I’m not one for horse riding, however I would definitely take it up if I thought I was going to go on an enchanted journey across a fun filled world full of magic and intrigue, well thanks to the Xbox 360’s Kinect, I kind of can.
Lionhead Studios and Microsoft have delved into the world of Fable and collaborated on an adventure which enables players to become involved in wild horse and carriage riding, and magic battles using the Kinects motion-sensing capabilities in Fable: The Journey. Players are required to use a specific assortment of hand and body gestures as they traverse the treacherous universe of the Fable franchise. While it acts as a sequel, it feels nothing more than a spin-off, here’s why.
The player controls an inhabitant of Albion called Gabriel, who has a northern British accent for some reason, who is part of a convoy of horse-drawn carriages trying to make their way back home from an unknown journey. Due to Gabriel’s incompetence, he lags behind and eventually finds himself separated from his fellow travellers, forcing him to take a rather long and drawn out detour and while on his own little journey, he comes across a wounded woman.
The wounded woman introduces herself as Theresa and informs Gabriel her injuries were induced by a mysterious darkness known as The Corruption, who is trying to take over the world of Albion. To stop this takeover, Gabriel must take Theresa to a location known as the Tattered Spire to restore her power and fight back The Corruption. The story is traditional Fable however it is uninspiring and uninteresting due to the voice acting which just doesn’t sound like it belongs and the characters don’t do a very good job at driving it forward.
And then there’s the gameplay. Fable: The Journey is essentially an on rails adventure meaning freedom to move around is extremely limited. Players swivel their bodies to control your horse left or right, whip their hands downwards to speed up, put their hands close to their chest to slow down and raise them above their heads to stop. The Kinect is seriously unresponsive with regards to these controls and constantly found myself riding into walls and obstacles unintentionally and also being unable to slow down in time to stop my horse getting hurt by rough terrain. This infuriating control scheme makes this game harder to play than it should be, and it doesn’t stop there when it comes to the on-foot sections (again an on rails) shooting where players have to push their left or right hand towards the screen to zap enemies with no cursor or indicator on screen to help you aim makes it a guessing game and you will find yourself pushing towards your television furiously reminiscent of a badly made kung fu movie.
Characters in Fable: The Journey look just as they do in previous Fable titles with an exaggerated look about them however lack of any detail, the environment does look nice though and Albion looks just as lush as it did in other games. The voice acting is something which threw me, all human characters barring Theresa adopt a northern British accent which doesn’t fit in a world such as this, you would expect ye’ old English accents to match the age of which this world seems part of. The action on screen can get fast paced and I found no frame rate drops throughout and the visuals don’t deteriorate the entire game. Cut scenes and funny dialogue keep Fable: The Journey fun however doesn’t compensate for the horrendous controls and gameplay. You can craft weapons to use instead of magic and also fishing rods and telescopes to use for included mini games which give this game variety however they are over far too quickly and you are soon back on the road with those awful controls.
Do not expect the same delightful gameplay you found in previous Fable games, Fable: The Journey Kinect activated controls are unresponsive and let the game down in a very big way. The overall experience is devastated by a mediocre story, drab visuals uninteresting characters and poor voice acting that just don’t belong. If you want an amazing Fable adventure, play through Fable 3 again as this game does the franchise no justice whatsoever and feels nothing more than a spin off.
Fable: The Journey
Developers: Lionhead Studios
Publishers: Microsoft Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 12th October 2012
Graphics – 3/5
Story – 2/5
Gameplay – 2/5
Overall – 2.5/5