Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Fable: The Lost Chapters

I finally completed the "expanded" version of Fable this past weekend. For those of you who've never played either version, it's similar to the original Legend of Zelda. You control your character with a 3rd-person Grand Theft Auto style point of view, and move him through various zones, killing enemies and completing quests. The general setting is a standard medieval realm with swords, bows, magic, etc.

The game has a series of gold (primary) quests that progress the story, as well as silver (optional) quests that become available at different times during the game. At a number of points during the story, specifically in determining how you complete quests or which optional quests you accept, you can choose to make "good" or "evil" decisions. While the big selling point of this game is how your experience changes based on your decisions, I didn't find the two paths to be substantially different, which was disappointing. If you spared character A, their assassins would come after you later. If you killed character A instead, character C's assassins would come after you. Small changes in dialogue don't constitute a unique gaming experience.

That being said, the game is enjoyable, as long as you're able to accept that you can't play it twice through as you might with other games that change more dramatically based on your decisions.

Now, to address the "Lost Chapters" portion. There is definitely additional content, scattered throughout the story as well as an extra set of quests after the end of the original game. While I don't think this extra content justifies a full-price purchase if you already own the first game, spending $20 at this point to get the updated version isn't a terrible idea, and if you don't own either, you definitely want to go with the Lost Chapters version, if only because it's simply a better economic decision. The additional 2-5 hours you'll spend playing the added pieces of the game for essentially the same price as the original is obviously worth it.

Overall, the Fable entity as a whole is a nice basis for a sequel (the upcoming but still a ways off Fable 2), for which I'm pretty excited. Fable 2 sounds like it will have greater player immersion, and hopefully they will have really deepened the impact of "good" and "evil" decisions throughout the game.

And if you're wondering, yes, I only play games that have been out at least a year. I'm still enjoying NCAA Football '05 and Madden '05.

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