"Fable: The Journey" hasn't received the best reception by the gaming community after it was announced at E3 2011. Many Fable fans felt Lionhead Studios was bastardizing their beloved RPG series into a dumbed-down on-rails shooter for Microsoft's Kinect. Fans of the series need not worry as Lionhead hasn't made it a "House of the Dead" with a Fable twist to it as there's an actual game to be played in "Fable: The Journey."
A Lionhead Studios rep was on-hand during my demo time with "Fable: The Journey" to help guide me through the game's opening tutorials. The demo started off by interacting with the entrance to a cave that required me to cast some spells at particular points of the entrance. A sea-green orb meant I had to cast my force spell, blue meant my shock spell, and red my fireball. Each spell was easy and intuitive to cast as I was extending my arms like a true wizard would in order to conjure up my magical abilities. The fireball took a little more effort as I was required to wave my right arm in order to charge up the spell. Once my spell took the shape of a red fireball, I knew I was ready to let loose the powerful spell. I was also informed yelling "Fireball!" or "Flame on!" would allow me to prepare my fireball spell, but doing so in the middle of a crowded convention was nearly impossible.
After I mastered the secrets of the cave's entrance, I was on my way to the inside of the cave. The first enemies I come across are some large bugs, which I easily took care of by using my "Force" spell to fling them into the cave's abyss with very little ease. A stronger bug wasn't so easily disposed, which required me to attack it with my shock spell. The bug never stood a chance.
After playing exterminator, I ran into some Hollow Men who weren't too pleased with my entering their peaceful cave. Three Hollow Men came after me, which required me to defend myself with my magical powers. I was able to pull the Hollow Men's head and arms off of his body, which easily disabled them and made them easy pray to my more powerful offensive spells. Shooting a simple fireball wouldn't take all of them down, so I was instructed how to perform an aftertouch to my fireball spell, which would allow for the fireball spell to spread and hit all of the Hollow Men at once. That certainly did the trick.
I continue to make my way through the cave, learning a number of new abilities along the way such as dodging by moving my body to the left or right, defending myself from oncoming attacks with a quick raise of my forearm in a "what time is it?" motion and a devastating ice shard attack that is performed by pulling back my right arm and throwing it forward. It's a good thing I learned some more abilities along the way as it wasn't too long until I was face-to-face with a giant troll.
The boss battle with the troll tested my abilities of of conjuration as well as my defensive skills as he flung large boulders at me with very little effort, pounded the ground which resulted in a large shockwave to be sent my way and even summoning smaller enemies to take my flurry of attacks away from him for a moment. The battle lasted five to ten minutes, but once the troll received enough damage, I was able to use my "Force" spell to grab onto a large sword conveniently hanging above the troll, and pull it down to perform the final attack.
"Fable: The Journey" will have a full 12 - 15 hour campaign that will offer a completely new experience for Fable fans which I felt was a unique experience when compared to previous games. Just being able to play a Kinect title while being seated was an absolute treat for me and helped in controlling the amount of fatigue my arms felt during play. Best of all, the game will also come with an "Arcade Mode" that offers a pure shooting experience that majority of on-rails games are known for. I personally am excited about this mode since my wife probably won't play the main storyline in "Fable: The Journey," but seeing as she's a big fan of on-rails shooters, I'm sure she'll get some serious play out of its Arcade Mode.
"Fable: The Journey" will have a demo released on September 17th and will be made available as an Xbox 360 Kinect title on October 9th in North and South America, Asia and Australia with an October 12th release date for Europe.