Monday, July 11, 2011

A rueful look back at E3, Part 1: Fable: The Journey

Pointless Side Quest is back in action, and to commemorate this momentous occasion in the world of obscure video game humor blogs we'll be taking a look back at the second most momentous yearly occasion in the world of video games, the E3 show. So sit back, turn the date on your computer and any other nearby electronic devices back a month, and start gulping down the dissociative substance of your choice until you're confused enough to forget the actual date so that you can enjoy the excitement of hearing the hottest news from E3 for the first time. Today we kick things off with:

Fable: The Journey

Lionhead Studios revealed the next game in the Fable franchise, Fable: The Journey, and showed a short game play demo. The game is built around and will require the Xbox360 Kinnect. The demo was distinctly unimpressive, revealing game play that apparently revolves around moving along a predetermined path, being narrated at by an old woman,  and occasionally thrusting your arm outward to magically blast enemies like some cross between Gandalf and Phoenix Wright.

But, for once, this isn't just about my dislike of motion controls, or my lingering resentment at the disappointing bill of goods we were sold with the original Fable, or my numerous unpleasant memories that involve being stuck on a long vehicle trip sitting next to someone who keeps talking and talking and talking until I'm ready to stab him in the throat with a shiv carved from a tire pressure gauge and take my chances with whatever happens next as our now-driverless car continues to careen down the highway at 65 miles per hour. It was poorly received by many, and Lionhead's Peter Molyneux has since said that the demo did not include the game's navigation controls and that the actual game allows much more freedom than the demo suggests.  Which is a vague statement, since in a qualitative sense any increase from “none whatsoever” to “more than none whatsoever” can be a profound change, but one can hope.

And one should hope, because as it is now it looks like it's basically an HD version of Operation Wolf, if the 1987 arcade classic were transplanted to a generic fantasy setting and had its cool mounted force-feedback lightgun removed and replaced with a somewhat more dignified U-Force.

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