Tag Archive: lionhead

The stuff legends are made of

Fable fans have waited three years for a proper return to Albion, and they’ll finally get a chance with Fable Legends, which I got to see firsthand on the Gamescom show floor.

Keep in mind, however, that what I saw simply scratched the surface. By the sounds of it, Legends is far from anywhere near complete. If I had to hazard a professional guess, a holiday 2014 release date would be optimistic at this point.

From what I was able to gather from the reveal—as well as a 10-minute demo further illustrating basic game mechanics—Legends will be a throwback to the era of the original Fable, where heroes were plentiful and it seemed that almost anyone could channel strength, skill, or will. Unlike heroes of the past games, however, players will choose from one of several pre-determined warriors who specialize in one of these three pillars of Fable combat. This is a drastic shift away from the customization for which Fable is known, and even if you’re able to create your characters, limiting their abilities might make longtime fans wary.

The major reason for shifting away from one-size-fits-all characters? Legends is designed around four-player co-op. Either with three friends, three AI characters, or a mix of the two, players will always be traveling with a pack of heroes in order to quell the coming threats to Albion.

Whether these quests will be individual adventures or be part of an overarching story is yet to be seen, but I think the latter’s less likely. A level-summary screen popped up at certain points in the demo, which seems to indicate that each specific quest will stand on its own. This would also fit the idea of players taking on a collection of legends from Albion’s past instead of going on a new adventure with semi-fleshed-out characters.

Not everything will be foreign to returning players in Legends, though. The game will still feature a central town that will host the same manner of minigames that have become staples of Fable, such as blacksmithing or chicken-kicking. It’s not clear yet whether this will serve as a hub world where you can recruit other heroes on your adventuring ways, almost like a MMO.

But it’s not all about being a hero—a unique gameplay twist in Legends is that players can now choose to be the villain. This core evildoer will look at the game from a RTS perspective and plant Hobbes, Balverines, and other manner of foes in the heroes’ way and will gain XP and gold depending on how well their defenses hamper the heroes’ progress.

As much as Fable Legends worries me in regards to story, gameplay, and every other key feature, I’ll admit that it does looks really nice on the Xbox One. The demo provided a level of detail on my favorite fantastical creatures like never before—and, if nothing else, Lionhead has shown that they can definitely tap into the power of Microsoft’s upcoming console. Since the game’s still more than likely at least another 18 months out, there’s plenty of time for Lionhead to work out the kinks. That’s the Microsoft way now, after all, isn’t it?

The longest journey begins with a single step

There are a lot of great Kinect games out there—exercise games, dancing games, even some iOS ports—but the hardcore audience is sorely underrepresented on the peripheral. Long have the hardcore waited for a game for the Kinect that could give them an experience similar to what they would get with a controller in terms of enjoyment. And I think, finally, they may have found one in Fable: The Journey.

Fable: The Journey is set 10 years after the end of Fable III. The hero of Fable III went missing a few years prior; Albion is in shambles because of it, as those who would prey on the weak have gone unchecked and an ancient evil has begun to sow it seeds once again. As chaos reigns in the cities of Albion, though, a group of nomads who skirt along the edges of the countryside avoid most of the insanity by keeping to themselves and taking care of each other. Here, among this group of wanderers, players take control of Gabriel, the slacker of this cabal with his head in the clouds who dreams of the days when there were still heroes. Little does he know that his dreams are about to become a reality…

After becoming separated from the caravan when he oversleeps, Gabriel soon finds himself on the most epic of journeys in order to get back to the only family he’s ever really known. Shortly after he starts his trek, though, he picks up a certain blind hitchhiker along the way who reveals to him that the old age of heroes, where they were born, is dead and that a new age of heroes, where they are made, is about to begin.

The most impressive thing about this game—and this should please Fable fans tremendously—is the story. By adding a new take on the original three Fable games’ story, as Theresa tells things from her point of view along the way, you see now how they all tie together as the story progresses. This brings closure to the last few loose ends of those great tales while also setting the foundation for a brand-new epic down the line. With tremendous voice acting, a script that maintains a dark humor throughout, and a plot that’s more than worthy of the original trilogy, Fable: The Journey’s story will suck in fans of the franchise and won’t let them go.

A great story cannot cover up this game ‘s fatal flaw, though. Unfortunately, like the few other Kinect hardcore games, when you boil Fable: The Journey’s gameplay down to its foundations, it’s really just an on-rails arcade shooter that you control with your hands. You’re forcibly dragged through a large chunk of Albion on your cart, pulled by your lovable horse Seren, and it can understandably get tedious at times, especially when the humorous banter of Theresa and Gabriel dries up. There are some mini-games that break it up occasionally, but even these can become repetitive and after a while. All you really want to do is get as quickly as possible to the next area where you blast franchise mainstay bad guys likes Balverines, Hollow Men, and Hobbes, as well as a few new bad guys produced by the Corruption exclusively for this game.

Aside from the repetitiveness, though, this really is one of the more polished Kinect games out there. The sensor actually picks up your arms when you try to throw fireballs or perform any of the other spells Gabriel learns along his adventure, which, if you play with the Kinect with any sort of regularity, you know is a big accomplishment. There is also some replayability to the game with a full-blown arcade mode alongside the main campaign where you can play through certain segments of each level again and attempt to hit high scores and chain together combos. Combine all this with graphics that just might make this the best looking Fable game yet, and all I can is that if you’re a Fable fan with Kinect, The Journey is a must-have.

SUMMARY: A great story that Fable fans will absolutely eat up, but some long stretches of lonely road keep this from being an absolute must-have for every Kinect owner.

  • THE GOOD: The deepest, most complete story for a hardcore Kinect game yet.
  • THE BAD: Riding in a caravan is about as much fun as you’d think…as in, not fun at all.
  • THE UGLY: Everything the Corruption touches.

SCORE: 9.0

Fable: The Journey is an Xbox 360 exclusive. 

Originally Published: February 24, 2010, on youtube.com/RCars4885

Many of you are aware that I just moved back home to New Jersey and most people take that time to look at things as they pack them up. Some look at picture albums, I look at old tapes. Back in August I interviewed Peter Molyneux in anticipation of Fable 3 and for length purposes, had to cut out a segment where we talked about Milo and Kinect. Now, we’ve taken what hit the cutting room floor and decided to share it with you. Edited by Taylor Tallscott.

Originally Published: November 22, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com and NationalLampoon.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed the first major DLC for Xbox 360’s Fable III. The Understone DLC reveals a brand new area under the streets of Bowerstone for you to explore with many new quests.

Originally Published: November 10, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed the original Fable for the Xbox from Lionhead Studios.

Originally Published: October 26, 2010, on NationalLampoon.com and ClassicGameRoom.com

As a part of CGR Undertow, I was able to review Fable III for the Xbox 360 from Lionhead Studios.

Originally Published: October 6, 2010, on ClassicGameRoom.com

CGR Undertow and I present a review of Fable 2 for the Xbox 360 as we prepare for the release of Fable 3 later this month!