I’ve been playing the first Fable game on the original Xbox and now I’m going to share my thoughts. I did a positive karma playthrough, mostly focusing on melee.
The game started with the player being a happy child who needs to get a present for his sister. Then the village burns down, the player character’s family is killed, and the player ends up at a hero guild. The game then teaches you basic combat controls which are simple enough to learn easily with the added bonus of black and white buttons on the controller which were used to switch between melee and ranged weapons. Then a cutscene plays telling you that the hero went through years of training which is a rare thing for a game as it explains how the hero got his skills.
When the game started properly I was impressed by the fart expression (childish, I know) and the game didn’t just tell you to save the world and point it out to you. The first heroic mission was actually about killing wasps showing that you have to start small, making the game a bit more like real life. I was really impressed when I saw a villager turn a light on.
Although the controls were easy to learn combat could still be hard, especially when you were swarmed with both melee and ranged enemies. The boss fights in the game weren’t simple, you had to work out how to beat them. From a man that could only be hurt from behind to some sort of sea monster the bosses could be some of the most interesting pieces of combat. There was also a mission in the story that involved going to an arena and fighting wave after wave of enemies some of which filled the screen to the point that I didn’t know what was going on, needless to say this was my favourite part of the game.
The karma system was just to choose good or bad and I didn’t see it having much effect on the rest of the game. There was a bit of choice when doing missions like free prisoners or hire assassins, but the result would be the same. One of the demon doors did ask me to do something very evil but I felt no need to get past it, so it didn’t bother me.
I also liked the minigames which consisted of playing blackjack, going fishing, memorising some items and picking out the added one as well as a card matching game.
The game world wasn’t linear like I had expected when I started, it was a sort of open world go where you want limited only by how far you were in certain quests. Lots of small maps were joined together and built a world that was enjoyable to explore. The world was also filled with collectables like demon doors, silver keys and hairstyles.
For me the game was ruined by a few things such as escort quests where your new teammate died in one hit, a drawn out boring section of the game and two very disappointing boss fights.
An especially bad thing was an unhelpful camera which at times made me completely vulnerable in fights. Escort quests are bad enough when your teammate tries to fight and proves useless, these teammates didn’t even try, they got killed and I had to restart at the beginning of the quest which left me with more than one unfinished at the end of the game. Near the end of the game my character was stripped of all possessions, then made to run races and do stealth sections, then fight a boss and enemies while doing an escort quest – this was one of the worst parts of the game. The two boss fights did what any bad boss would do: extremely powerful attacks, invincibility, teleportation, summoning minions and flying when the player character was built for melee.
I did enjoy the game until I got nearer to the end of the game which was when it just became frustrating and boring to play. I’d call this game good even by today’s standards (even in competition with later Fable games) if it hadn’t been let down by the last few missions.