The Fable series are some of the best single player games I’ve played. They have choices between good and evil; involve a good eye for business and of course a deft hand with a giant sword! Fable is set in the land of Albion a mythical and slightly eccentric medieval world; filled with an abundance of bizarre locals, treasures to collect and lots of enemies to fight.
The first game was released back in 2004 and was immediately popular. In its first week 375,000 copies were sold in North America alone, pretty good for a small UK games developer. The first game starts with a small village boy trying to get a present for his sister’s birthday; however bandits soon attack killing almost everyone. The boy flees when his sister has a vision saying the bandits are after him. The boy is rescued by the leader of the Heroes Guild and is taken away to learn how to be a hero. In Albion heroes a born not made; they have rare abilities in combat divided into strength, skill and will or in simpler terms; hitting someone, shooting at things and blasting them with magic!
The guild is where missions are set by people out in the world and some contradict each other highlighting the good or evil of the game. One such quest can either be to protect a farm or to attack it. Depending on just how good or bad you are will also change your appearance; if your good a halo will start to appear and if your evil, well you get the idea. The boy goes on a quest to avenge the death of his parents and find his sister.
Fable II is where I started playing the games, set a very long time after the first game it immediately becomes obvious the heroes are almost extinct, destroyed by the people who they once fought for. The tale begins with either a boy or girl and there elder sister making a wish to live in the splendour of Castle Fairfax which towers over the city of Bowerstone. Soon after the city guards arrive and take them to the castle to meet Lord Lucien, the ruler of the city. Lord Lucien has a very ambitious plan and wants to assess the children to see if they have magical powers that can be of use. It becomes obvious these two are not ordinary and Lucien shoots the elder sister and throws your character out of the tower window. Only a true hero could survive the fall, and so it is revealed that you are one of the last heroes in Albion. They are nursed back to health by a blind Gypsy seeress and with their faithful dog set out to defeat Lucien’s evil plans to remake the world with magic.
This game is a lot more humorous with the locals frequently saying very daft things indeed, for instance the schedule at the Temple of Shadows is along the lines of ‘Wednesday they slaughter the sacred chickens, Thursday they bathe in the blood of the sacred chickens and Friday… that’s bingo night! ’ You can also build up a business empire by buying virtually every building from the great Castle Fairfax down to a broken caravan in a bandit camp!
Fable III follows on from its predecessor, after your last hero defeats Lucien they turn Albion into their kingdom and rule it wisely into the Industrial Revolution. When they die of old age their eldest son, Logan inherits the throne. Initially a good ruler he rapidly becomes corrupt and spends huge sums on expanding his military for an unknown reason. The people want change and Logan’s younger brother or sister joins them. It is revealed that the prince/princess has inherited their parent’s gifts and is also a hero. The game is clearly split into two the first half is leading the revolution to take the throne and the second is running the state and dealing with the greatest evil in Albion’s history, coming from across the seas.
The third game is very similar to the second but several notable differences include greater customisation, trolls are now extinct and you can talk for the first time. Also when you become the ruler you do have a lot of choices over how to control Albion. The second games ending was a little poor but the thirds compensates being quite dramatic
These three were joined this year by Fable: The Journey. This game however is Kinect only and doesn’t fit into the story line of the other three. There are some who say a Fable IV will come out and others say the series is over. Either way Lionhead Studios’ Fable Series have given hours of enjoyment and are defiantly one of my favourite series.