Stands out from the crowd

Set 50 years after the events of Fable 3, Lionhead has once again brought us to the magical land of Albion, this time as Gabriel, a young man, accompanied (after an early in-game accident) only by his trusty steed, Seren, and mystical 300-year-old seer Theresa.

Fable: The Journey

For: Xbox 360 + Kinect

From: Lionhead Studios/Microsoft

Four stars out of five

Guess what ... Albion is in great peril and in desperate need of a hero - again.

Sound familiar?

Well don't worry. If you've not played a Fable game before, it doesn't matter.

And if you have, it doesn't matter, because there's one big difference between this and its predecessors ... Kinect. Apart from initial set-up, this game is completely controller-free. All your interaction with the game is done through hand and arm movements - and it's pretty darn good.

You are broken in gently through a series of in-game tutorials, so by the time the action starts you are more than ready.

Gabriel travels through Albion on a horse-drawn cart, pulled by his aforementioned steed, Seren, and steered by you. You crack imaginary reins with both arms to get going and then pull on each one to steer. Sprinting is achieved by another quick flick and it all works rather well.

Not all of your time is spent on your backside, though.

After picking up your mysterious passenger, you learn you are meant for greater things and given magical gauntlets which enable you to cast spells, both offensive and defensive, to aid your quest. You can fire energy bolts with one arm and push enemies about with the other, eventually picking up an arsenal of five different spells to help you on your way.

The game itself is pretty linear; you don't get to choose where you go, you just follow a set path both on your cart and on foot, but it doesn't get boring as the scenery is beautiful to look at as you go past, but mainly because the story is really engaging. Once you've met Theresa you really can't shut her up - she acts as a sort of in-game narrator and guide and the tales of disaster and woe she tells are involving and interesting and make you want to carry on.

It's not the fastest-paced game you'll ever play, but you'll probably be glad of the rest between fights as throwing fireball after fireball and waving your arms around for a few minutes can get a bit tiring.

The whole Kinect interaction works really well - although it pays to calibrate the hardware properly, and, as the game suggests, sit yourself in front of the TV, but aiming spells all around the screen worked the majority of the time.

Overall, it's a good game, and different enough from the rest of the crowd to be a great diversion and well worth your time to give it a go.



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