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Fable: The Lost Chapters Game

Manufacturer: Microsoft Game Studios
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided NewTechReview with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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“In this groundbreaking game, your every action determines your character's skills, appearance, and morality. Create your character's life story, from childhood through adulthood and on to old age. As additional story and side quests await, choose the path of righteousness or dedicate your life to evil, and see yourself transform into a reflection of your actions and decisions. Age leaves you wizened and battle leaves you scarred as you explore the world of Albion with new expanded and enhanced content.

Fable: The Lost Chapters offers even more character customization choices that impact appearance. With experience comes advancement and physical change. And as you develop your alter ego, the world reacts to you and your actions. The opinions of Albion's denizens are expressed through applause, mockery, trepidation, panic, and even flirtation. Each person you aid, each flower you crush, each creature you slay, changes the world forever. In Fable: The Lost Chapters, you decide: Who will I be?” This is the premise behind Microsoft’s new role-playing adventure game for the PC.

Originally released last year for the Xbox (under the title Fable), The Lost Chapters is actually an upgraded version of the game. This version brings many new enhancements and features to the game. Explore the original worlds and core missions of Fable and discover additional regions, story lines, and side quests, as well as optional missions. Fable: The Lost Chapters also gives you the chance to fight new monsters, practice an expanded group of spells, don new armor, wield additional weapons, and interact with friends and foes using new expressions.

You begin the game as a child who has to earn a bit of gold for his sister’s birthday present. After a series of events, you are taken in by the Heroes’ Guild to participate in the Hero Apprenticeship program. The program teaches you how to develop the three most important attributes of a hero: Strength, Skill, and Will. Strength gives you your physical ability when battling enemies. Skill gives you your mental ability and is primarily honed by practicing how to use a bow. Will provides you with the ability to use magic. You start off with some basic magical powers, but these can grow tremendously throughout the game as you gain experience in battle. You can only gain experience, however, after you have completed your training and graduated from the Guild.

After graduation is when the game truly begins. Citizens of Albion will come to call and present you with Quest Cards. There are bronze, silver and gold Cards, but only the gold are mandatory in order to progress through the game. The other cards provide additional material, making the game longer and more interesting for those that wish to explore it fully. Depending on the Quests you decide to accept, your character will take the path of good or evil. The choice is up to you. What is unique about Fable is that your choices affect your appearance throughout the game. For example, if you choose to kill guards, traders, or villagers, you’ll find yourself eventually taking on an evil appearance, such as the growth of horns on your head. Your choices also affect how the people of Albion respond to you. It’s a lot of fun to experiment with different types of behavior and it also lends additional play to the game. As with all role-playing games, you gain experience as you go about the Quests. In addition, you can buy and sell inventory, such as weapons and armor and potions and medicines. You can also enhance your abilities by spending your experience points or enhance your weapons by spending augmentation jewels, which can be acquired in a number of different ways.

To say that the graphics in the game are spectacular, would be an understatement. There is an astonishing amount of attention to detail here. The characters in the game are very lively and animated, making them seem all the more real. The environments are particularly breathtaking whether you venture into a forest, graveyard, swamp, or structure. Even the weather is depicted with realistic behaviors. Of course, the action sequences are just as detailed and the animations used to depict magic spells are extremely colorful. The detail put into the transformation of your character is also remarkable. As I mentioned earlier, depending on the choices you make, your character will take on a different appearance. Even the ravages of combat and old age will gradually show throughout the game. Making the game even more realistic are the music and sound effects. The only slight here might be a bit of repetition in the phrases when speaking to citizens, but otherwise the music, sound effects and voice performances are amazing. As you play the game, you’ll find wonderfully scored orchestral music playing in the background and changing to fit the mood of the current scene without missing a beat. The sound effects lend themselves to making the beautiful environments even more realistic.

Even though it may sound like Fable: The Lost Chapters is yet another role-playing game that delivers the typical adventure (and in many ways this is true), the game provides many new twists and tangles. The attention to detail, the many diverting quests, the ever-evolving characters, and the overall gameplay provide a gaming experience that any true gamer will enjoy. Those of you who have already played the original Fable game will have to work through the original sequence of events before experiencing the new content of this upgraded version. This may deter some from purchasing the game. But new players are sure to get a gaming experience they won’t regret.
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