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Fable Preview for Xbox
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 @ 01:42:55 pm E.S.T

This winter, Big Blue Box Studios will release something revolutionary—in theory, at least—to the gaming public: the game simply entitled, Fable. Don’t let the name fool you, though; in Fable you’ll be transcended to a completely different, complicated world. A world where every decision you make has a consequence, a world where reputation is everything, and a world where you can do, well… anything.

This deceptively deep RPG begins quaintly enough: a fifteen year-old boy—that’s you—returns to his home in Albion one evening to find his house trashed and his parents gone. Although this story may imply that you’ll be questing for your parents throughout the game, that’s not necessarily true. True, finding your parents is an option (the game will have many, many options), but doing this will result in you not discovering a vast part of the game. Another option would be this: forget about your missing parents and become the best hero ever. Sound simple? I scoff at your ignorance.

The first thing you’ll need to do to become the best hero ever is to gain a reputation. You do this by slaying monsters, helping townspeople, killing innocent townschildren, looting travelers… the list goes on. In general, just making yourself known to the public. If you want to speed the process up a bit, you can make a stand on Albion’s ‘boasting podium’. Here, you can make promises to the public and sell yourself to the crowd. If you live up to you pledges, you’ll become popular in a hurry; children will copy your ‘look’, girls’ll fall in love with you, and you’ll start receiving gifts from shopkeepers. If you don’t live up to your promises, however, you’ll be treated like an idiot and forced to sleep in the street. Yet another way to raise your reputation is to challenge other heroes—who indefinitely have aspirations close to your own—to duels. If you win, you’ll get a reputation boost. If not, well… you know what happens.

These gentlemen don't look very happy.
These gentlemen don't look very happy.

As said, reputation is very important in Fable. However, your reputation doesn’t depend solely on your actions; it’s also affected by your appearance. Say you’re a big, burly warrior. A scar crosses your cheek and you have large, muscled arms. The townspeople decide that you’re a trusty warrior. A little dull, but trusty just the same. However, if you’re completely bald, thin, and a ghostly white pallor covers your skin—tell tale signs of a magic-worker—the citizens of Albion will decide you’re an underhanded, filthy warlock. Almost as bad as E! Entertainment, aren’t they?

And where would the best hero ever be without a place to purchase weapons and skills, in addition to gaining new objectives? Nowhere. The Guild is where most of your character’s betterment will occur. Along with the aforementioned items, the Guild also provides a haven where you can train and view your popularity ranking among the town’s citizens.

Fable’s combat system works simply and effectively. Many attacks and evasive maneuvers can be both learned and used in battle and combos are chained together effortlessly. Also, if someone uses an unknown attack on you, you can copy the ability and use it on that person the next time you fight. If you prefer to wield magic—which isn’t recommended; it’ll turn your skin white and make you die young—you can invoke yourself with rage and acquire super-human strength, make everything move in slow motion, or heal yourself, to name a few magical abilities.

Everything else aside, the feature I’m looking forward to the most in Fable is it’s ‘do anything, anywhere’ attitude. The game gives you the freedom to do whatever you want in the game, be it slay a monster, learn new skills, or down a couple of drinks over at the local bar. Players are welcome to explore the world of Albion, aside from all the missions.

However, while doing anything, anywhere, players must keep in mind that everything they do has a consequence, just like in life. You decided to steal some treasure from a villager’s home? You get the cash, but the villagers will never forgive you. Practice swordplay a lot? Be expecting some large muscles to start forming on your body, and you can be expecting a nice, even tan, considering you skirmished outdoors. Hopefully some limits are drawn and Fable doesn’t resemble life too closely, or it might lose its fun.

It looks like this guy means buisiness.
It looks like this guy means buisiness.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that Albion is another typical fantasy game city. You’ll find no elves here, nor will you spot any orcs or hobbits. Albion is almost living, in fact, which seriously sets it apart from other ‘fantasy cities’. Every one of its environments varies from the other, and it holds many dark secrets that aren’t seen by the naked eye. It’s always changing, since the game occurs in real-time; shadows constantly move and lighting is always changing, due to the game’s continuous cycle of day and night. The city also houses some interesting, non-generic fantasy creatures, such as earth trolls, balverines (bi-pedal, clawed predators), giant scorpions, flying nymphs, and disfigured zombies, in company of hundreds of NPCs.

No word has been given on whether Fable will have online play, since the game started development before either the Xbox or Xbox Live were around. It this title does go online, though, it’ll surely be a one-of-a-kind experience.

Fable should be an enjoyable experience, judging by the innovative ideas being incorporated into gameplay and very non-typical RPG action. As said, be expecting this XBOX exclusive to ship to retailers this winter.


Preview By: Stealth52 - 12955 Reads


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