A Kinect Journey from your Own Couch (E3 2012)
Fable: The Journey has dealt with a lot of slack from series fans. This is because the game has been presented as if it were the next main installment in the Fable series, when instead it should be considered a spin-off of the action RPG series in the same vein of 2008's Pub Games and May's Fable Heroes. However, unlike those two games, which had generally mixed reception, Fable: The Journey in action not only looks solid, but it also has a lot of firsts for Kinect gameplay.
The Journey is set 5 years after the latest game in the series, Fable III, and it has players controlling Gabriel, a guy who starts out as simply a gypsy traveling and selling his wares; however, his life's focus changes as he meets with series regular Theresa. The two travel across Albion to reach the Spire and escape The Corruption, an entity which has been following them. The game's story actually comes from back story from the franchise's world created before the first Fable by Peter Molyneux and Gary Carr, and it doesn't deal with the bloodline that has been featured in previous games in the series. Using the Unreal Engine 3, the creators say the game is the best-looking Fable game yet. Still, it's a bit hard to tell the game is created with the Unreal Engine, with characters keeping the distinct Fable art style
Fable: The Journey is the first Kinect game that allows the player to sit down while playing, something that developers are working with, as they figure out ways to use the device and create unique experiences around it. They cited the fact that The Journey is more of a hardcore game that has about 15 hours to the meat of its gameplay, and the ability to sit down and play allows for long play periods, although the gameplay doesn't let up simply because the player is sitting down. They even mentioned that the game is playable from a bed, as long as the player is sitting and the arms are seen clearly. Additionally, the game still works while standing.
The player’s hands are always doing something in Fable: The Journey, from making a horse move faster on horseback stages, to different hand motions determining which kind of magic will be used. Some of these commands even have alternate ways to activate them, with a fire spell that can be activated by waving the player's hand over their shoulder, or yelling "fire" or "flame on". The game adjusts itself to the dominant hand of the player, with the dominant hand handling traditional magic, while the other hand is used to activate a force push that allows enemies to be pushed away or flung around. Even breaks are handled through gameplay, such as having the player hold their arms out to dip their character's hands in a pool of enchanted water to learn a spell as a stretch after a long section of spell casting.
In addition to the features and controls already mentioned, Fable: The Journey's combat has even more options; some become available based on the type of enemy face. Skeletal enemies can have their arms snatched off and will adjust their combat plan differently; ripping off their arms will force them to head-butt you, for instance. Spells are modifiable through the use of after touch, which allows them to become even more powerful.
Other things mentioned include side quests and collectables available during the long campaign. With all of the features available and the way Kinect use is handled, Fable: The Journey is shaping up to be one of the best uses of Kinect yet.
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