Sorry for the double post.
I think I've settled on which PC games I'll be playing, possibly my last two for 2022!
Fable: The Lost Chapters
I had this back in the day on the XBOX, but was extremely disappointed with it as it was infamously a pale shadow of what had been promised in interviews, etc. prior to release. Revisiting it now, it's a decent little action RPG with a charming look and atmosphere. I remember being very disappointed back in 2004 that you were stuck traveling on paths and roads in the game and surrounded by insurmountable invisible walls, but I don't mind it now. It feels more focused than a sprawling empty open world.
However, at only a few hours in, I'm already noticing how limited character development is. You're either a fighter, archer, or wizard. There are thief skills, but the game is so combat-focused that I can't imagine a pure thief build working out very well. Outside of combat, you can buy property, flirt, and get married, but that stuff has zero interest for me in a game.
In order to even get this run on my PC (Win 10 64-bit), I have to switch my sound output to either my laptop's internal soundcard, or an external DAC I used for listening to music. Playing with my default device (Sound Blaster X5) causes the game to crash after loading. Other than that, it runs fine.
Exile: Escape from the Pit
I put a little more time into this. I do like it, but must admit that the interface is poor (worse than Gold Box games for instance). It is mostly controllable with the keyboard, but there are a handful of things that require using a mouse (aiming arrows or spells), so it feels very clunky. It does have a "party info" screen, but all it shows is each character's HP and SP. All other information is spread all over the place, across several (small) screens for each character. It also provides absolutely no information on equipment, which is a pet peeve of mine. Some of it makes sense (iron should be better than bronze), but I would have preferred more information.
Outside of the interface, though, I really like this! Great exploration, combat is alright, and party development is a blast. I've slowly been exploring west and north of the starting area, and found some good leads for quests. The game does a decent job of giving you just enough information to point you in the right direction, without spelling out what you need to do. One thing I really like is that there are certain tiles in the games with small white dots on them, which indicate that they have something there worth checking out, either some text or even an encounter. I stepped on one tonight, and it told me that I saw a swampy island to the SE with what seemed like people walking around on it. Later, I got a lead on a quest where someone wanted me to get something from a lizardman island SE from their fort. Bingo! It's not rocket science putting this stuff together, but it definitely feels better than the game just marking the objective on my map or whatever.