Fable: The Journey review (Kinect)
A joyous journey, or rocky road?
Fable: The Journey is a Kinect game, telling the story of an unlikely hero, Gabriel, and his rise to stop a great evil when he finds powerful gauntlets that grant him powers to wield ancient magic. It all sounds good in theory, but is Molyneux’s latest Fable ambition worth any attention?
The story of Fable: The Journey follows Gabriel, a Dweller, was separated from his clan when he fell asleep traveling near the city, Bowerstone. On his way to reunite with his clan, he meets Theresa, a blind seer fleeing from a darkness, only known as The Corruption. To make things worse, Gabriel’s horse Seren is poisoned, and Theresa offers a way to heal Seren, but at great personal cost.
Most of the game you will be driving your cart to various destinations. To control the cart you have to hold the reigns with both hands in front of you. Cracking the reigns will speed up Seren, pulling one hand forward and the other back will turn the cart and holding both hands in there air will make your horse come to a stop.
When you are not driving your cart, you will be battling creatures by flinging spells and manipulating the environment around you.
Throughout the whole game, you are not controlling the movement of your character in combat, as it is automated. With your dominant hand, you cast your primary damage spells by raising that hand to your shoulder and then thrusting it forwards toward your target.
Damage spells also have an ability called “Aftertouch” which allows you, after casting your spell, to move your hand in a direction, to make your spell move in an arch, hitting enemies behind objects, or catching them off guard from the side. With your non-dominant hand, you cast your main support spells with controls that work in the same way as your primary damage spells. Your non-dominant hand is held across your chest to use counter attacks, timing a counter just right will deflect hostile attacks back to enemies. Some other controls include taking care of Seren, by brushing him, and taking care of his injuries when he does get hurt in combat.
The controls of the game flow well for the most part. Once the game is calibrated, targets are easy to hit when aiming for them, and controlling your horse at even the most hectic of times are a breeze. Unfortunately, the calibration of the controls seem to change over time, leading to frustration as all your attacks swerve off into the most random directions. To re-calibrate, you need to quit your current session and redo the calibration settings. Running the calibration over and over is extremely annoying and takes quite a bit of time.
The levels of Fable: The Journey are very linear, and you will be spending most of the time driving your cart across the open road. To make the driving a little more interesting, experience orbs are found on the journey. There are three kinds of orbs: red orbs (which can only be collected while sprinting), blue orbs (while trotting) and green orbs (while galloping). However, most of the time I found myself wishing I could dive into combat, rather than drive a cart and avoiding obstacles.
Collecting enough experience orbs allows the player to upgrade existing skills and spells, or unlock new spells. As you start unlocking new spells, you truly start to feel powerful as your spells start to grow in strength, making it even easier to manipulate the environment and fling fireballs at your enemies. This is extremely useful, especially with later boss battles, as you will need all your abilities (and use all of them together) to stop them.
Apart from the story, there is also Arcade mode, where you can dive right into battles to compete against other players online. This involves getting through battles as quickly as possible, while trying to keep damage done to you low and your kills interesting or unique. Arcade mode is extremely fun and will keep you playing the game well after the campaign has been completed.
The graphics will remind you instantly of the Fable universe, with the same unique and stylised style kept across the Fable franchise. The scenery looks good and helps a little with making the cart rides a little more interesting.
Fable: The Journey is a well made game with great Kinect implementation. Aside from the annoying issues with the calibration and the dull cart rides throughout the game, one can easily get immersed in the fun combat and game plot.