Game of the Week
Fable: The Journey, 12 cert, Microsoft, Xbox (requires Kinect) ***
Fable: The Journey is somewhat of an anomaly. It uses Kinect, yet doesn’t require you to fling yourself around the room. Rather, it’s a more sedate trip into motion-sensitive gaming – at least at first anyway.
The controller looks at hand-tracking rather than full-body, so you can do it all sitting down, but once the story gets going, you really feel the effort.
It eases you in by getting you to perform some basic tasks – brush Seren the horse, cracking reins and getting to grips with basic steering. But this is all just the preamble, although you should get comfortable with these moves, as a good chunk of your time is spent holding the reins.
The story gets going when, as Gabriel, you get left behind from the convoy and have to make your own way home, through the old paths, and into danger. Gabriel is rather a reluctant hero: when you first meet the seer Theresa it looks like Gabriel will leave her behind. He wises up, though, which starts on you on a series of chases trying to escape the evil that is spreading through the land.
Fable: The Journey tries to be an epic adventure, and a lot of the time it almost succeeds. The addition of Kinect makes it more absorbing for the most part, allowing you to cast spells and battle against enemies in a way that puts you inside the game. The spells can be upgraded through collecting enough “experience orbs” along the way.
As a quest-driven game that marches inevitably on to the conclusion, Fable: The Journey offers no open world to explore, with all its moral choices. There are side missions to tackle, indicated by white light effects on the ground, but the game is nowhere near as absorbing as the previous Fable instalments.
If Kinect sends your frustration levels through the roof, best to avoid it. While it may not be the most problematic of Kinect’s releases, it’s not always as accurate as you’d like.
Treated for what it is – a spinoff that will fill a Fable gap for a little while – it’s worth playing.