The Backlog: Fable

Every week we like to give you a look into our backlog of games, the games we probably should have played sooner but are only now getting to. This week's entry is a little different as Doug recounts his time with the first Fable in honor of the release of Fable The Journey. If you missed last week's look at Epic Mickey, you can check that out here. _______________________________________________________________________________

We've all got that one game. You hear the name and you can feel the tone of the story, game play and a world flowering before your eyes in nostalgic haze. For so many people, that game helps to lean their taste in a certain direction; so a player can say "I'm really a 2D platformer kind of guy". For me, that game was Fable, and by extension Fable: The Lost Chapters.

Some of my favorite Box Art
Some of my favorite Box Art

I grew up reading fantasy novels, and that kept my eyes keen on fantasy games. One of the first games that I latched onto was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Diving into such a new and mysterious, fully realized world without the need to travel through space to get there left such a joyous impression on me, I had to find more. As I moved westward in the world of fantasy - playing such games as Gauntlet Legends, Baldor's Gate, and the like - I realized a trend. I was either being stuck with a pre-made character with customization limited to only equipment, or given a system far too complex for my young mind. Either way, they just weren't very fun.

Which brings us right back around to Fable. The notion that I could start from the ground up with the character I wanted to build excited me. Upgrade pathing was simple, combat was fun, and for the first time I'd found a desire to use more than just a bow, some arrows and stealth. For the first time, I was interested in magic.

The largest factor of my enjoyment in Fable, however, came from an unexpected area. Exploration had been a key element in each of the game's I'd tried, but always to one end - loot. I'd not yet seen a reason to explore other than that, or facing some challenging mid-boss. With Fable, though, each of area I entered added new and interesting lore; and the more I explored, the more there was.

Walking into Bowerstone for the first time, seeing the docile town that it was became a vital comparison point for the rest of the world. The layout of the different towns and areas I'd encounter seemed to directly contrast with the last in such a strange and exotic way. Leaving Bowerstone to venture into the lush autumn toned Greatwood - which by all rights felt like very much the same region. From Greatwood, Darkwood's dreary mossy aesthetic awaited with all sorts of unwelcoming beasts. While in Greatwood, the biggest threat came from bandits but even the bandits fell prey to the Balverines and Hobbes of Darkwood. Yet, just as I couldn't handle Darkwood's merciless gaze any longer - especially after stumbling upon the steps of The Temple of Scorn - I'd stumble out into the lush daylight and welcome of the cottage town of Oakvale.

Having started the adventure in this very town, a rush of recognition washed over both myself and my character, Chicken Chaser. At that moment, I became attached to this silent protagonist. I'd seen him get to this point, and helped him fell trolls, bandits, Balverines, and the like. Yet, the journey was clearly just beginning. Stepping into Oakvale became the action directly leading to my not wanting to put the game down. Every single day, I'd rush home from school excited to venture deeper into this tale I was weaving.

Fable rests safely atop my list of favorite games. Not simply for its willingness to create a character for myself, but for the personality of the world in which I could create my character. Being who you want to be is only half of a journey; what you discover with who you are, is the rest.

_______________________________________________________________________________

So so ends this week's edition of the backlog. What did you think of Fable? Are you excited for The Journey? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to come back next week for another Backlog.