I blew the dust off of my Kinect for this?
After Fable 3, the question on everyone’s mind probably wasn’t “when are we getting a Kinect Fable game?” After the disaster that was Fable: Heroes, Lionhead are in need of a win but I’m not sure a Kinect game was their best route back into the spotlight. Here we are anyway, I had a chance to check out a portion of Fable: The Journey and, well, it certainly is a Kinect game.
Set fifty years after the events of Fable 3, the player controls a man named Gabriel who has been separated, along with his horse and cart, from the rest of his caravan. Gabriel comes across Theresa, a seer who has been wounded by a darkness called The Corruption. The Corruption is taking over Albion, and Gabriel must take her to the Tattered Spire to restore her power. Along the way, Gabriel will find some magic gauntlets that allow him to cast a few spells and this is how you will fight.
Since the section of the game I got my hands on focused on the combat scenarios of Fable: The Journey I jumped right into battle. Your main spell will be called Bolt and is cast by raising your hand and pushing it toward the screen. This fires a ball of energy that mildly damages enemies and will be your primary attack so get used to throwing a lot of these at the screen. Later you’ll have access to augment your Bold spell into a Fireball spell by yelling “Fireball” at the Kinect. Fireball is a much more powerful spell, but it takes a few moments to switch to and it’s also tiresome to yell Fireball repeatedly. Not to mention what the neighbors will think after a few hours of this.
You can also block incoming projectiles by raising your left arm up like you’re holding a shield and use your left arm to control your Push spell. Push can stun enemies to stop them from getting to you and can also be used to drag things around on the screen. You’ll need to use this spell to solve puzzles, or to drag enemy shields out of the way.
My real problem with what I played of Fable: The Journey is that, despite all of Lionhead’s assurances to the contrary, it’s simply an ‘on-rails’ shooter. In fact, it’s a very slow and plodding rail shooter that uses heavily scripted enemy sequences. Sometimes you have to curve your shots around cover to hit an enemy, but these situations are always obvious. If you need to throw your Magic Shard spear spell at something, the camera will focus on it automatically and there will be little no consequence to missing or taking too long to attack.
I’ll reserve judgement until I can play the whole thing, but I didn’t have fun with the combat sections in Fable: The Journey and I’m not confident that the rest of the game elements can make up for this. We’ll see though, stay tuned for a full review sometime around October 9th, 2012, when the full game is released.