Let’s get this straight from the off. If you played Fable on Xbox, zipped through it in under ten hours and felt horribly disappointed, The Lost Chapters isn’t going to swing your opinion around. If you poured scorn on Lionhead’s flawed-but-adored RPG, compared it unfavourably to Zelda, or wrote abusive posts on message boards because the trees in the forest didn’t grow and age as promised, then you’re still going to moan about what’s missing from the PC version. Some people just don’t get Fable, and I must admit they’re not entirely wrong. The core gameplay is surprisingly simplistic, it still isn’t an epic in the Final Fantasy league, and some of its most-lauded features are, when it comes down to it, really quite superficial. This is as true of The Lost Chapters as it was of the original release.
That said, I think it’s a wonderful game.
You see, what you get out of Fable depends heavily on what you put in. The Lost Chapters adds content – new side-quests, missions, items, monsters, styles, expressions and a whole new region – but if you just start playing and blaze through the central story then you’re really missing the point. It’s a little like going to Rome and storming around the main sites in three days, when anyone sensible would take a week, chill out, and just spend some time eating ice creams, walking the streets and soaking up the culture. If you rush Fable, you’re going to be slightly disappointed.
Peter Molyneux has always talked about Fable in terms of a game that makes you feel like a hero, and that means more than just the monster-killing, dungeon-looting action of a typical RPG. It means doing great deeds, building enormous muscles, spending time in the taverns striking poses to adoring wenches. It means getting a great haircut, putting on a shiny suit of armour and getting a manly tattoo on your chest. It might mean buying a house or finding a wife, exposing the dark secrets of a harsh regime or just spreading a little love throughout the world. Or, if you have a sinister bent, it might mean shaving your head, growing a long beard and rocking the Ming the Merciless look, dragging innocents off to a macabre temple to be sacrificed, killing traders and guards or just getting drunk and throwing your weight around.