Fable - game review
For four years, the atmosphere around this game was constantly turned up. Over time, Fable became known as the coming revolution. It finally got its final form. However, it went without all the miracles that we were to witness.
This title was to be the next generation cRPG. So let me say bluntly that the work that was created is a good, craft job, but the vast majority of the exquisite new solutions that Fable was supposed to stand out from the crowd, got lost somewhere along the way. I think that this situation is best described by the words: "sweetheart's promise, and joy to the stupid." I think we were counting on too much. Nevertheless, we got a product worth recommending. Fable now has to be placed on the shelf next to such titles as GTA 3 , Morrowind or even Thief: Deadly Shadows . All of them give you the opportunity to experience some of the impressions that the games of the future will evoke in us. However, unlike them, Fable is very addictive. We start with anxiety before taking it, go through the states of limitless happiness, and end in total paranoia.
We start our adventure in a small town of Oakvale located in the southern part of the fantastic world of Albion. We meet our hero as a young boy who leads an idyllic life with his family, unaware of his destiny. It soon turns out that he is not destined for a quiet life at some end of the world. The period of carefree childhood ends with the murder of all the town's inhabitants by bandits. Our hero survives only by a miracle. A mysterious mage in the area will teleport him to the Heroes' Guild. Here, too, our young man grows up at an accelerated pace, undergoes appropriate training to become a certified hero who will avenge his loved ones. Just passing the exams that test our abilities and we are entering the mainstream of the game. It's all very simple and fun, but at first we're a bit lost in it. The plot of the main plot is as simple as a wire from the very beginning. We know the scheme on which it is based by heart from other games. Everything is painfully predictable. Until we start to fear if everything is alright. Suddenly, it turns out that the core of the game is relatively short - it consists of only twenty-two tasks that you need to complete to complete the game. It's very little ...
But we don't give up so easily. After all, the story is not always as important as it seems. The heart of the entertainment here lies in something else. Fable can be compared especially to two productions: Gothic (PC) and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GCN). Both of the mentioned titles were arcade role-playing games. The way of showing their interaction with the game world was reminiscent of participating in a theatrical performance. After all, our hero could only play one role there, which the creators had prepared for us. Fable goes a step further in this respect. Here, the number of paths we can take cannot be calculated in our right mind. Each decision changes the course of our adventure. Computer controlled NPCs do remember our previous actions. Each choice makes us balance between choosing the role of a bad or a good hero. Fable offers a fairly free approach to the development of our character, and thus to the entire game world. We slowly begin to get involved in it.
Okay, we left the final exam at the Heroes' Guild unscathed and we can enjoy total freedom. First of all, in the Guild, we choose the next orders that lead us to the end of the main storyline. A great thing is the possibility of making the task even more difficult, e.g. by bragging that we will do it by fighting only with fists, without clothes or without taking any injuries. If we fulfill our promise, we will earn more money and experience. Otherwise, of course, we will lose the pledged money. Sometimes, in order for a task to be fully recognized, we have to show a sufficient number of people with a trophy won in a fight against a powerful opponent. In addition, when executing the order, useful measures appear on the screen, informing us about how much time is left for its execution, or how much energy the characters escorted by us have.
Another thing are side quests that can be obtained from the characters you meet. But not only, because in many places there are ... demonic doors that will open only after we complete the challenges thrown by them. Anyway, here each task can be done in many different ways - it all depends only on what ideas come to our minds. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the vast majority of tasks do not pose any real challenges. Of course, there is a novel option to make them more difficult, but I'm not sure every player like me will be content with this.
Over time, however, we discover that Fable is not just another foray into glory. It is also allowing us to do whatever we like. The game surprises us with something new all the time, until at some point it captivates us with its love. We can, for example, defend people in the name of good, in order to gain respect on their part. We are also able to disturb them in their daily activities so that they will hate us. The freedom of action in the game world is huge. We can also enjoy the life of an average inhabitant without any problems; it is enough to buy a house or a shop, set up your own pub, settle down and finally win the hearts of many women (or men, because such an option is available), enjoy the charms of marriage and breed children. If that's not enough, you can hire bodyguards, play in a tavern (various mini-games), go fishing, fight in special boxing tournaments or gossip on all sides and see how people react. Almost nothing stands in the way of ruthlessly killing anyone who annoys us, smashing objects belonging to someone or searching private apartments with undisguised curiosity! Of course, people react to our every action. Their reactions are ironic to the point of exaggeration to those we know from everyday reality.
Additionally, how people perceive us is influenced by the appearance of our hero. Clothes differ in terms of their attractiveness and the level of fear they arouse. At specialists, we can also change our hairstyle, mustache or beard. On top of that, add a scary tattoo so that others can see from a distance who they are dealing with. Either way - if we get praise for our actions, over time we gain an angelic halo over our heads, and people turn to us with kindness. And when we hate the world, we receive devil's horns, and ordinary inhabitants run away in panic when they see us. The nature of the game changes dramatically in such cases. Returning to the previous course of action is not that easy, so it's better to try the game twice.
But let's not forget that Fable is just a video game. So you need to take a closer look at how it functions. For starters, it's worth saying that everything at Fable is solved in a simple and logical way. Let's start with the development of our hero. We gain experience points in two ways. The first is to collect green balls that are left behind by your enemies. Then we divide them into three main branches, i.e. strength, dexterity and willpower (the magic here). Each of them consists of smaller parts. As a result, points can be converted into a whole lot of skills for practical use. The value of each of them can be increased up to seven times! It already takes more time with Fable to check them all than expected in the main quest. The second method is to simply use weapons and spells. Either way, each enhancement of our character's attributes also affects the appearance of our hero. So we can both create a huge packer and a slim intellectual.
Another thing is martial art. In the world of Albion, her mastery is essential to our survival. This element has been solved in an arcade way, as evidenced by all these special effects, various blows that we can inflict - the ubiquitous blood. The controls have been solved very simply and learning it takes only a few minutes. Our character can use melee weapons (swords, axes, clubs, hammers, clubs, etc.) and long-distance weapons (crossbows, bows). Each weapon comes in different variants. Many of them also have special slots in which you can place magic crystals that improve weapon statistics. In skirmishes, we can lock the camera on a given character in order to efficiently parry blows, use dodges and perform combined techniques (combos). In addition, there is also the multiplier indicator, which, when charged, allows you to deliver a series of unblockable blows. Firing weapons are especially good against slower enemies. You can also zoom the camera in to get a better hit. Finally, willpower, i.e. spells - they are the most visually effective and also delight with their effectiveness. They are divided into three groups: offensive (e.g. fireball, lightning), defensive (e.g. slowing down, summoning, pushing back) and mental (e.g. healing, shield, berserk). To use willpower, you need magical energy, which regenerates automatically over time and by drinking the right bottles.
In addition, you have to combine during fights, because some opponents are immune to damage dealt by a given type of weapon or spell. At this point, it turns out that the game interface fails especially when we want to change something quickly. Especially that having several different sets of weapons for different enemies is even recommended here. Not only that - the characters of NPCs, when they see monsters murdering people, depending on their disposition, can throw themselves to their neighbors to rescue. Sometimes completely random characters support us with their strength in skirmishes. It is so pleasant that it makes us even more convinced that this world has a life of its own to some extent.
In Fable , we move around the game world almost all the time, so you need to take a closer look at this element as well. Merchants and adventurers like us also wander on the roads we travel between locations. Contrary to the great Morrowind , the deviation from the top-down paths is marginal. Anyway, comparing both of these games, at least in terms of the size of the land in which we are located, does not make any special sense, because Albion consists of only a few dozen specific places, which, compared to Morrowind, can be treated as a good joke on the part of programmers. However, such a comparison allows us to shake off the addiction we got into. Suddenly it turns out that Fable is not a perfect game. The passages between locations are sometimes very unpredictable. Just like in a nightmare - in the middle of the day we run along the path leading through the bustling plain and suddenly fall into the middle of a dense and dead forest, where sunlight falls in negligible amounts. It doesn't really beat the eyes with realism, does it? Some may consider it a plus for the atmosphere of the game. As you can see, the creators even prepared a rather suggestive way to show us that not everything is as great as we would like.
Slowly, we literally begin to doubt what we see. The graphic design initially suggests that everything is like in a fairy tale here. Compared to our gray reality - totally crazy. The places we visit are so specific that they are easily remembered. The richness of colors is striking from every side - it's hard to break away from every detail. The grass moves freely in the wind, the leaves fall from the trees, the water ripples, butterflies and birds fly in the air, the times of the day change, and the behavior of the people of Albion with them. Added to this are the great effects of flares and shadow play ... It's hard to break away from this virtual land, it's scary to play with all these charms by simply pressing the "power" button on the console. However, with time, we notice that the textures are a bit underdeveloped here and there, and the smoothness of the animation decreases when all this splendor attacks us. And the inhabitants are kind of identical, and the artificial grimaces on their faces are rather not overwhelming with diversity.
The sound effects are quite realistic, but there were some mistakes too. The sounds that mimic blows or gun shots, birds singing, or the hum in a given environment - these are excellent. More than once, from a distance, we can easily recognize where we are going to end up. The characters speak clearly, but somehow their speech is not very memorable. Our hero is almost constantly silent. It is really a very interesting life attitude. So that at least in some other way he showed his emotions, and nothing here. In addition, dialogues have many phrases repeated ad nauseam. The only thing that saves the situation is the perfect music that perfectly matches what is happening on the screen.
At the end of it all, we feel paranoid. And yet it was so fun. I played all the time, everything was so simple and easy to listen to. Suddenly everything breaks down. I will not say that you can complain about monotony or short fun. Nothing like that. Fable is an extremely honey production that is hard to break away from - it couldn't be otherwise. After playing for a long time, however, you can come to a slightly perverse conclusion. Fable was constructed in such a way that it is hard to fault this game in its general concept. For example the already mentioned passages between locations. The conclusion is obvious - the change of the title of the game was probably not accidental. Project Ego , as if to get stuck, it evoked associations with a certain level of human personality which, by regulating our demands, is to keep the body alive and healthy. The problem was that when production lost the mark of an impending miracle, it was necessary to prevent any bad effects that might arise. The ego of many a player would waver at the thought that he got something below his expectations. A surefire state of frustration. However, someone noticed that the name Fable would fit perfectly. The excessive promises that were to appear in the game can now be put in fairy tales and not come back to them at all. And everything that is poorly made here can be brought under the representation of a fairy-tale world. As a result, we get a state of paranoia. Everything is fine, and we still want more. Fable is not able to meet our expectations in the long run.
Andrzej "Klecha" Klimczuk