Fable

Save the world. Also, philander.

Honestly: one thing just led to another.

If you want to blame it on anything, blame it on insecurity. I'd decided I was too thin. A 34-year old hero, hailed throughout the realm of Albion and I still had the lithe figure of a boy, since my sporadic snacking hadn't done anything to fill me out. Something a little more determined was needed, I thought, as I cleared the shopkeeper out of meat and sat, gorging myself on thirty or so portions.

I went too far. I was morbidly obese. Oh dear.

So I decided to start my own personal fat-club, and proceeded to run everywhere. It did the trick, at the expense of making me visibly stink. However terminal BO wasn't enough to prevent the romantic adventure I was tumbling towards. You see, if I wasn't running, I'd have never had ended up jogging through the class room, welcomed by the welcoming waves of cheers from the kids and the instantly smitten glance of the teacher. The male teacher.

Now, I presumed that there'd be gay men in the game, but in all my time criss-crossing Albion I'd never seen evidence of it. I had to investigate. Some mild flirting and heroic posturing in front of the class and he's infatuated. He asks for a wedding ring. I, forgetting about my wife on the other side of the kingdom by simply recalling the adventurer's credo "What Goes On Tour, Stays On Tour", offer him one.

We're married. We move into my comfortable town flat. We have the sex.

All of a sudden, I'm bisexual!

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Except as soon as I've done it, I realise I probably shouldn't have. I need this apartment for another part of my increasingly unheroic plans and - the cynical part of my mind screams - I didn't even get a dowry off his clearly disapproving parents. I need to be out! So, leading him out on the town, I proceed to flirt outrageously with various adoring women, causing him to spit curses at them in displeasure. I even propose to a barmaid before him. It's not enough. So, at the end of my tether, I lead him back to the privacy of our own home where, away from the prying eyes of the town guards, I proceed to beat the hell out my partner. His cries and protestations grow louder, the blows increasingly hard to deliver as I ask myself What On Earth Am I Doing. "Where did it all go wrong," my husband mournfully cries, before demanding a divorce. Our tie is severed.

I wander out into the street. The greatest hero of Albion: just a dumb bastard wifebeater.

I feel dirty. Genuinely dirty.

I probably should get back to saving the world or something.

So... why have I wasted far too much of my word-count on this anecdote rather than saying how many levels the game has or whether it uses the left trigger for targeting or the right? Well, to pretentiously paraphrase top-potato headed poet "Big" Phil Larkin, to some that says nothing - to others that leaves nothing to be said. Either that little piece of game interests you or it doesn't. If it doesn't, it's unlikely Fable is the game for you. It's the fresh-faced poster-child for the irrelevancy is the new relevancy movement.

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Which isn't to say that it's all gloss. While clearly in the lineage of the Bullfrog high-concept games, (And can we stop solely crediting all their failings and successes to Molyneux, please?), its constructed around the framework of a solid action-RPG. Think, for ease of reference, Zelda cross-bred with Morrowind. However, if you're solely devoted to Getting To The End in a game, chances are you may find it somewhat slight. Its flaws - and most of those reside in the main action parts - will weigh more heavily, and the relatively short length of the game's main arc could make you feel a little unsatisfied. People have been known to quote ten hours from start to finish, which for any RPG is a little pitiful.

However, to steal a surprisingly funny line from a forumite over at Evil Avatar, boasting about how quick you can finish Fable is a little like a man boasting how quick they come during sex. We're very much in Journey over Destination territory.

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