Fable: The Journey (Xbox 360)

fablethejounreySquareGo asked me to go on a Journey, and for my sins I went.  No, not that sort of journey, the one with the scarves and the sand, that’s been done.
This was a Journey into Fable, the Fable game series to be precise. and witht eh help of Kinect, it’d be a hand and voice activated journey.

Was it a Feeble Fable or a Fabulous Fable?  Read the review here, or the full text below the cut.

Fable: The Journey

Lionhead Studios

2/5

What with Microsoft’s unexpected release of Fable 3 to anyone with an Xbox Live Gold account last month, here at SquareGo, we decided it was time to visit upon the Fable series with the strange and curious oddity that is Fable: The Journey.

This Kinect based game is set in a far more seemingly parochial part of the Kingdom of Albion. Our hero this time is Gabriel, a workshy lad from a tribe of travelling folk.  After being separated from his kinfolk by the collapse of a bridge, Gabriel is forced to traipse all over Albion to reunite with his family.  While doing so, he meets up with Theresa, the blind seer from the Fable main series, who convinces him to don a pair of magical gauntlets and use the magics contained within them.  It’s a nice little story that fits in with the other Fable titles and will pick up on small bits of info from any save games from Fable III or Fable Heroes and give bonuses or minor dialogue changes.

A literal horse’s ass.
A literal horse’s ass.

Our young Gabe doesn’t care much for the trials and tribulations of his daily grind, instead he is a dreamer, who loves to disappear into a good fable, and hear about epic adventures. The one thing he does care about is his trusty horse, Seren.  She’s a gorgeously rendered Clydesdale, which is lucky as the player will spend half the game staring at her tail and hind-quarters as this game is primarily an on-rails ‘caravan-em-up’.

At least half of Fable: The Journey is spent sitting in the front of Gabriel’s caravan, looking out over the back of Seren, as you whip and steer using the reins and the magic of Kinect.  As with all Kinect games, this requires that you sit bolt upright in a chair and not on a sofa, but does seem to work alright.  Whereas the other half you’ll be either tossing firebolts at passing Hobbes or exploring villages, caves, castles and ruins in order to stop the evil Devourer and his evil master from taking over the world with a wave of darkness.

Chatting in the trap
Chatting in the trap

The wave of darkness actually provides some great gaming fun as you steer around pathways at breakneck speed while outrunning a wave of bloody corruption and shadow.  Alternatively there are many segments of frantic battle as minions of darkness attack and are wiped out with ease, before more waves appear.

The short interludes between these chases, and battles are taken up with short calm rides and dialogue, or sections where Gabriel can rub down his horse, and draw water at a well. The rest of the game toddles along at a painfully slow but ultimately realistic rate as you travel across country, and credit has to go to Lionhead for creating a seamless and plausible landscape of progressively changing fauna and terrain.It truly feels like a journey and were this a mini tech demo that’d be amazing.

But it isn’t, this is a short, but realistically sized game.  Where a lot of the time the player is forced to contend with the problems beset with Kinect games. Although it’s not broken, the aiming is awful and more often than not you’ll end up with sore tired arms from frustratedly stabbing at the screen, as shorts go awry and foes charge toward you.

There is absolutely nothing suspect about this screenshot
There is absolutely nothing suspect about this screenshot

It’s a shame, as the game is actually good fun, with an enjoyable story and some nice touches, such as the comedy camp glowing lights and the touching realistic relationship between Gabriel and Seren.  In the end, this is one for Fable devotees only, or people who want a Kinect game that actually works, and doesn’t involve mechs or sport.

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