Fable: The Lost Chapters

aka: Fable: TLC, Fable: Zapomniane Opowieści, Shen'gui Yuyan: Shiluo de Zhangjie
Moby ID: 19218
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Fable: The Lost Chapters is a version of Lionhead's Xbox-exclusive Fable, featuring enhancements to storyline and gameplay.

The game expands the main plot of the original release, continuing it beyond the final confrontation as well as adding nine new areas and sixteen quests. A few characters from the earlier version participate in the storyline more actively and have their own quests. Additional content includes new buildings, monsters, weapons, spells, items, and armor. The protagonist also has more expressions and ways of communicating with people at his disposal. In the computer versions players have the ability to create their own tattoo designs and import them into the game.

Spellings

  • 神鬼寓言:失落的章节 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 77 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 112 ratings with 7 reviews)

Good, but not great action-heavy action-RPG

The Good
The first thing a person should know about Fable: The Lost Chapters (referred to from here on as Fable) is that, as far as action-RPG hybrids go, it's much more 'action' than 'RPG'. This characterisation plays out in all aspects of the game, from its lovely presentation and score by Danny Elfman to its unsophisticated role-playing elements.

The AI is respectable throughout the game. Some of the fights get pretty difficult, although most enemies only have one or two different attacks. This is probably the single exception to the rule of simplicity detailed below.

The presentation value of this excellent. The graphics are good if not splendid, and have a lovely 'cartoony' feel that is fantasy-like without being childish. The added soft bloom effect also adds a dream-like quality of the visuals that works well (unlike in say, Deus Ex 2). More importantly, you could easily run this game at 1280x1024 on a mid-range computer (I have a 6600 GT and an athlon 64 2800) with every option cranked up (except shadow detail, which is a framerate killer as always). The colours of the visuals are rich and varied, the special effects are spectacular and fast-paced. The character models as well as monster models and NPC's are unique and suit the 'Fable' title very well. Indeed, the models used for the entire world function to make the game seem like a fantasy story, which is a real coup because it would have been so easy to go wrong in this attempt.

The sound effects and score are impeccable. Danny Elfman has written a beautiful, fantasy-laden score. Again, this score serves to make the game more 'fable-like' and could have so easily gone wrong that it is a testament to Elfman's and the developer's abilities that it all works so well. The monsters make noises that suit them, the 'action' music differs enough from the string-heavy 'ambient' music to make it clear, the 'magic' sound effects are fabulous across the board.

The controls are tight, true, and fantastically done. Again, the production value of this game shines through. Obviously a great deal of attention was lavished on making the controls seamless. The hack-n-slash or magic combat is intuitive but also difficult to master. The camera is never awkward and there are sufficient opportunities for camera angle customisation as well. There are tutorials in the beginning and as you encounter new facets of the game, so you never feel unsure as to what to do.

The voice acting is excellent as well. The designers clearly went to the effort of hiring ACTUAL British actors rather than just getting Americans, Kiwis, or Australians to do cheesy accents. There are enough different accents and voices that you don't feel that you're just cycling through the same five voice actors. None of the dialogue feels called-in (compare to Star Trek games with Patrick Stewart's voice), rather, it all seems imminent and believable.

The plot is decent if entirely predictable. Yes, there is a magic sword. The entire point of an epic Fable IS to be predictable, so this is excusable. Unfortunately, the plot is very short. If you wanted to, you could probably work through the main quest in less than 10 hours.

There are all kinds of different things to do in this game as well. From marrying to finding lost treasure to looking for silver keys to open the locked chests throughout to opening the ten or so 'demon doors' to get secret items, there are definitely too many things to do in one go through the game. Unfortunately, this doesn't translate into 'replay value' for this game, as I'll explain below.

The Bad
These strengths noted, there are numerous flaws that keep this game out of the 'great' category. They generally fall into the broad statement: this game is aimed at unsophisticated gamers.

Firstly, and most importantly, the role-playing elements of this game are superficial and limited. Even more so than Knights of the Old Republic 1 or 2 (see my reviews if you so desire), this game feels like D&D for kids. There are two major pseudo role-playing elements to this game: your appearance and your skills/fighting type. You can use tattoos and haircuts to adjust the way you look and you can select from abilities within three broad skill types: strength, skill, and will. This ultimately works out to you getting to select fighter, thief, or mage skills. On paper, this is fine, but it doesn't work out well and suggests that they might have aimed the game at people new to or unrelated to RPGs, but if that's the case, why bother at all?

This is because your appearance has no gameplay impact, save making people fall in love with you (which also has no gameplay impact). So there just isn't any reason to bother. They've incorporated and 'age' system whereby the longer you play, the older you get. Again, this works OK on paper but it ends up being more annoying than fun. By the end of the game, you look much, much older than your mother! And who wants to beat the ultimate bad guy as an old grandfather? I found the age function less than satisfying. Moreover, the tattoos and haircuts don't actually change the character model (again, compare to KOTOR 1 or 2 or Neverwinter Nights). This function is window-dressing...a fun presentation element that's well incorporated but ultimately puerile

The 3-skill type system turns out to be too simplistic. Note that it's not a level-based experience system. You earn experience points from killing things and from using a given type of skill (e.g., you get strength experience and 'general' experience you can use on learning any skill) which you can spend to learn more advanced skills. The trouble is that there are only 30 skills and 24 of them are magic-based. If you play a fighter or a thief, you'll run out of things to learn quickly and you'll be left exploring mage skills by default. Again, it's just too simplistic. Moreover, the game is ridiculously easy as a fighter or as a fighter/mage, which is ultimately what you'll be forced to play.

There are only four or so 'levels' of armor or weapons in the game. This gets especially annoying as you get the best armor in the game after just a couple of hours of play-time. Simplistic design again.

This is unrelated to simplicity but is another gripe: who is this game aimed at? The graphics and simplistic game play suggest that it's aimed at younger teenagers or people new to RPGs. But if that's the case, why the adult themes throughout the game? You can shag your wife (complete with dubious sound effects) and in within the first 20 minutes of the game you see a picture of your kid sister with blood streaming out of her eyes after having them stabbed out by 'bandits'.

The Bottom Line
In the end, Fable is a good but not a great game. It's a great action game that's well-presented in all aspects. Seamless gameplay, nice graphics, fantasy-like setting, and fun character models. Unfortunately, it suffers greatly for simplicity in plot, RPG elements, and some action elements. This simplicity will annoy seasoned RPG gamers and potentially confuse action-oriented gamers. It also makes one wonder who this game is designed for.

Windows · by Marty Bonus (39) · 2005

Now With 15% More Fable!

The Good
Fable, the ambitious game formerly known as “Project: Ego” Was leaked to the public in about 2002. From the get go it seemed like one of those games that would never come out. It seemed to be just too big of a project, even for Lionhead Studios, whom have always been known for pushing the envelope. I preordered the game and when it shipped I raced home to play it. In the end it was not as unique as I was led to believe but still a solid RPG. Later Fable: The Lost Chapters came out. Having enjoyed the original version I had to play this one. For 20 bucks I got a more complete Fable, and found myself enjoying it again.

Fable begins with you, as a lad in Oakvale, a sleepy village in Albion. After playing a portion teaching you learn about the morality of the land as well as a few other things. After this tutorial, Oakvale is raided by bandits, you survive, few others do. From here you are taken to the Hero’s Guild. Where you train to become a great hero.

After you graduate it is up to you how you will carve your destiny. You can be a righteous warrior, a seedy assassin, or powerful mage. This is really where Fable shines. The freedom you have in what type of character you play as well as how you play it is excellent. Yes other games have done similar things. But in most of those games you choose these things before you start playing. This game reacts to your actions.

You also have control over the way your warrior looks. That includes haircuts, tattoos, and the weapons and armor you use. NPCS will even react to how you look! Woman and even men will either fall in love with you or be disgusted by you. Your prestige also plays a factor in this. The more popular you are the more people will like even if you are unattractive, kinda like real life.

By completing quests you gain prestige and become more popular. You can also show off any trophies that you have won on quests. You can also be an example to others. If being evil is your goal you can make the populace fear you. This can be achieved by taking evil quests. And by committing crimes and just being rude.

You even have freedom over your class. Drinking habits. And sex life. You can be hetero, homo, or even bi, sexual. You could even opt to be chaste.(But what fun would that be?) However before any of that sort of thing can take place you must marry. You can marry once in every village. For a total of 6 wives. (Why would you want more than one? Insanity?)

There are some discrepancies in the morality system, but more on that later. The plot is simple but enjoyable and to the point, with a few plot twists thrown in for good measure.

The Graphics in Fable are incredible. The detail put into the areas, monsters weapons, armor, and characters are great. The power of the Xbox is shown here in full force. The lighting effects are superb as are spell effects. It is hard to put into words how great this game looks, so I will stop now.

The Music and Sound department excels as well. With the main theme of Fable composed by Danny Elfman, how can you go wrong? The rest of the music is up to snuff as well. The voice acting is quite well done. The similar dialects of the inhabitants of Albion help make the world seem more real. The sound effects are very good. This is often neglected in RPGS not so here. Play it in 5.1 surround sound for maximum effect, if you have the means.

The Bad
The morality system could use some work. For example, killing your spouse only nets about 25 evil points, while getting a divorce gains about 1,000. What? Furthermore the game is designed for those who follow the good path. There should be an “Anti Heroes Guild” or something.

Why would you become evil after witnessing an evil act as a child? What is this a horror movie? Would Batman become evil? This game is short and can be cleared in under 20 hours even with the new content. This is not necessarily a bad thing however. But for most people it is.

The occasional bug kills gameplay. For instance once I was in a village and I was attacked by an assassin. Yet when I went to defend myself I was fined for murder. WTF?

The Bottom Line
Overall Fable: The Lost Chapters is an enjoyable RPG. Now with a $20 price tag, and 15% more Fable, you can at least try it. It may not be Lionhead’s best game but it is certainly worthy of the name of the legendary developer.

Xbox · by MasterMegid (723) · 2007

Lost Chapters can stay lost as far as I'm concerned

The Good
The music is beautiful and lovely to listen to. A soundtrack might be a good seller. Graphics, for the most part, are good.

The Bad
There's nothing really "bad", per se, about Lost Chapters, but I just couldn't get "into" it. I'm an adventure and RPG fan, and this game doesn't fit neatly into either of those genres.

I installed it and played for about 8 hours. Then left it there waiting, telling myself that there must be something to like there. There are so many "rave" professional reviews after all. But, the "big-head" kid who doesn't talk to anyone (really he has absolutely no dialog!) turned me off. The story (the little I saw of it) didn't keep me going either. The icon remained on my desktop for about a month but I always found something else to do. In the long run, I realized that I had no interest in continuing and uninstalled it.

I didn't "hate" it, though, so I guess that's saying something.

The Bottom Line
It's really difficult to write a lengthy review about a game you don't like. Sometimes it's just a feeling one gets or an irritating interface that stops the "fun" factor in its tracks. A buggy game, naturally, can be the culprit. For others, it's the lack of story or interesting characters that the player can relate to. Fable: The Lost Chapters fits into the latter category.

This is definitely NOT an adventure game .. and NOT a role-playing game either. At least in the traditional sense of those words. What IS it then? It is an action/adventure with the emphasis on action.

I should have known better. I didn't even look at the screenshots of the original Xbox Fable before buying Lost Chapters. I just took for granted that if other adventure gamers liked it, that I would too. I think I've learned a valuable lesson - don't buy anything that originally started out as a console game. And, of course, do a little more research before plunking down my hard-earned dollar.

Windows · by Jeanne (75975) · 2006

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Fable: The Lost Chapters on Mac coolfrost (24) Apr 9, 2008

Trivia

References

In the Lychfield graveyard, there is a tombstone that reads: "Yaggath Sonnog-Sleeper in the Dark, wake and rise." This is a reference to H.P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones of the Cthulhu mythos. Yog-Sothoth, is the most powerful and most mysterious of the elder gods. This is little surprise as Lionhead is based in the UK. Where Lovecraft has a huge following.

Title translation

A verbatim translation of the Chinese title is:

shen = god

gui = devil

yuyan = fable

shiluo de = lost

zhang = chapter

jie = segment

It's interesting to note that the title broaches the game's main issue, it being a "Fable of a God or a Demon" according to players' decisions.

Information also contributed by Little Yoda and MasterMegid

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeanne.

Macintosh added by coolfrost. Xbox added by JRK.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Mr. Sefe, UV, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger.

Game added September 21, 2005. Last modified February 5, 2024.