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Retro Games: Fable - The Lost Chapters

by: Daniel Barros ; edited by: M.S. Smith ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

With the advent of Fable 2 in just three weeks - we thought it'd be interesting to take a look at how the series made the jump to the PC. Is it still relevant in a world where graphics have evolved so much? Find out inside.

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    Good and Evil

    In 2004, Lionhead studios released - a game for the Xbox called Fable. It was, until recently, Peter Molyneux's magnum opus. A year later, in 2005, Lionhead re-released the game, along with an expansion, all bundled together for the PC, a collection called Fable - The Lost Chapters.

    What exactly is Fable? Fable allows you to go anywhere and do anything within the confines of your own morality (or such was the hype surrounding the game prior to its release). The story involves a boy whose village is razed by a group of marauders - losing his family and friends, the boy is sent to an academy to learn how to fight against the forces of evil. However, from the very get-go of the game, you decide what actions you take - therefore, even though throughout the entire game you fight enemies which are archetypically evil, you yourself could technically be more evil than they are.

    The game features some interesting moral decisions, including the ability to take over entire villages economically. What I mean by that is, that if you decide to take the evil path, you can kill all the inhabitants of a city and then purchase their homes, effectively charging new citizens that move in, turning a profit. The game's story is pretty effective at conveying the emotions of the boy as well as of the people around him - apart from all the hype, although the story is a bit on the short side, taken for what it is (and not what it could be), it works.

    Something interesting happens on your first completion of Fable - much like Diablo and other games of that sort, you find yourself wanting to replay it again. Mostly because the evil path and the good path are so distinctly different - as well as the fact that there are three different classes to play as - archer, magician, and warrior (if you don't count inter-mingling between the three) - therefore, the game can be played in about 20 different ways. I myself have replayed it at least 4 times just to see what happens if I make choice A instead of choice B and vice-versa.

    The gameplay is a bit unwieldy, and definitely lacks good fighting mechanics, but they work well within the confines of the game. Magic users will find that by the end of the game, their powers are considerably amped up, and weapons are designed to this effect. The way the gameplay works is as follows: you first start a combo by either using a magic power or by simply beating up (or slicing up) the enemy in question, as your combo meter grows, the amount of experience you receive from individual enemies becomes greater and greater.

    Overall, what has always made Fable work so well is the fact that you can really do most things you set your mind to doing. I remember the first time I let my brother play the game - he walked into Oakvale, the city where the boy grows up, walked into a local store, unsheathed his weapon, killed the shopkeep, evaded the guards, and came back to buy the shop so he could gain income from it. The game works best when you pick a side - being ambivalent usually doesn't work, as the game registers how good or how evil you are in minute points - not to mention that at the very end, what decision you make regarding the final boss will ultimately make you either extremely good or extremely bad.