I got my hands on Lionhead’s new Kinect title Fable The Journey during this year’s E3 (or hands off, as this is a Kinect game). Fable The Journey is ambitious, to be sure – the team is striving to make an epic adventure game that will deliver at least 15 hours of gameplay, and all played with motion control via Microsoft’s Kinect. So what do we think?
Fable The Journey takes place several decades after the other Fable games. You play as a young gypsy boy who is suddenly imbued with magical powers. Armed with these powers, you traverse the world of Albion (the world is bigger than any previous Fable game by far) casting spells and battling baddies in an effort to save the land from evil.
The controls are simple and intuitive, and even though this is a Kinect title, you can play the entire game from the comfort of your chair. You control the game with your hands and your upper body. You get around Albion atop your horse and buggy. To move, just slap your horse’s reigns, then steer by pulling left and right on the reigns. These movements were instantly recognized by the Kinect and I was able to easily move and steer my horse down the road.
As for combat, use your right hand to cast offensive spells such as fireballs and so forth and use your left for defensive spells, like pushing back on enemies or grabbing them and ripping off their limbs. You can defend yourself from attacks by putting your left arm across your chest, and you dodge and strafe by leaning left and right.
As you become more adept at these moves, you can use them in tandem to take out larger groups of enemies and bosses. During the demo, the rep from Lionhead took over the game (I was playing too slowly) and proceeded to wreck havoc on a bunch of baddies by combining spells, blocks and devensive moves.
The game is intended to be played casually while sitting in a chair (I could put my hands down when steering the horse without affecting the game). I wasn’t able to play long enough to tell if extended use of my arms would become tiring, but the reps told me that they have been playing the game for two years now and they haven’t found fatigue to be an issue. I can say that what I played was fun and a nice change from the plethora of jumping and dancing Kinect games that I already own.
To that point, there are a lot of Kinect games that are about dancing or fitness, but there’s a lack of compelling “long” games for Microsoft’s motion peripheral. Lionhead hopes to fill that void with Fable The Journey, and I think they’re on the right track so far.
Fable The Journey is scheduled for release in October of this year.