence; a stealthy Assassin who sneaks in the night to steal what he needs, or anything in between. You have the choice to kill people or spare them, raid farms or protect them, kill rival Heroes for money or bask in the triumph of Glory together! You, quite literally, have a choice to be Good or Evil. Almost all of your actions - such as killing someone or sparing them - reflect upon your "Alignment Meter" and, most importantly, your appearance. When you follow the path of the Good and do good deeds such as help people fight off bullies, kill evil bandits rather than innocent traders, donate at benevolent Temples, you will gain "Good Points" throughout the game for each good deed. At first, their accumulation only appears on the Alignment Meter, but after a while they start to become visible. Your Hero's hair starts turning blond, his eyes will become radiantly blue, and Halo will eventually appear above his head.

If that's not your take on life, then you will most likely go down the Evil path. You do bad deeds such as murder, steal, sacrifice innocents at an Evil Temple. These deeds will drastically alter your Hero's appearance: Your eyes will turn red, your hands and feet look as if they're smoldered, your skin turns the palest shade of white, and you grow a big set of horns out of your head! Essentially, a completely evil character is a demon. Throw on a goatee (which you can do) and a pair of sunglasses (which you can't do) and you have yourself one badass demon!

As great as this freedom is, you sadly are limited in much further character customization. You can't change your hair color unless you change alignments, for instance. There are ways of changing your hairstyle and adding a bit of "flair" by adding or removing facial hair. There are barbers around Albion who shape your hair, beards, and mustaches for a small bit of gold. There are also tattooists around which can add a work of art, or a nightmarish design to your body; some of these tattoos do affect your alignment. Beyond this, there are few ways of affecting how your character looks without some painful sacrifice. It's a great amount of customization already, but it left me wanting more.

The leveling system is absolute genius; it's another thing that affects your Hero's appearance. You collect general experience, by each enemy you encounter, in the form of green orbs; you gain a secondary form of experience depending on how you defeated that enemy. If you use Magic to kill that foe, you will gain Will experience as well as the general experience the enemy drops; if you use your sword to kill a foe, you will gain strength experience as well as the general experienced that was dropped. This allows you to focus on a more favored area at any one time. As I mentioned, your Hero is affected by the experience you spend. If you spend experience on spells, your Hero will gain a few runic tattoos on his body and his hands will glow brighter with more magical power; if you spend experience on Strength, your Hero will grow more muscular and bulky.

A great aspect of Fable are the Demon Doors that are spread throughout Albion. They guard ancient treasure of the Old Kingdom behind their talking stone faces. When you encounter one, it either tells you outright what the requirements are to get in, or it will give you a riddle you must solve for the treasure. These doors are hilarious in what - and how - they ask and will surely give you a laugh. You also collect Silver Keys that are well hidden throughout the land; you use them to open Silver Chests which house powerful weapons and potions that will help you on your travels.

One has the wonderful ability to court a man or woman and eventually tie the knot and live in a marital home together. This aspect adds a touch of the real world (which the entire game is about) that only makes the game more amazing. You even have the ability to have sex with your wife or husband after some careful flattery and a shower of expensive gifts. The one aspect of family life not touched upon is the ability to have kids and pets. I would have loved to have a dog that followed me around in the game, be a loyal friend, and growl at passerby. This aspect is absolutely wonderful, yet it's potential was not fully realized.

A delightful aspect is the ability to boast before you start a quest. After you pick up quest information at the Guild, you can step outside to the Boasting Platform and make a boast by wagering gold. You can boast that you will complete the quest naked, or boast that you will not take a single hit - or both! This ability allows those players who find the game too easy to add more of a challenge.

The Graphics are crisp, clean, and leave you in breathtaking awe when you look at some of the scenery. The brilliantly realistic colors of the leaves and trees; the beautifully smooth texture of the background scenery; the realistic ripples in the water; the vast array of colors that make up a forest in Autumn - all wonderful things you will stop and notice. But like all other games, some areas of the graphics are choppy and glitchy. Sometimes you see your sword sticking out through your Hero, and sometimes the frame doesn't load completely and the ground looks like a green pool rather than the finely detailed bed of grass for a few seconds. There are a few imperfections that in no way hinders game-play.

The Music was a nice touch. Danny Elfman and Russell Shaw did a fantastic job. There was nothing that memorable, but it was enjoyable because of the fact that all the music reflects the atmosphere you're in rather well. Two particular pieces of note are the pizzicato piece played when you're in Bowerstone, and the dark, bone chilling piece in Lychfield Graveyard. The voice acting was not superb by any means. It sounds well done at first, but the player will soon realize that the voices are all done by the same few people; every NPC sounds the same. The main voice acting is infinitely better and done by skilled people. The main voice actors fit their parts perfectly - nothing seems out of place and the player can really get into the dialogue.

The game is a bit on the short side; the added content did an alright job in fixing that a bit. It's also far too easy - which is really my only problem. There is no challenge at the end of the game because your Hero will become a God by the end of it. There should have been a difficulty setting for the more challenge-seeking players. However, this can be overlooked by creating challenges yourself. With the games many paths and possibilities, playing it again is a must. You could go through the game using only Magic, or only your Bow and make it a challenge for yourself.

With Fable: The Lost Chapters being highly re-playable along with it's addictive nature, I recommend that you buy this game instead of renting it. You could beat it (twice) in the rental time, but you will be itching to play this game again in the future. For $20, this game is a must in the collection of all RPG fans.

Overall rating: 8/10

mgtonvac55's avatar
Community review by mgtonvac55 (July 19, 2007)

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