Peter Molyneux has made quite a name for himself in the game industry. He is extremely passionate and enthusiastic about the games that he makes and sometimes in press interviews that enthusiasm can cause him to get a bit carried away and promise things that eventually turn out to be just too ambitious. He is on record saying that Fable would be "the greatest RPG ever made" way back when it was still in development. Many gamers got swept up in this hype and as a result came away feeling rather disappointed when the game was finally released. However, it is still most definitely an excellent game and one that should be played.
The game takes place in the world of Albion and the first few hours of the game take place during the childhood years of your character. You are charged by your father to go out and earn some money to buy your little sister a birthday present, and you can do this either by performing good deeds and helping out the villagers, or by more nefarious means. As the game progresses the appearance of your character will be affected by your decisions, if you're a goody goody you will have a heroic look, if you are a complete bastard to everyone you meet you will take on a more sinister aspect. After your task is complete the village is attacked and razed to the ground, but you are rescued and taken away to the Heroes Guild, where you are given training in the various means of combat - melee, archery and magic.
After this is complete it is time to venture out into the wide world and either carry on with the storyline and complete the game in a fairly short amount of time, or thoroughly explore the world, taking on every side quest, buying property, getting married, fighting in the arena and much more. Combat is fun and fast paced, with you being able to quickly move between melee, archery and magic attacks at the press of a button. Again, the amount you use each technique effects the development of your character.
The graphics in Fable still stand up fairly well today - they are quite cartoony in style with lots of bloom effects in the lighting. The music is also well composed, but some of the voices sound a bit ridiculous, you can definitely tell the game was developed in England with some of the strange accents the NPC's come out with.
Fable can be picked up nice an cheaply today either on the original disc which is 100% compatible with the Xbox 360, or you can download the Xbox Originals version for 1200 Microsoft Points. There was also an expanded version of the game released, Fable: The Lost Chapters, which goes for slightly more money and is the version I recommend getting. It is slightly closer to the original vision that Molyneux had in mind for the game.
Fable 2 is just around the corner and promises to be bigger and better in every way, but for a small price you can check out the original and enjoy an RPG which while quite some way from being the best ever made is still a damn fine game.
Next time: another Gamecube classic!