Fable: The Journey - Preview

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Release Date: 27/09/2012

Fable The Journey on Xbox 360 at GAME

Fable Transformed

Developed by series creator Lionhead, Fable: The Journey is an action role-playing Fable game - but not as we know it in the open world sense. There are plenty of familiar elements such as spells and moral predicaments as you develop a protagonist in the fantasy nation of Albion, but the title has been built from the ground up for Kinect and its motion control nature dramatically impacts the gameplay.

In the place of the open world freedom older Fables afford, The Journey offers a combination of more tightly controlled horse-drawn exploration and on-foot action. To series veterans this reworking of the structure will take plenty of adjustment, as the inability to freely explore the gorgeous world is initially a little frustrating.

Set 50 years after the events of Fable III, you take control of Gabriel, a young member of the roving Dweller tribe. As the game begins the Dwellers are making their way to Albion's capital Bowerstone, but Gabriel gets separated from his convoy by a mysterious lightning storm which forces him to take the long way round via mountain roads, forests, caverns and swamps.

First person Kinect fun in Fable The Journey on Xbox 360 at GAME

On his journey he has a fateful encounter with Theresa, who has served as a guide to the protagonist as well as the custodian of the Fable narrative since the original game. Theresa has been wounded by a formless evil called The Corruption which is threatening to take over Albion, and Gabriel must take her to a magical tower called the Tattered Spire to restore her power.

Horsing Around

The game can be played in its entirety whilst seated, and much of what has been shown off to date takes place on horseback. The horse's reins are flicked using a motion similar to shaking out a towel, which coaxes the animal into a trot. Another flick prompts a gallop and a further one a five-second speed boost which eats into your horse's stamina bar, while you haul back with your left or right hand to steer.

It's simple, responsive and satisfying, but there's a concern that the horseback sections could grow monotonous after a few hours. With this in mind, Lionhead is endeavouring to create a world in which every corner brings something interesting into view. There are people to converse with, enemies to outrun or repel with magic, natural dangers to avoid, and skill orbs to collect which count towards upgrades.

Horse riding and fighting in Albion in Fable The Journey on Xbox 360 at GAME

You'll sometimes leave your wagon armed with a fistful of magic to brave danger-filled dungeons, where caves play home to angry crabs, giant trolls and other enemies. Like the horseback sections the on-foot combat ones are on rails, meaning that while sometimes you can choose which path to follow you're then unable to deviate from a predetermined route and events.

The on-foot gameplay is more challenging than cart-driving but still highly accessible as the motion controls are extremely well designed. The basic goal of combat encounters is to stop enemies reaching the foreground of the screen. To do so you'll use a combination of spells like Push (thrust your left arm forward to fling objects and enemies) and Bolt (thrust forward your right arm to unleash missiles). You can also deploy a shield by raising a hand to your chest, which can be used to block projectiles and rebound attacks.

There's no denying that The Journey is out of tune with prior games in the series, but once you look beyond the shackles Kinect places on exploration and embrace it for what it is, you'll likely agree that it has plenty of potential to become a great contribution to the Fable universe. The Journey doesn't put an entire world in your hands, but it looks set to be a highly accessible title that proves Kinect can play host to accomplished combat and engaging story-driven gameplay in a charming yet simultaneously threatening and mysterious world.

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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.



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