- Platform: Xbox 360/Kinect Required
- Published by: Microsoft Game Studios
- Developed by: Lionhead Studios
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB Rating: T For Teen
- Number of Players: 1
- Release Date: October 9th, 2012
When you hear the word Kinect people usually have mixed feelings on the subject, a lot of people hate on it simply because its popular and doesn’t offer a lot in the way of traditional gaming experience. Some people love it for what it is and have fun with the games regardless of reviews or what other people think. I probably fall in the latter category, I have fun with all types of games and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks but me, because at the end of the day, I’m the one buying the games and playing them. Fable The Journey has had an interesting journey to say the least, it had a disastrous E3 showing a couple of years ago, the game has been mocked and ridiculed to say the least, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect, will the game live up to the lofty creativeness and fun of the other Fable games?
People often worry about the responsiveness of Kinect when it comes to gaming, Fable The Journey worked really well for me and read 95% of my movements, I played the game in three separate four-hour sessions. The only time the game would have trouble reading my movements was towards the end of these sessions when my arms would be pretty tired and I wasn’t clear with my motions, it had nothing to do with Kinect’s accuracy, it was all on me, so if you plan on playing the game you might want to try shorting gaming sessions to avoid arm fatigue, which could lead to inaccurate movements on the screen and the death of your character a few times, which is exactly what happened to me a few times at the end of each gaming session.
I’ve already established that the controls work fine in Fable The Journey, in fact you sometimes get so into the game that you forget that you’re even playing a Kinect game, you’re just playing a Fable game. The world of Albion looks better than ever, the Unreal Engine 3 really makes the scenery and characters come to life, like never before. Even though Fable The Journey isn’t in the numbered series of Fable games, the choices you made in Fable 3 will have an impact on the world around you in this Fable game. Another nice touch is that if you played through Fable Heroes on the Xbox Live Arcade, your money can be imported as well. For some reason these two important features have been left out of any review that I’ve seen, and most of the reviews that I’ve browsed seem like they were written by people who didn’t want to play a Kinect game and just flailed wildly at the sensor, didn’t like the response and wrote accordingly. I think I’ve let it be pretty well-known that I don’t trust certain reviews, especially Kinect reviews, as I’ve had a complete blast playing Kinect titles that were absolutely panned by the so-called critics.
In the game you play as Gabriel, you’ve been separated from your tribe and you come across the blind seer Theresa. It turns out that she needs your help in returning to the Spire. The events of this Fable game are set fifty years after the events of Fable 3, there are a ton of little Easter Eggs and tidbits you come across that were in previous Fable games. Lionhead did a nice job with the continuity of the games and Fable The Journey moves along at a nice clip. The only slowdown that I had was during your traves by horseback. I felt like some of those scenes were repetitive and probably weren’t needed. The entire crux of the game has you helping Theresa avoid dangers and most of this is accomplished in a horse carriage. Your horse is now a huge priority in the game, you can feed it, brush it and take care of it. Lionhead did a nice job of making us feel something for our dog companions in Fable 2 and Fable 3, they do the same thing with the horse companion in Fable The Journey. You will definitely want to treat your horse right and avoid whipping him. The decisions you make throughout the game has a direct impact on your horse, so heed my warnings and treat him nicely.
The big difference with Fable The Journey is that it’s totally first person, and you only use magic, you are able to use magic because you are given magic gauntlets, and in true RPG style you can level up your magic throughout the game. You use your left hand for the tether spells, which let you remove shields from stronger enemies and it allows you to push enemies back if they get too close. You use your right hand for the power spells and when you shake your right hand you activate a fire spell. If you hold your right arm back like you are holding a spear, you activate a spear spell that is quite handy and powerful as well. All the familiar enemies are here, Hollow Men, Hobbs and huge bosses that are a lot of fun to play against. The boss battles can seriously tire you out, some take twenty minutes of constant moving, leaning and spell casting. While the game is on rails, it isn’t totally on rails in a traditional way, you will have the option of paths and can dodge attacks by leaning left or right, which moves your character left or right. If you bring up your arm when an enemy throws a spear at you, you can block their attack, but you have to wait for the red indicator.
At the end of the day this is a solid game and if you are a fan of the Fable games you’ll enjoy yourself, Fable The Journey is definitely the best story driven game that is available for Kinect. We also need to keep in mind that Kinect hasn’t even been on the market for two years yet, Fable The Journey is the game that was in development the longest for the device and it shows. I think there can be really good gaming experiences with Kinect if developers just take the time that Lionhead did. I’ll always love the traditional Fable series best, but this Kinect enabled version will tide me over until the Xbox 720 releases and we see a Fable 4. Fable The Journey isn’t flawless by any means, but it just might be the best Kinect game out to date, it’s a step in the right direction and it offers a more traditional game, which is what some people have been waiting for. Fable The Journey works, it looks great, has a fantastic story with a really amazing payoff at the end, it’s around 12-14 hours long and you really do get lost in the beautiful world of Albion. I highly recommend it to every Kinect owner or Fable fan.