Playing Fable The Journey reminded me of the saying that "A big part of being a parent is sharing the sentimentality of your childhood with your children". While I hope there is more to my motivation than simply indoctrinating my offspring with the things I used to like when I was their age, I can see a lot of truth in this.
There is nothing quite like seeing the excitement and enjoyment on their faces in a way that reminds you of how much you enjoyed something when you were young. Lego, Star Wars, country walks, apple picking, baking or science experiments the list is endless.
Sometimes this is frustrating though because certain experiences need the player or watcher to be the right age. In my household we've just taken the step of showing our kids The Fellowship of the Rings in perpetration for The Hobbit. It has a PG certificate and watching it together as a family the kids seem to be enjoying the world of Middle Earth without any untoward affects.
I had the same frustration with video-games. I'm a big Fable fan and have played through all three games a number of times. But there didn't seem to be an easy way to share the experience with the kids. There was just too much fighting, killing and sex -- even though it is all very tastefully done.
Fable: The Journey (now £20 on Amazon) offers a nice way to introduce younger players to the world of Albion with a lighter take on the combat and the sex and reproductive side of the game removed. But more than a dumbed down version of the big console experience it was the story that Fable: The Journey offered that made it a good fit for my family.
You play as Gabriel, a young man separated from his tribe called in to fight for the survival of Albion. The kids enjoyed the storytelling and Kinect controls that let you not only hold the reigns of the cart but cast spells and explore the world.
The star of the game for us is by far Seren, the horse. Through a variety of storytelling and interactive techniques you soon establish a real bond with your life-long companion. The whole family was heavily invested in her survival and well being.
While some reviewers have been sidetracked by the accuracy of the controls or whether it was an on-rails game, I think the real story here is one of characterisation. On this level the game is a huge success with my kids (and me), and I heartily recommend it. I'm also looking forward to taking the next step with my kids into the wider world of Albion once they are old enough.
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