|Fable: The Lost Chapters|
April 4, 2006 | Ian Beck
There may be a small number of people who are not excited to hear that Feral Interactive is bringing Fable: The Lost Chapters to the Mac. And for these people I am sad, because they are either missing out on the things that make RPGs great, or have been living in a cave.
When Fable came out on the XBox in 2004, it made a splash. Critics and players alike loved the fact that you were able to take the main character from childhood straight up to old age, complete with scars from past battles and physical changes based everything from what skills you develop to your diet. The main character, the world around him, and the people he interacted with all changed depending on the choices of the player. Fable: The Lost Chapters brings the game to PCs (and in the near future, Macs), adding loads of extra content and quests at the same time.
When you come right down to it, the options afforded for your creation of a unique hero in the land of Albion are pretty spectacular and varied, and it is this that makes Fable great. After all, in what other game can you choose to be a gay, cross-dressing chicken chaser? To answer my own rhetorical question, not many. And the ones that do allow that sort of thing aren't sold in stores that reputable people visit.
It's rather difficult to describe Fable: TLC's basic premise. While there is certainly a central storyline, it's tricky to describe without major spoilers. In a way, the premise might be most accurately summed up in a simple imperative: go forth and make of yourself what you will.
Fable: TLC takes place in the kingdom of Albion, a relatively small kingdom but one with a rich history of heroes. Of course, none of this matters when you first start the game, because things start out quite small: you are a young boy, trying to find a way to buy his sister a birthday present.
It is here in your hometown of Oakvale that you will first encounter the kinds of moral decisions that will shape your course throughout the game. Do you side with the bully and steal an innocent's lunch money, or drive the bully away and get a small reward from your father for the good deed? Whatever your choice in this and other situations, word will travel quickly, and should you choose to be mischievous villagers may begin to look at you funny and guards to watch your every move. What's great is that this is but a taste of what is to come.
All too soon, however, innocence is shattered and your childhood ends in fire and blood, and you take refuge in Albion's Hero's Guild, there to forge your destiny.
Fable: TLC is at the most superficial level a fairly straight-forward action-RPG. Combat is real-time and involves using a combination of defense to block or roll out of the way of opponent's attacks, spells, and arrows and offensive attacks with your equipped weapon, coupled with spells or, if the enemies are a safe distance away, archery. Quests are offered by the Hero's Guild, and generally follow fairly standard RPG patterns (fight to area X, fetch item Y, kill leader Z, etc.). There are a few puzzles, but nothing terribly taxing.
But that's about as far as Fable: TLC can be described as "standard." To this classic RPG formula Fable brings a slew of innovative changes and tweaks, making it quite possibly the most immersive single player role playing experience to be created to date.