Fable (Sniper)
Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

I have not confirmed this yet, but I believe that Lionhead licensed the "Brute Force" engine from Microsoft, because this title looks almost exactly like the aforementioned Brute Force: good texture quality, some nice pixel-shaded fluids, and some neat filtering effects that make things look like they're glowing. If you've played Brute Force, imagine that engine, except with a fantasy setting applied to it; grass, guys with swords, trees, and busty women in bustling towns.

All of the dialogue in Fable is voice-acted by a group of individuals with strong celtic accents, presumably to give the game some added Tolkein-esque mood. The music, on the other hand, is mediocre, cliched, fantasy orchestra stuff, and while it might seem fitting in a similarily cliched fantasy Hollywood movie, the developers could have picked better.

Fable's world consists of a series of boards connected by pathes. You can only wander the pathes on each board, unlike Morrowind or an MMORPG, where you can walk anywhere. The game uses a targeting system, much like in the 3d Zelda titles. You can do a normal attack or a more powerful strike. There are also a limited number of spells in the game, ranging from fireballs to healing effects. There are a number of unique concepts present, including aging, the ability to change you hair cut, get tatoos, get married, and have sex. Most of these aspects are just about pointless though, and the core gameplay is standard fare involving taking a quest and engaging in some hack 'n slash.

Fable is a pretty typical linear action RPG with a few gimmicks thrown in, gimmicks that could and should have been integrated with the gameplay in meaningful ways. As well, the combat engine could have used some work, particularily in the area of targetting (too easy to target friendlies), and the availability of combos, ala Ninja Gaiden. Fable is also very short: I beat it in a little over 12 hours, and I even did all the optional quests. And unlike Morrowind, there isn't really much to do outside of the main quest, adding to the linearity of the game. In the end, Fable is an enjoyable title, but is also far from being Peter Molyneux's best game.

Sniper's verdict: