Fable: the Journey Review
It’s common knowledge that most Kinect games are just simple gimmicks and are simply filled with disappointment. You are the controller, the catchy slogan that Kinect brought to the masses, giving us all hope that we’d be able to do more than just jump around our living rooms like crazy primates. Thankfully though Lionhead Studios have worked some serious magic and have managed to create a game that we’ve all been waiting for, that first amazing Kinect game.
Fable: The Journey is set fifty years after the events of Fable 3 and unfortunately isn’t a sequel to the previous games. I’ve always been hoping that we’d receive another Fable game that carried on from previous installments, but fear not, as The Journey is one of the best Fable games yet!
Fans of the series are treated to something they’ll be used to in the game, as the story remains quirky, fun, and full of peril much like in the older games. You play as a great protagonist in Gabriel, a young dweller of Albion, but sadly he’s not having the best of days. Having fallen asleep at the reigns of his faithful horse, he’s managed to get left behind by his tribe with no way of getting back to them, not without going on a huge quest first that is! As you follow Gabriel on his journey, you’ll encounter terrifying monsters, powerful magic, and a host of hilarious characters along the way, making for an all-around amazing world for the game to be set.
The Journey is full of great memorable characters, and that’s always been something we’ve loved about the Fable series. The Protagonist Gabriel is a young, witty, and awfully funny character who you’ll love to control. More importantly though, Theresa is back, voiced by British actress Zoe Wannamaker (you’ll likely remember Theresa from all the previous games!). There are certainly no shortages of great voice work to go along with these characters either, and it all makes for a phenomenally immersible world.
As you progress through your journey you’ll likely find yourself partaking in one of two activities for the most part of the campaign. You’ll either be riding around in your horse pulled cart traveling from destination to destination or taking on various enemies who stand in your way of finding your tribe using the power of magic. Sadly, while it all feels extremely fun to start, it can often get extremely tedious and feel like you’re constantly doing the same thing. All is not lost though, as the game incorporates a great upgrade system, helping to cure the tedious feeling of performing the same tasks. You’ll receive experience from killing your foes, too collecting orbs while riding around, and all can be used to upgrade various different abilities. Luckily, once you upgrade your horse or your magic, the game feels fun again as it all feels a little different, and luckily upgrades are spaced far enough apart for it to keep you interested all the way to the end. Certainly a clever way to hide some of the repetitiveness of the game!
The game looks absolutely amazing, and has that great Fable look we’ve all came to know and love. All of the environments and character models look very polished, and there are plenty of different looking areas to travel through. Not only do the environments look great, but they are interactive as well and can be used to give a whole new dimension to the games combat. From using rocks from the ceiling to block holes that huge ferocious bugs are crawling from, to throwing exploding barrels at your enemy, there’s no shortage of different ways to keep the combat original and fun.
The Journey is sadly a very linear journey, with little to no room for any kind of exploration as you’re pretty much on rails the whole time. There’s no doubt that this was to be expected though, and there’s plenty of fun going for this not to be a huge problem. Fans who are expecting a previous fable game should be aware of this though! If you’re riding around in your horse and cart, you only ever have one set track, and can’t even turn backwards if you’ve missed something. Luckily though, the game does incorporate optional stops during your travels, which are marked by a glowing circle on the floor. These stops allow a nice break in travelling, and can contain a chest with treasure, a puzzle to complete, or an enemy to kill.
The controls feel incredibly responsive no matter that kind of activity you are performing in the game, and thankfully can be played sitting down (If you’re as lazy as me, this is amazing news!). The combat is really complex, but very easy to learn thanks to a great tutorial, and always feels fun when your flinging spells at your enemies. You’ll start off with only a few spells, but as you upgrade you’ll have a whole arsenal, having to move your hands in various ways to perform different spells. Imagine throwing a hobbe up into the air, then blasting him with powerful magic ending his life before he even hits the floor. There’s no shortage of interesting combat to be had in this game, and is definitely the main selling point. I never had a single problem with the Kinect picking up what spell I wanted to use, and this is an incredible achievement.
Overall, this game is definitely worth buying, and we’re so glad that a game has finally been created for Kinect that feels truly like a game and not like a huge gimmick. Fable: The Journey is also surprisingly long as well, with around 8-10 hours of gameplay, which we think is amazing for a Kinect game (we recommend more than one sitting though, as your arms are going to hurt!). So if you’re a fan of fable, or you’re just looking for a reason to dust of your Kinect, then you could go much worse than picking up Fable: The Journey.