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Fable: The Journey surprises by smart mix of motion controls and storytelling (review)

Fable: The Journey In The Carriage Gabriel Theresa

WHAT YOU WON’T LIKE

Steering a horse can get tedious
Riding Saren is a fine game mechanic, especially in the first act of the story, as it allows for exposition dumps and a gentle introduction of the motion controls. But steering the horse gets, well, boring after a while. I’d love to see a way to skip the horse steering sections and let the game take over the horse guidance for a while.

The chests are superfluous
Getting collectibles throughout the game is done through opening treasure chests. The only thing that seems to come out of them, really, are cards that then fit into a collection screen, which is accessed via the pause menu. This screen shows a grid populated with pictures of all the collected cards and characters that’ve been met along the way. I found myself wanting to skip the optional side quests mostly because they tended to end up with a treasure chest and a useless chicken card, as one specific example. Either make the chests more rewarding, or skip this altogether.

You can’t take a break
When you’re playing Fable The Journey, you can’t chill out. There’s no slouching, no way to just let the game take you along, no simple option to take a breather but still progress the story. I wanted ways to enjoy the narrative that didn’t include having to sit up straight or wave my arms about. By the end of many hours of gameplay, my shoulders were tired, and I longed for some simple button mashing.

Fable: The Journey The Spire

CONCLUSION

Bottom line, Fable: The Journey is an admirable installment in an already superlative series of video games. It’s fun for adults as well as kids, like all the Fable titles have been, and while some of the mechanics feel like inessential add-ons, the main storyline and battle scenes are impressively fun to play through.

Some core players might find the puzzle elements and on-rails battle sequences too easy, but I’m definitely not one of them. As a story-focused motion control offering, Fable: The Journey shows off the Kinect’s potential while still existing as far more than a technology demo; this is a true Fable in all senses of the word.

GamesBeat Score: 90/100

Fable: The Journey released Oct. 9, 2012 for the Xbox 360. The publisher provided GamesBeat with an Xbox 360 disc for the purpose of this review.

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