What About Fable: The Journey?

Our time with Fable: The Journey at Microsoft’s blockbuster media preview was very short, but it was enough to showcase a brand-new, immersive experience from the series.

Unlike other Fable games, The Journey takes place in first perspective – a la a rail shooter . The Kinect-exclusive puts you in the shoes of Gabriel, a dweller who has lost his tribe, and who – on aiding the ailing blind seer Theresa (you might remember her from the first game) – is thrust into an action-packed adventure.

We watched a gameplay demo where we entered an underground lair after picking up the fireball spell. In Fable: The Journey, damaging spells are cast with the right hand, while the left has a kinetic spell that can stun or grab onto enemies. These spells worked well in tandem against the groups of skeletons we came up against. The kinetic spell could be used to pull the skellies together (or rip them apart), while the fireball spell could be charged up for a better area-of-effect damage.

Albion certainly took on a new dimension when viewed in first person. Though players won’t be able to control the direction of their character, there is a certain magic in seeing the world up close, in a first-person perspective. While it’s possible to duck ranged attacks while in battle by simply slanting your body to either side, you can’t run from battle completely, and so have to be conservative when using your standard attack of energy-balls: they deplete your energy bar with each use.

The game’s difficulty was well balanced, in that sense. Gameplay was simple enough to grasp, but mastery of it takes some strategy. The boss fight of the demo convinced us of this.

Towards the end of the session, we came up against a cave troll, a hulking monster with a stone slab on its back. In spite of the troll hurling chunks of rock at us, we were able to stay in the thick of combat by using the kinetic spell on our left hand – we simply threw the rocks back.

We had to keep casting spells to really hurt it, though, and this was the only downside we could see to the game thus far: you’re bound to get tired after playing for a while. The less active of us might even strain our shoulders, since you have to mimic hurling a fireball to throw one on screen.

Fable: The Journey will hit retail outlets on October 9th this year. It won’t be long now, and hopefully we’ll be able to review the full code soon.