A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fable: The Journey is an action adventure game that requires Microsoft's Kinect motion- and sound-sensing Kinect peripheral. Unlike other games in the Fable series, which are rated "M," this game is rated "T" because it lacks red blood effects, strong language, and the sexual overtones of its predecessors. It's suitable for a slightly younger audience starting around older tweens. Its fantasy violence is waged against a stable of decidedly non-human creatures, with the only gore taking the form of green blood that squishes out of large insects. There's also a female boss enemy with enormous, heaving breasts that may or may not be naked (her body's coloration makes it difficult to tell). Note, too, that there are some pretty mature narrative parts that see beloved characters perish and an old woman telling a story about a villain plucking her eyes out when she was a girl.
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What's it about?
The first Fable game to earn a Teen instead of a Mature rating from the ESRB, FABLE: THE JOURNEY strays from its predecessors role-playing roots to offer a Kinect-oriented action/adventure experience with a strong, linear narrative. Players take control of Gabriel, a young traveler who encounters Theresa, the ancient seer from previous Fable games, being attacked by a dark cloud of corruption. He saves her, and is in turn taken under the woman's wing and bestowed magical powers so that he can take on a growing evil threatening the world of Albion. Players spend half their time in the driver's seat of a horse cart, pulling the reins left and right to steer Gabriel's faithful horse. The other half of the game is set on the ground, where Gabriel throws magical spells at attacking enemies and uses \"push\" magic to manipulate the environment and solve simple puzzles. A separate arcade mode allows players to retry many of the game's action sequences, attempting to post better scores.
Is it any good?
Fable: The Journey is a deliberate attempt to deliver a Kinect experience that would appeal to so-called "core" gamers -- folks who tend to prefer traditional controller-based games. It succeeds in some ways. The story, for example, is well crafted and compelling. You'll care about the characters and their fates. Plus, the action sequences have a thrilling, frenetic quality typically lacking in simpler motion-control games. It can be an engaging experience when the game is firing on all cylinders.
Sadly, though, the motion and voice controls often don't meet core gamers' stiff demands. This is a game designed from the ground up to be playable from a sitting position (it's the sort of game best consumed in hour-plus sessions), yet we experienced frustrating problems with accuracy when spell-casting and proper movement detection when tending to the horse's reins. The result is a game that tends to become aggravating right at its most compelling moments. It may be worthwhile for Kinect devotees, but its intended audience of traditional gamers will likely be left cold.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about movement in games. Did this game make you feel like you were really driving a horse and cart? Or casting magic? What ways could motion control be used outside of games? Do you think it could help students learn, or workers practice doing dangerous tasks?
Families can also discuss violence in media. Do you put fantasy violence on the same level as gritty military violence? In what ways are the two different?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Hobbies: pets
- Skills: Health & Fitness: body awareness, movement
Responsibility & Ethics: integrity
Thinking & Reasoning: solving puzzles
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: October 9, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Horses and Farm Animals
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Blood, Mild Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.