Fable: The Lost Chapters
The Xbox hit finally makes it way onto PCs armed with new areas, quests and content. Does it trump the console original?
Hours of new content added
Looks great on PCs
Retains the Fable morality-based gameplay
Excellent sense of humour
Controls will take some getting used to
Fable is one of the biggest selling titles in Xbox history, and while it didn't quite live up to its pre-release hype of being a groundbreaking role playing title, it did serve up some impressive gameplay.
A year after its console release, the game finally makes its way onto PCs as Fable: The Lost Chapters. This new title is essentially the old Fable with several new hours of content, new quests, new monsters and new areas -- think of it as an expansion pack that just happens to have the original tacked on.
As the majority of the content in Fable: The Lost Chapters is similar to the Xbox release, we'll leave our original review posted last year to do most of the hard work for us. What we will cover here, though, is the new content and how well the game has fared after being translated from a console to a PC.
First and foremost, the new content added to Fable has been mainly added where the original ended, opening up a whole new area of Faerun for you to explore as your hero strives to end the evil plaguing your nation (or add to the evil, depending on your alignment). The new areas introduce some different environments to game, such as frozen and snow covered lands, as well as several new enemies such as impressive snow trolls, summoners and more. This new content is added quite seamlessly, and actually feels like a better conclusion to what seemed like a sudden ending in the original.
But Fable veterans won't need to play all the way through to the end to experience the new content. More sidequests and characters have also been added to the main part of Fable, some of which you'll run into quite early on. These sidequests once again take on the sometimes surreal humour of Fable, and will have you traipsing for 'magic mushrooms', enter a chicken kicking contest and more.
All of this added activity addresses what was one of the biggest disappointments of the original game -- its relatively short length. RPG veterans could breeze through Fable in under 15 hours. The new ending plus the sidequests easily adds a few more hours into the mix.
But perhaps the most impressive aspect of Fable: The Lost Chapters is how seamlessly it has survived the transfer from console to PC. The controls have now been mapped to the traditional WASD movement/mouse view of most action adventure games on computers, with the ability to assign hotkeys assigned for spells, expressions and items. While it's not a patch on the ease of use of an Xbox controller, using the keyboard and mouse to attack and move in Faerun is painless, at least after you get used to the controls. Perhaps our biggest complaint lies with the spell casting system. With spots for only two spells for quick casting, you'll often find yourself madly scrolling the mouse button to find the right spells -- not a good thing to be doing in the middle of Fable's frequent fights.
The game looks stunning on PCs as well, even on machines without the latest whiz-bang innards. The character models and environments are more detailed than ever, allowing you to see every aspect of your character customisation. The music and voice acting is once again top notch, and adds a great deal to the mood of the game.
If this is your first experience with Fable, then we can't recommend it highly enough for its innovation, excellent play mechanics and morality-based gameplay. It may be a different story if you've already played the Xbox version, however, as only a few hours are added to the overall adventure. Still, if you're a Fable junkie, then more is better than none at all.
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