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Fable

Fable is a game unlike any other you're likely to have experienced. If developer Big Blue Box can reach all the dizzying goals it's set itself, Xbox owners are in for a revolutionary treat.

But that's one big, fat, sweaty Rik Waller of an 'if', and barely a day goes by without one developer or another promising us the Earth then delivering something that amounts to a landfill site in Milton Keynes.

So why should we believe? For one, gaming overlord Peter Molyneux has been heavily involved in the project and has already said: "It's gonna be the best game ever." Right. More importantly, we've seen it ourselves, and although still very early, man, does it look cool.

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GROW OLD DISGRACEFULLY
Fable is an 'arcade RPG', to quote the developer, which offers the immediacy of a console action title, with the depth and breadth of an epic adventure. Beginning the game as a young whipper-snapper of 12 who discovers his mother has been kidnapped and his father killed, you must embark on a massive rescue mission which will ultimately require you to save mankind itself. No pressure, then.

The amazing thing about Fable is that this journey takes the best part of a lifetime, a lifetime which passes by before your very eyes, as your hero grows into a 60-year-old man. And the way you play the game dramatically affects what you will eventually become - behave like a noble and powerful hero and you'll grow into a muscle-bound demi-god, adored by the people. Choose stealth, cowardice and the night as bedfellows, however, and you will be a scrawny, pallid shadow of a man - and so on.

Built around this is the promise of a thrilling, varied adventure across a luscious fairytale world, filled with innovation and imagination, that mixes an engaging narrative with frequently frantic action. With the likelihood of Xbox Live downloadable content, transfer of hero data between Xboxes and much more besides, Fable is a title that could redefine the way role-players are made.

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