Review: Fable III
The year is, well nobody quite knows really. Fifty years have passed since the last “Hero of Albion” saved the world from Lucien and his ill-founded attempts to do “nobody really knows what but definitely something evil, probably, maybe.” As with all heroes that are really old, they keel over and die, but not before leaving two children. Your brother Logan, and you. This is the setting then for Daikat– err, Fable 3.
- Worth The Time?Yes if you enjoy happy, quirky games. No if you’re more for serious, hardcore steel-balls games.
- Things LovedAbundance of colour and vibrance to the game. Relatively good graphics by today’s standards. A compelling story at times. Lots of things to do. A unique menu system. British comedy at its best. John Cleese.
- Things HatedToo easy at times. Story takes a while to really get going. Interactions with citizens can get repetitive.
- RecommendationConsider if you will, an old comedy series from England. Let’s use Mr Bean since everyone has watched that at some point in their lives. The show doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers up tonnes of laughs without being remarkably, well, anything. It’s not the pinnacle of comedy, not the pinnacle of storylines, of audio or special effects. It’s at best quite decent, but you still would watch it because it’s funny and charming and you enjoy it. That’s the Fable series in a nutshell. It is a funny, charming and quite delightful series that some hate while others adore. You’d buy this game then, for more of that. And if that’s not what you want, then just stay away. It’s as simple as, well, that.
- Name: Fable 3
- Genre: RPG
- Players: 1 or 2 (split screen)
- Multiplayer: Online Co-op
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Developer: Lionhead Studios
- Publisher: Microsoft Games
- Price: 29 October 2010
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Logan (pictured above, sitting pretty) has been the King of Albion for four years now and you get to take the reins of a prince or princess (who’s totally just a prince in drag with a girl’s voice anyway) that is his younger but obviously totally under-appreciated and equally talented sibling. You also get a butler. How lucky of you. Anyway, as is always the case with prologues, some stuff happens and you make some decisions that you totally don’t actually get to make but are rather forced into, if at all, and then you end up out of the castle and looking to do what all people on the run do: start a revolution. That’s sort of the whole idea behind Fable 3, as far as the marketing has gone. Start a revolution. Isn’t there a song that could apply here?
I could stop right here (I probably should but I enjoy dishing out torture so much) and say that this review really is unnecessary for one simple reason. Oranges. Also, those who have played the previous Fable games and enjoyed them are probably going to pick this up and those who have played the previous Fable games and hated them are not. And there’s no changing that, really. Instead, I’m going to point this at the curious middle ground of people who haven’t played a Fable game before but enjoy games of this kind, or people who have played Fable and need a final say on whether or not to spend their money on it. Here it is: Yes. But if you must have your reasons then by all means, read on.
Fable 3 is a game that wasn’t highly advertised nor hyped up for months prior to release, at least as much as its predecessors were. It contained very few new features but lots of elements from the previous games that were tweaked and refined for a better experience. What has resulted is something that is either hit or miss depending on the person you are. If you enjoy games that have you frustrated, throwing your controller at your screen (which probably doesn’t appreciate that, I should add) and raging about how you just died AGAIN, don’t play this game. If you enjoy games with a complex story that involves lots of intrigue, multi-linear progression and alternate endings, don’t play this game. If you enjoy looking at health bars, don’t play this game.
If however you don’t fall into any of those categories, then boy do I have news for you!
Fable 3 is a light-hearted game, and as such it doesn’t really seem to take itself too seriously.
For one there is no real health bar, although you do take damage and too much of it gets you “knocked out” as it’s called, which will leave you with a pretty scar on your face, and a missed achievement. However this can easily be avoided by simply, and I don’t even joke, rolling around the place. Let’s call it dodging attacks to sound badass. You also have no mana bar (or whatever else your respective game of choice wants to call it) for your magic attacks. This basically (and game-breakingly) means that you can cast to your heart’s content, effectively raining down magic upon enemies. And in this game you get to what’s called “weave” spells together meaning you can cast for example fire and lightning to get the damage and effects of both. This makes the game painfully easy during combat. The game mechanic then tries to accommodate this by throwing hordes of enemies for you to roll away from and then bathe in whatever spell you may choose (although there isn’t really much to choose from), which in turn can be charged up for extra kick at the risk of leaving you exposed to more attacks the longer you’re charged.
Another constant star of the Fable games is the eerily funny but still quite weird British humour that is employed. At many points in the game, you will find yourself hard pressed to keep a straight face, opting to instead chuckle furiously at whatever the joke of the moment is. This works in the game’s favour and keeps you wanting more without really getting tired of the style of humour that is presented to you. It also makes for some rather memorable cut-scenes, especially later on.
Interaction with the citizens of Albion is also more simplified and personal this time around, opting for context sensitive “good, bad and rude” expressions with the odd “Propose Marriage” and “Propose Sex” thrown in for good measure. Often this gets repetitive but really just the quaint cuteness of it all is enough to keep you enthralled.
I CAN HAZ PLOT TWISTZ?
Okay this part is something that needs to be touched on but not too much in order to not spoil your game. The game sort of divides itself into two halves story-wise. There’s the revolution part at the beginning. This is slow to kick off and incorporates the majority of your game where you recruit allies by making promises to them in exchange for their help in revolting against the throne. Later on however, it really picks up nicely and gets much, much darker, in all senses of the word. After you revolt and stop Logan from “nobody really knows what but definitely something evil, probably, maybe,” the second half of the game begins. Let’s call this the ruling section. There are decisions to be made and you’re the one making all the calls (with special appearances by one of your “friends” from the previous game). This is especially where the game’s otherwise partially encapsulated karma system comes into things. You get to either keep or break those promises that you made earlier, to your allies, and basically show the kind of nice guy or jerk you really are. But there’s a reason for it, you have to defend Albion from “nobody really knows what but definitely something evil, probably, maybe.” I’ll stop there at the risk of spoiling any more.
On your way through the game, you are guided along what is called the “Road to Rule” which is a metaphorical representation of your progress in the game’s first half, and contains lots of chests with goodies for you to open and unlock. You unlock these chests using what is called “Guild Seals”, effectively “Fable 3’s experience” which you can obtain from anything like battles to completing quests to simply interacting with people.
This game has ten metric tonnes of collectibles. You’ll effectively double your game time AT LEAST, by collecting stuff all through your play time. You also bag many achievements along the way, and attempt what is easily the most hilarious quest in gaming yet. The gnomes, they’re out there! There are also fifty unique weapons to collect, all with their own power-ups, only twenty six of which actually exist in YOUR game effectively meaning you’ll need to get on Live if you want them all. The demon doors make their return also, but good luck getting even a few of them open this time around.
The game isn’t perfect. The story takes a while to get going, the combat is overly simplified, that dog is forever barking at you to dig something up and interacting with people gets repetitive. But for all its shortcomings, the game still ends up being fun, quirky and able to provide enough unique experiences along the way.
A special note should be made on the menu system. There isn’t one. Instead, you’re teleported to a place called The Sanctuary, which serves the purpose of being your pause menu, except it’s an actual place in the world where you can walk around in real time, visit various rooms containing such things as your clothing items, weapons, spells, treasure (one huge pile of it), and even buy DLC. Yes, there is a room, A ROOM, where you can buy DLC. You also have a butler voiced by one John Cleese. Need I say more?