The final entry in the bestselling Fable fantasy role-playing series is unlike any of the games that came before it. Where previous instalments were open-world affairs starring your created hero, Fable: The Journey is a linear, first-person adventure in which you take a kind of guided tour of Albion, the series’ fantasy setting based loosely on medieval Britain, on foot and in a horse-drawn cart. And instead of controlling a player-made hero whose appearance you’ve finely tuned – right down to the shape of their eyebrows – you play as plucky gypsy youth Gabriel.
More significantly, Fable: The Journey is played purely through Kinect, the Xbox 360’s motion-control system, usually known for the more obvious fitness games and party titles. Instead, this is a story-led, lengthy (nine or 10 hours long, say the developers) adventure – potentially the first game that fully embraces Microsoft’s motion-control system. When riding your horse, you steer, gee up and slow down by mimicking rein operations, and you cast magical spells by pointing and flicking. Treasure chests are flung open with the expected gesture, and when your horse – a glossy shire named Seren – is stuck with enemy arrows, you must pull them free.
The success of Fable: The Journey is far from assured. But although it may disappoint its fervent fans, it may find a new audience among young, energetic and open-minded Kinect players. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for.