FABLE: THE LOST CHAPTERS / Microsoft / PC
 
                                                       Cool tryhard mustache, hipster
 
I'm pretty sure the concept for Fable was born when Peter Molyneux played Zelda: Ocarina of Time back in the late 90s somewhere, and was like, "OH MAN THIS IS GREAT BUT WHAT IF LIKE THERE WAS A MORALITY SYSTEM AND PLANTS GREW OVER TIME AND LIKE EVERYONE DYNAMICALLY RESPONDED TO EVERY LITTLE THING YOU DO AND A DOG OMG." After 4 years of development, instead of coming up with the Adventure-RPG To End All Adventure-RPGs, what we got was a fairly standard swordy-RPG game with only a couple of his grand ideas he'd been hyping actually fully implemented. Standard Molyneux procedure, really.

I only ended up playing the game for 60 minutes. So why am I reviewing it? Because it has the worst save system I've ever seen, just unforgivably bad, and I've yet to see another review even bother mentioning it. Fable has two types of saves - "Hero Saves" and "World Saves". "World Saves" actually work like normal save games in every other PC game ever made - you save on the spot, you restore to that spot. However, "World Saves" are inaccessible while the game deems you are on an "important" quest. How does the game determine what is an "important" quest vs. a "regular" quest? I still don't know, but your only indication of this is that "World Save" disappears from the menu during this time, to be replaced by "Hero Save." What "Hero Save" does is more like Final Fantasy 6; you keep any EXP and gold you have up to the point you made the save, but if you quit out or die, you get kicked back to the very beginning of whatever "quest" you are embroiled in at the moment. I'm sure you can see where this would be obnoxious throughout play, but Fable kicks it up a notch by making the entire slow-paced tutorial of the game - a process that takes roughly 2 hours - one giant "important quest" in which you can use nothing but "Hero Saves." The long and short of this is that, unless you have 2 solid hours to spare at a time, you're never getting out of the tutorial. Aside from apparently designing the game such that it can only be played by affluent shut-in 12 year olds, every time you load any manual save it automatically overwrites the lone autosave for some dumbass reason too - click on the wrong save instead of the autosave and lord knows how many hours of progress you could potentially flush down the drain.

Here's a few more things I can tell you about the game from my time with it. Despite originating on the Xbox, there's zero gamepad support in the game whatsoever, you have to clunkily play it with mouse and WASD, which means loudly clicking the left mouse button 800 million times to attack over the course of the game. The cutscene direction is hilariously awkward, jerky and terrible, in spite of the fact that games like Metal Gear Solid and Shenmue were doing competent cutscene direction with in-game assets before Molyneux even announced the game's development and first fired up his 4-year train of undelivered promises. The story is basically JRPG/Fantasy Movie Clichefest, opening with some young kid watching bandits sack his village then getting magically whisked off to Hogwart's to become a Hero and get Revenge. And there's this odd obsession with making all the men bald. That I understand , but for some reason they're always all hairless, shirtless, smooth and glistening. That part I don't really need to know any more about.
 
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