Fable: The Journey Game Review

24Oct

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Introduction

Demon doors, silver keys, pet dogs, good or evil decision making, freedom and exploring are some of the key features that essentially make a Fable game what you’ve come to love and appreciate.  Sadly Lionhead Studio’s latest Kinect title ‘Fable: The Journey’ has not only disappointed Fable fans by not adding any of the features you’ve come to expect, but they have also completely killed what Fable ever was in one foul swoop.

Storyline

50 years have passed since our last hero Sparrow embarked on a heroic journey to save the citizens of Albion which took place in Fable III.  Now, with Fable: The Journey you play as a teenage boy named Gabriel who is accompanied by his trusty horse Seren.  Both have been separated from their caravan convoy and their hopes of being reunited take a step back thanks to the close connecting bridge having been destroyed.  Hence Gabriel and Seren must now travel the long road in order to reach their convoy.  On the way Gabriel and Seren find Theresa (The over seer from other Fables) who is being chased by the Devour.  After escaping, Gabriel and Seren find themselves on a dangerous journey to the magical Spire to destroy the evil in Albion once and for all.

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Gameplay

Fable: The Journey’s gameplay is nothing like any other Fable’s title given the gameplay at its core relies entirely on Kinect as the controller. Unlike the majority of Kinect titles that see you jumping about, leaning and moving, Fable: The Journey requires you to merely sit in a chair waving your hands constantly to cast spells at enemies. Fable: The Journey’s gameplay was quite repetitive, linear and boring which made it hard enjoy compared to the previous titles in the franchise.  For the majority of your experience you will find yourself riding and steering Seren and when you do finally step out of the carriage you are presented with 10 minutes of killing Hobbe’s.  If that’s not enough, you’ll also be brushing and grooming Seren, feeding her apples and putting water in a trough. To attack enemies is quite simple and requires you to raise your left or right hand depending on what spell you wish to use. The game commences with the 2 basic powers which are Thunder and Push and further into the game you will unlock other spells such as the Fireball, Magic Shard and Light.

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The biggest problem I had with Fable: The Journey was the fact that the Kinect doesn’t really pick you up most of the time and you can spend hours upon hours on easy parts of the game because you can’t cast a spell in the right direction.  This made the game very stressful and took me out of the experience  very quickly. A downside to Fable: The Journey is the removal of exploring which has always been the main objective to a Fable title.  Playing Fable: The Journey was like playing a Mario title which saw you travel predominantly on one path, but there was the occasional left or right turn which didn’t change anything or add to the overall experience.  Another drawback to Fable: The Journey was the lack of enemy varieties.  The game was quite limited to characters such as Hobbe’s, Rockmites, Stingers, Hollow Men, Trolls and Balverines. Hobbes were certainly the main enemy in the game which just made the game so much more repetitive.  Perhaps mixing it up with other enemies could have broadened the experience.

Visuals

Fable: The Journey’s visuals where fantastic and you felt that the true Fable style you’ve come to love has been presented here in true fashion.  From the colorful environments to the characters and enemies, this was one of the positive factors with Fable: The Journey.  Also, you were able to see some recognizable features from previous fable installments such as certain enemies, places, character’s and environments.  The best visual feature in my opinion was with the Hollowmen.  I especially liked how you were able to use you ‘Push and Pull’ spell to rip off the arms and head from your enemy, which was just a real bone popping experience LITERALLY!

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Opinion:

My personal opinion of Fable: The Journey after finishing the game was that I found it to be a somewhat decent story-line however it was plagued with a very repetitive game play mechanic.  Spell casting problems made it nearly impossible to carry out some of the most simple of tasks, thus detracting you from the experience.  Also, what was up with the grooming of Seren?  I honestly felt like I was playing some sort of ‘My Little Pony’ game.

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Overall:

Fable: The Journey is a title that I sincerely could not recommend to Fable fans.  After Fable 2 & 3, the change in pace, game design and overall experience is far too removed.  Fable: The Journey is more of a stand-alone game that would appeal to a younger group of gamers who want more of a casual experience.  Also, the whole horse interactivity makes and gives Fable: The Journey an overall kiddy feel.  Couple this with the fact that you just constantly swing your arms around all the time may keep the younger gamer entertained but for anyone else expecting a full blown experience will be sorely disappointed.  I certainly had high hopes for the next installment of Fable; however this is not the franchises saving grace.  I was honestly looking forward to Fable: The Journey with high hopes for another awesome installment in the Fable universe, however this most certainly was not the game to deliver on that expectation.

4/10

Damon Lesueur