Fable The Lost Chapters ReviewCain Dornan
Lionhead Studios magical world of Fable first graced the Xbox just over a year ago, both impressing and disappointing many gamers. While the game certainly offered its very own, unique and thoroughly engaging world, the complete absence of select hyped features and a disappointingly short main quest resulted in many gamers growing tired of the highly anticipated title quickly. While those who managed to enjoy the pleasing variety of side quests and explore every nook and cranny of Fable were likely pleased, there was no mistaking that the game wasnt quite as full as one would hope.
Moving to amend this problem was Lionhead Studios announcement that the game would be receiving a makeover for the PC. This instantly sparked anger amongst the Xbox community, as many gamers felt that they had been cheated by not receiving a game that was originally expected. Succumbing to the demands of Xbox gamers worldwide, Lionhead has now decided to ship Fable: The Lost Chapters to the Xbox, sporting new side missions, a bonus area and a handful of new clothing and weapons.
Just like the original Fable, The Lost Chapters puts you into the role of a young boy who is orphaned after his village was savagely attacked by bandits; looting and slaying the innocent residents and causing the boys family to go missing. Luckily, you are rescued by a kind-hearted soul who whisks you away to a training guild, where you learn the many arts of combat and soon set out on your own quest of either good or evil.
As Im sure you are aware by now, one of the key selling point of Fable is the distinct good or evil attributes that affect your character with each decision made. Will you save a group of defenseless merchants from being attacked by bandits, or will you turn on the merchants and slaughter them to gain additional money and skill points? The decision that you make in such a situation will affect the appearance of your character and the opinion of those around you. If you continue to do evil deeds, your character will soon sprout devilish horns and blood-red eyes. If you do good, youll begin to grow a lovely aurora around you and even have a halo appear above your head. Your appearance and renown, which is earned by how you go about your business, eventually affects those around you. Villagers will scream and run if you have a bad reputation, while a good reputation will have the villagers following you around applauding you.
The good/bad personalities also extend into both the main and side quests that are on offer. Some quests have a good side or bad side, such as one that involves a group of bandits attempting to steal a precious stone from an orchard farm. You can choose to either team-up with the guards and protect the stone from being stolen, or you can side with the bandits and steal the stone to earn a larger sum of money. Youll also come across large talking doors who will only let you through if you meet a certain criteria, many of which revolve around your reputation and good/bad status. To allow passing through these doors without spending several hours altering your personality, the inclusion of a good and bad temple allows you to quickly change your status from good to bad and vice-versa for a generous donation, of course.
To further show your personality, a large range of different gestures are on offer, including some humorous new additions that make a debut in The Lost Chapters. These gestures range from apologies through to insults, as well as a collection of random ones that will vary the response depending on the person who views the gesture. While these gestures largely unaffected your quest, they are a fun little addition that will likely amuse you with the various responses that you will receive from those around you.
Fable sticks true to the traditional role playing game by allowing you to gather a healthy collection of weapons, clothing and items. While these items can be easily bought from the merchants that fill the townships, you can also retrieve such items throughout the world by killing enemies, unlocking chests or even finding them scattered across the ground.
Fables storyline is told through a combination of in-game cutscenes or through artistically created and narrated drawing stills that explain the main progress of the game at key points. The clean presentation is also present whilst in-game, as Fables world and characters are truly spectacular. Each character that you meet offers their own distinctive voice, appearance and personality, although, there are some re-used village personalities used in townships. Characters and many environments offer a soft glow that is visually spectacular, further melding the games appearance into the unique gameplay world.
For those who have played the original Fable, these facts are all well known. Im sure you are interested in learning of new additions in Fable: The Lost Chapters, and whether these new additions make the game a worthwhile purchase. While the game does feel slightly more fleshed-out over the original version, there are still only a limited number of new additions that do little in further expanding the overall experience for those who have already played through the original. If you have not played the original, then The Lost Chapters is, by all means, a worthwhile purchase. If you have, however, you need to honestly ask yourself whether you are willing to play through an experience that is largely the same again, as the new inclusions do not provide an entirely new experience.
One of the most noticeable new inclusions in Fable: The Lost Chapters is a rather small new area, which revolves around a prostitute house where you can purchase the pleasures of women for a sum of money. This isnt the main purposes of this area, however, as you are soon be given the choice between good or evil as you endeavor to either save the prostitutes from their slavery or by continuing to make them to work for you as you reap the monetary benefits of their unfortunate work. The new area offers around an hour of gameplay, which may feel as a waste of time for those who have played the original, as plowing through hours of old gameplay to simply enjoy an extra hour of new gameplay does feel somewhat disappointing.
Accompanying the new area is the inclusion of additional side quests, which usually involve performing an action for someone you come across. The game is also said to offer new weapons, however, such new weapons are barely noticeable and contribute little to the overall experience.
Fable: The Lost Chapters presentation reeks with beauty and uniqueness, as the style of presentation that is used is absent from any other game that I have experienced. The games music and graphics blend seamlessly together, providing a thoroughly pleasing and engrossing experience that contributes to the games solid gameplay heavily. Characters offer brilliant detail that is only hindered by some awkward animation that causes characters to occasionally move with stiff movements.
Fable: The Lost Chapters is a brilliant title that provides a slightly fuller offering than the original. While those who have played through the original may find little of interest in this slightly expanded version, gamers who have yet to fully appreciated the Fable world are urged to checkout this splendid RPG experience.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.