Monday, Nov. 29, 2004


What if there were a game in which every choice you made—even the seemingly insignificant ones—nudged you slightly toward good or evil? That's the moral question that has haunted legendary designer Peter Molyneux for many years, and ITALIC (for Xbox; $44.95) is his latest attempt to grapple with it.

Early on, the scene is set in the village of your character's childhood, where you have the freedom to choose whether or not to take the side of a bully, rat out a cheating husband or dutifully watch a valuable set of crates. The consequences stretch into your adulthood, by which time you will be either a noble hero for hire or a terrifying rogue.

The game is far from perfect—there aren't nearly enough diversions from the main story line, for one thing—but in the absence of another Legend of Zelda game, Fable is the best-looking, most addictive fantasy role-playing epic of the year.

Ideal for: Players eager to lose themselves in an alternate reality