Fable: The Lost Chapters PC CD-ROM
Published by Microsoft Game Studios
Developed by Lionhead Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Fable: The Lost Chapters, an introduction.
Fable was one of those games that some people really like and others were disappointed with. Part of the problem was that the finished title was not exactly what people were expecting. Those that did appreciate the game found that it wasn't the longest of games and certainly nowhere near the length a RPG should be. Here we have the PC version of the game and as you probably already know (or have worked out from the title) it contains extra content that add a few hours on to the game.
What's the game about?
Fable is set in the land of medieval-like Albion. The game begins in the sleepy village of Oakvale with you having to earn some money that will enable you to purchase a birthday present for your sister. No sooner as you give the present to your sister though, it all goes horribly wrong. Bandits attack Oakvale and kill almost everything in sight. At first it seems even your family has been killed but it later becomes known that some of them have been captured. As you look around at the desolation, a man called Maze appears and whisks you off to the Guild of Heroes, where you'll come under the instruction of the Guildmaster who will teach you to become a hero. From here on in you'll be doing quests to improve your abilities so that you can take revenge on those who ruined Oakvale and captured your family. The original Xbox release of Fable lasted around 15 hours for the first play through. The additional content comes at the end of the original story and is actually of the same quality as the original game. You're probably looking at around 18-19 hours in total with the additional content (which includes new regions, monsters, and weapons etc.) for a complete play through. When you consider you'll want to play through again to make your character the antithesis of what he was first, the game certainly offers enough play time.
What's good about the game?
The developers have taken their time to bring the game to the PC and they have done a great job. Graphically it looks very good, particularly on the higher screen resolutions, and the interface has been changed to fit the keyboard and mouse perfectly. Fable isn't a RPG in the traditional sense and there's not really a game like it on the PC so the fact that it's an original experience can also be classed as a plus point. The interaction between you and the citizens of Albion is pretty enjoyable but it's a shame that all of the non-essential dialogue isn't subtitled.
What's not so good about the game?
A year on and the game is no more deaf gamer friendly than it was in the original Xbox version. Whilst the game allows you to be both good and/or evil, this doesn't affect the game's story as it should. Yes the NPCs will react differently to you and yes your actions do have an affect on your appearance but the main plot is linear and doesn't waiver at all regardless of your actions. Those of you who like RPGs where your decisions affect the ending might be disappointed with this and it's definitely one of the game's main shortcomings. It's also quite annoying that all of the new content is right at the end of the original game. If you've already seen what the original Fable had to offer on the Xbox you'd have to be really dedicated to play through the whole thing again to see just a few hours worth of new material.
How does it look?
Developers are usually slammed for being idle when porting a game from a console to a PC. More often than not these games don't look as good as they should and have all manner of problems. None of these complaints can be levelled at Lionhead Studios as the game looks like it's been created for the PC and not simply taken from a console. When played on the higher screen resolutions and with anti-aliasing enabled the whole thing looks pretty impressive. Naturally the load times are a lot shorter on the PC than on the Xbox and in certain places they are no more than a second or two which is great to see.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
As we briefly mentioned earlier, this PC version of Fable is no better for deaf gamers than the original Xbox version. The cutscenes and important conversations are subtitled, as before, but it could have been better for deaf gamers. As you pass people by, they will call out to you and comment on the kind of person you are. These comments are not subtitled. There are some comical conversations between people that you'll miss out on too. Later in the game you'll receive advice and objectives from the Guildmaster which are not subtitled. Objectives can be recalled at any time which is useful. Tutorial messages are shown in text and good use has been made of icons to convey information which naturally helps deaf gamers.
It would have been all too easy for Lionhead to simply do a quick port from the Xbox version of Fable. They haven't taken the easy route though and what we have here is a more polished and longer lasting experience (if only by a few hours) that many will enjoy. Those who've already played the original game might want to think before purchasing though as the new content is right at the end of the game and hardly justifies paying out for the game again. If you haven't yet played Fable and have a decent specification PC then this is the version to go for. It's just a shame they didn't make the game more deaf gamer friendly this time around.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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A graphical and interface upgrade along with extra content make Fable: The Lost Chapters is one of the better PC games we've seen this year. There's not enough new content here to justify a purchase if you've already played the Xbox version though.