IN DEFENCE OF FABLE

OK gamers as Meryl Streep said to Goldie Hawn in the film ‘Death Becomes Her’ as she shoots her in the stomach with a shotgun “you’ve bought this on yourself”. Yes readers it is you that has driven me to this, and possibly the extreme boredom bought on by a 2 week isolation, but instead of doing something constructive like cleaning the bathroom I have decided to write this – the limescale can wait as arguing about gaming is far more fun, don’t you agree? So onto Fable, there’s been a re-writing of history regarding Fable in recent years, even a recent readers feature said and I quote “Fable was never any good”, I’ve heard this sentiment a few times and though I respect everyone’s opinion and no opinion can be incorrect, your opinion is wrong and I don’t respect it. I should note that I am a Fable super-fan, so this perspective is going to well-balanced and totally unbiased…

The year is 2020, we are living in the world where an invisible virus that is destroying our way of life and we need distractions like gaming to take us out of the world we live in. It’s been an excellent generation for videogames, with Sony’s first party in particular nailing it with story driven action adventure games. But then when you look over the highest rated games a lot of them are humourless bores! The Last of Us though excellent is such a depressing couple of games I needed therapy after playing them. The recent Tomb Raider games have become so grim, dark and realistic it’s no longer fun to make Lara swan dive into a rock, sad times. Horizon Zero Dawn has a cool but ridiculous concept taken so seriously; they might as well have not bothered with mo-cap as everyone’s face was set to constipated the whole game.  It’s honestly refreshing when a game goes for comedy and in the AAA space as these have been very few and far between in recent years. Borderlands, Sunset Overdrive and Portal 2 are examples of games that have really worn comedy on their sleeves. So why are the majority of games so serious? That was something that made Fable really stand out among the brown and grey shooters populating gaming at the time. Fable’s world was a dark twisted fantasy not to mention foreboding, but it perfectly weaved in a marvellous Monty Python-esque sense of humour that’s so rare in videogames – it gave Fable a charm that’s missing from the likes of Horizon Zero Dawn that are held in far higher regard. Not only was this comedy, it’s British comedy (which is the best, sorry Americans), unafraid to be silly and sarcastic – from quests based around completing Gnome collections and to over dramatic Demon Doors that just want to see you get fat.

Fable managed to invigorate mundane quests that are present in most games in the genre but made them infinitely more entertaining with clever script writing and a silly morality system that was fun to mess around with. The social aspect of Fable was also a joy to play, finally you could live out your fantasy of farting to a group of people and getting the adoration and disgust you deserve. My Fable 2 experience almost ruined my love life, because I met my first husband in it, Roger the cobbler. He gave me a pair of boots for absolutely no reason other than love, that’s relationship goals right there, I love me some footwear – I’ve been searching for my Roger ever since. My real-life fiancé does share his Yorkshire accent but he’s yet to buy me boots that offer an armour stat boost, though he does buy me fried chicken when I’m hung over so it’s not all bad.

Yes Fable has a lot of short comings, the combat seemed to degrade with each subsequent entry and the third game was littered with micro-transactions and a ridiculous end game. Across the series the world was far too linear, never managing a proper open world with loading screens littering the game every 10 minutes as you travel from place to place. Never before has a game been screaming out for a densely designed open world like Fable. One has to remember though, that the 3rd game, which was undoubtedly the worst, was released a decade ago, so of course aspects of Fable will feel dated and not hold up under modern day scrutiny. Though after replaying Fable 2 last year what struck me was just how well the game stands up, it’s still incredibly fun and though the magic in combat is far too powerful there’s something really satisfying about unleashing lightning on 10 enemies at once, and the story is still a compelling tale with interesting side characters and a world you want to be part of.

As the new generation approaches, Fable is finally getting the revival it so deserves. Lionhead may be gone, but after playing the beta for Fable Legends that’s probably for the best. Playground Games the new developers of the series haven’t made a bad game and though all they’ve made is racing games, the recent trailer put my mind at ease. It would be extremely easy for them to create another fantasy RPG with a super serious tone, but I was relieved to see that Playground understand what Fable is – the new trailer said a lot in a short amount of time. We saw a grand scale fantastical world with its British sense of humour still firmly intact. Fable is now my most anticipated next gen game and I’ve seen absolutely nothing of it, but I can’t wait to return to this world. So Chicken Chasers, this is my defence of Fable. And it may not have convinced you otherwise, but Fable is great and always was, there’s a reason it’s being bought back. Now let’s get back to arguing about what console is better, now this Fable business can be laid to rest.

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