Fable: The Lost Chapters Review
Fable: The Lost Chapters is not a sequel to Fable or even an expansion pack. It is an Xbox version of the PC version of the original Xbox game. Got all that? Basically when the game made its move to the PC from the Xbox some new content was added in the form of additional quests. This extended version of the game was then brought back to the Xbox as The Lost Chapters and added to the system’s Platinum Hits lineup of discounted games. So what does this all mean to you? Well if you’ve played the original Fable then there’s not enough new here to justify the purchase of the game, especially since you can’t import your prior character and will have to start the game over again from scratch. If you missed Fable the first time around, though, this is a great opportunity for you to pick up a great game at a good price with the added bonus of more play time then you get with the original game.
Fable is essentially an action-RPG, but it is not typical of games of this genre. Central to the game is the philosophy that you as a person are defined by your actions. Throughout the game you’ll be faced with moral decisions – do you protect some merchants from attack as they move through some dangerous woods or do you slay then and steal their goods? do you take a bribe to keep a cheating husband’s secret or do you tell his spouse about his transgressions? – and the choice you make has a lasting effect on your character. Follow the path of evil and you’ll grow sinister in appearance and people will shy away from you or outright cower in fear. Choose the high road and you’ll eventually have a glow about you, butterflies will flutter after you, and villagers will call out your name and cheer you as you walk by. Picking a path and sticking with it is not very difficult to do as the consequence of each decision is pretty obvious (when is killing a merchant and stealing his gold ever the “good” choice?), but it’s a very cool feature that allows you to see the consequences of your actions and how they affect the way in which the world perceives you.
Fable eschews the traditional class-based RPG model and instead lets you pursue the skills that you find the most useful. Settle most of your battles with the sword and you’ll naturally become an adept fighter. Rely on magic instead and you’ll grow into a powerful sorcerer. The real beauty in the classless system lies in the fact that you can blend and tailor your skills to become any type of character that you want. Spend most of your time with a sword in hand but dabble in magic and you can become a spell-casting fighter. Or concentrate on your archery skills while avoiding other types of contact and you make yourself into a ninja-like assassin. It’s all up to you. And just as your moral choices affect your appearance so do your skill choices. Fighters will become stronger and reflect this in their bulging muscles. Magic users’ fingers will crackle with electricity and the magic will take its toll by making them look old beyond their years.
Your appearance can also be changed by the armor and clothing that you wear, but in addition you can choose and change your hairstyle, facial hair, and even add some tattoos. Each hairstyle or article of clothing has an effect on your overall attractiveness and this can affect how certain NPCs in the game react to you. Overall these appearance changes don’t have a great impact on gameplay, but it can be fun to try out some different looks and see how the locals react.