PC REVIEW: FABLE: THE LOST CHAPTERS
It's been a year since fans have enjoyed their first taste of Fable, the game touted to be best RPG of all time. While I might agree that it was one of the best RPGs on the Xbox, it's still got some heavy competition with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I'm afraid that it doesn't have the depth or originality of Diablo for the PC. So it's definitely not the best RPG ever created but it's in darn good company and there's no reason not to play it - but if you already have you might not get your money's worth out of The Lost Chapters.

Fable: The Lost Chapters is essentially an expansion pack. It contains the same core gameplay with some additional features such as new characters, locations, weapons, spells, enemies and side quests. There are also some new stories but they are just small branches wrapped around the core that essentially lead to dead ends.

Originally, Fable's main claim to fame was the ever-changing character development which encouraged you to play with either a good or evil persona. Your character's physical attributes would change depending on his mental and moral course. This would also alter other characters' reaction to him based solely on his appearance. The uglier he was inside, the uglier he would look on the outside. By playing through the game as both good and evil, it was like getting two games for one price.

Not so with Lost Chapters if you've already played the original since it retains the majority of the gameplay, characters, weapons, locations, etc. Only if you haven't played it will this game reveal itself to be a treasure trove of digital delights.

Revolving around a tale of revenge, your character will be faced with an incredible array of choices. From childhood to adulthood, your character will change with the choices that he's made. This will also be reflected in his powers and skills. Dark magic is different from white magic. Both will open up different doors and lead you down different paths. The interface is incredibly intuitive and even the real-time combat system is relatively easy to use. This game just begs newbies to latch on for the ride of their lives.

As with the original, the graphics are impressive. Locations are highly imaginative but are perfectly rendered for the context in which they appear. In other words, as unbelievable as they look, they actually look believable. Towns have a lived-in look and the NPCs are chock full of personality. Even when they don't talk they at least will illicit some reaction to situations or your appearance. The music and sound effects echo the rest of the excellent production values.

Fable: The Lost Chapters is equally as good on the Xbox as it is on the PC. It's certainly one of the best RPGs out there and there's no doubt that some novices will consider it the best RPG they've ever played. If you're looking for some action in a RPG then Fable is definitely the way to go.

Preview by Vaughn

You either loved Fable on Xbox or hated it. There wasn't much middleground when it came to opinions on the overhyped debacle that was Fable. Unlike most instances of hype gone wild, stories of how incredible Fable was going to be were delivered straight from the horses mouth - Peter Molyneux - the brainchild designer. Unfortunately for everyone involved including the gamers and Mr. Molyneux, his creative eyes were far bigger than his development stomach and huge portions of the game, mechanics to boot, were sliced and diced so the game could actually end its 5 year development cycle and hit the shelves already. What gamers played wasn't even close to what was promised and while the game sold 1.4 million, it received the wrath of lovers scorned on forum boards everywhere.

I played Fable but not all of the way through. Why, you ask? Because I thought it was crap. That's why. It was as linear as the first Crash Bandicoot game and less engrossing. Sure I can be a bad guy and wear tattoos and scare people, but I can also turn off the Xbox and load up another game that I like even more. You have to love the infinite choices we're given in this reality, eh? And I didn't have to cut my hair, eat a burger, get a tattoo, steal a car or talk to the local prostitute. I just turned it off.

Microsoft announced Fable: The Lost Chapters exclusively for the PC. I'm assuming Mr. Molyneux thinks that PC gamers and RPG enthusiasts who look down their nose at consoles will "get" Fable more than the street urchins who love Halo 2. I'm here to tell him that I sincerely doubt it. Considering Miyamoto's incredible and far superior adventure Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time was far more dynamic and open than Fable (same with Wind Waker) and those games came out years ago, I have a feeling that putting bandaids on a game that was flawed to begin with, probably isn't a good idea. But I do have a solution. Simply make the game you've been promising us and don't take anything out. There. You can thank me later.

The Lost Chapters will expand upon the first game, adding in much more content including new monsters, spells, armor, weapons and new facials expressions. So far I'm not sold. Had all of this content been present and accounted for in the original, I don't think it would have made a lick of diff. Okay, so you're probably wondering, "Why is Vaughn editoriializing in this preview? Shouldn't he just tell us what the game is about and shut up?" No. I shouldn't because that's what everyone else does, including some of the writers on this site. I'm tired of the nonsense in the game industry. I once hyped a really bad game, some kid listened to me, bought it and it ruined his life. Well, that's not true, but it makes a briefly entertaining anecdote.

If you love Fable, you probably hate me now, and that's cool. I'll live with it. But you have to admit that Fable wasn't all that and a bag of chips (thanks Fenix) and from the sounds of it, The Lost Chapters will only be expanding the cosmetics rather than addressing the gameplay issues.

For those who don't care for my tone, here are the features of the game. All hyped and ready to excite you into standing in line to buy it.

Features:

  • Experience expanded content. Explore the original worlds and core missions of "Fable" that thrilled Xbox gamers and discover additional regions, storylines and side quests, as well as optional missions with "Fable: The Lost Chapters." In addition, "Fable: The Lost Chapters" offers the ability to fight new monsters, practice an expanded group of spells, don new armor, wield additional weapons and interact with new expressions.
  • Witness stunning graphics. "Fable: The Lost Chapters" is fully optimized for the Windows platform, bringing with it breath-taking graphics that allow you to view the world of Albion at its best.
  • Forge a hero based on actions. Heroes age and evolve through the actions players choose and the paths they follow — be it for good, evil or in between. Those who ply the way of the sword will see their muscles bulge. Those who weave the dark arts will witness power crackle at their fingertips. And those who rely on speed and stealth will develop lightning-like reflexes and eagle-eyed accuracy.
  • Engage in intense real-time combat. Players collect battle scars as they duel with cunning foes and deadly creatures. They can master an array of deadly weapons as they hone the art of blade-craft, hunt their quarry using subterfuge and stealth, or weave death from the elements as they harness the dark arts of the arcane.
  • Build a living legend. Through deeds and actions, "Fable: The Lost Chapters" players build a name for their character across the land. They can recruit allies and followers, gain glory or notoriety, make friends and enemies, the whole time interacting with a living world of people, places and events all reactive to them.
  • Shape and exploring a living, evolving world. Players champion or manipulate an ever-changing land with competitive and cooperative heroes, dynamic weather systems, and environments teeming with cultures, creatures, citizens and cities.
  • Hone scores of unique skills and extras. Players master new abilities and add possessions as their character develops. They can master the art of thievery, acquire a family, real estate, clothing or tattoos, and more. "Fable: The Lost Chapters" expands these offerings, providing the player with even more customization choices.
  • Never play the same game twice. Once an adventure has been completed, players can forge a new tale full of unexpected twists and turns, with new skills, powers, influences, allies and enemies.
System: PC
Dev: Big Blue Box
Pub: Microsoft
Release: Nov 2005
Players: 1
Review by Darwin
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
3.0