I remember the first time I picked up Fable, lying down on the couch, Xbox controller in hand, already captivated by the beautiful world of Fable and the sweetness of the soundtrack. I was immersed and I was amazed, and still, almost fifteen years later, I still cherish this game.
By all rights, Fable is a bad game in terms of design. Combat is clunky, there is little punishment for your actions, and for a game that prides itself on tough decisions and the morality of your character, the moral dilemmas that the player must choose are trivial at best. Systems are easily abusable and the scenarios you find yourself in are laughable. Yet, the game is enjoyable. Not through any sort of ingenious gameplay, but through the absurdity.
It is hard to believe that such a shallow game would be so enjoyable, a game where you can get a wife by doing nothing more than cycling through the same set of emotes, a game where you can abuse villages day in and day out and laugh at their reactions.
The world of Albion is amazing in itself, and it is worth a playthrough just to absorb the scenery and listen to the music. From the main city that suffers a debilitating economic divide, Bowerstone, to the haunting Witchwood and its lycanthrope problem.
Fable always tries to aim for a middle-ground between absurd and serious in its setting. A prime example for this is the text used for people’s headstones in a cemetery. Here a few examples of Fable’s hilarious writing:
“You’re standing on my head.”
“Thank you for reading this grave. Now bugger off.”
“No man can hold his breath for ten minutes.”
Metacritic gave this game a solid 85. I disagree, this game is terrible from a game design perspective. Doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable, though.