So to continue my streak of reviewing completely relevant video games, this last week I have been playing Fable. Not even the second or third one, but the first. This game came out in 2004, when I was 12. If it makes it any better, my copy is the extended Lost Chapters version, which came out a year later.
Now the truth is I have played Fable before. As a kid I really liked these games, they were some of my first experiences of an open world situation and I wiled away many a happy hour with both the first and the second. Now, roughly 10 years later, I have returned to them on a whim. I wanted to see if my memories of these games were complete, excuse the joke, fables, or if they are as strong as I remember.
Now if you haven’t played Fable, it’s an open world RPG, which has the central gimmick of a morality system. While these are quite common now a days, Fable was the first game I ever experienced it in. The central story is hardly revolutionary, a young boy’s family and town is burnt to the ground, but he is saved by a hero called Maze who takes him to the Hero’s Guild, where he is raised to be a hero and eventually sent down the path of discovering as to why his town was destroyed so many years ago.
Now on my own play through I went evil, obviously, and it has to be said the morality system is hardly complex. It tends to come down to siding with either the bandits or the guards or choosing to kill or show mercy. However, I think most games out now, that have a similar system, continue to go down these well worn paths, so that is maybe not surprising. What was more surprising, is how little of an open world this game truly is. It’s an open world in the sense that you can wander from town to town at will, but it’s also a world that is very much made up of a selection of linear maps. There isn’t the really the freedom to go where you wish, because the game doesn’t let you. Instead you go from area to area, with a loading screen each time, on a very strict path, allowing no freedom to roam.
Outside of this, the combat system is basic and the side quests repetitive and yet I enjoyed going back to Fable. While it is not the prettiest game now a days, it’s art style was more cartoon based and therefore holds up quite well. While the sense of humour that runs through the game did occasionally raise a chuckle. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I will always find the ability to come out of a serious cut scene where you have murdered someone and have the option to press a button to fart funny. Maybe that says more about me than the game.
I would by no means suggest that Fable is a game you must run back to. If anything I think the second was probably vastly superior, although I will have to play it myself again to verify that. I did however discover that even underneath the nostalgia, there is a fun game there and the last week of playing of it has been incredibly enjoyable because of that.