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Fable III (Xbox 360)

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Genre: Action & Shooter / Video Game for Xbox 360 / Exempt / Release Date: 2010-10-29 / Published by Microsoft

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    18 Reviews
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      26.08.2013 11:29
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      Not one that I would have gone out to purchase

      Microsoft have started giving out free games to those members who have a gold live account. The first game given out free was Fable 3, I've never played any of the Fable series but was interested to try something different.

      ~*~ Background ~*~

      This game is set 50 years after Fable 2, you now play as the prince or princess (you have the choice at the start of the game) of Albion. King Logan, your brother, has taken a nasty turn and is going through an evil state ruling the land. The game is developed by Lionhead studios and was released October 2010.

      ~*~ The game ~*~

      After choosing which gender you wish to play as, you have to leave the castle with Walter, your mentor, and Jasper, your butler, as you leave you realise you are in fact a hero. The whole game is split into three sections really, this first one is all about travelling around Albion trying to encourage people to join you in a revolution against King Logan. You make your way around different areas doing quests and favours for people and in return, they will join you in your bid to over throw Logan. Once you have enough followers you over throw King Logan from the throne and you become king or queen (depending on gender). The second part of the game is the most disappointing for me, I'll try not to spoil it too much but something is going to happen exactly a year after you become ruler of Albion, you have a year to prepare for this thing but the days go by so quick, you start with 365 days to go, then after doing a few things this jumps down to 200 and something, and after 112 days to go, it goes straight to d-day, this left me knee dip in poop! The third part of the game is very much dealing with what happened in the second part.

      As you play through the game you will realise it's all about good and evil. Interacting with people will give you the option of doing a nice interaction or nasty one. It soon becomes annoying when you are interacting with people as it doesn't give you the choice of which good or bad interaction you do, I went for the good the majority of the time but the first interaction it lets you do is usually dance, I want to hug and play pat-a-cake with people but you don't get the choice. Once you've become ruler of Albion, you can choose to be good and keep your promises to the people who followed you through the revolution or you can choose to be evil.

      One thing which I find quite frustrating is the lack of any type of inventory. If you press start you will return to your sanctuary where you will find the map and four doors leading to other rooms, an armoury, dressing room, gold room and shop. You can find all of your weapons and clothes in these rooms but if you are in the middle of a fight, for example, you can't quickly change between spells of guns so you have to hope you are carrying what you want to use otherwise you've got the lengthy process of returning to your sanctuary then choosing what you want to use before you can carry on. Also when in combat you get an icon come up with what different potions you have, this is the only opportunity you have to see how many health potions you have so you better hope you've got enough! One thing you get every time you return to the sanctuary is Jasper telling you to check out the sanctuary shop, it gets quite annoying as it's like he's hounding you in to buying the DLC.

      You get a dog that follows you around wherever you go, he will bark every time there is a treasure chest or dig spot nearby. I found this quite useful at the start of the game when I didn't have much in the way of gold or anything but as the game progresses it's just annoying, I don't want to dig anymore spots but he still barks whenever we are near one. He is also meant to help during combat too but I never see him do much, once or twice he has finished off an enemy for me but I wouldn't say he is a great help, more of a hindrance who is just there watching.


      ~*~ Combat and levelling up ~*~

      There are three different weapons you can use during combat, melee, ranged and magic. It's easy to switch between these whilst in battle as they each have a different button and you can press whatever one you want to use. You come across different melee and ranged weapons as you progress through the game, from shops or simply digging them up from dig spots. The spells, however, can only be unlocked from the road to rule. The fighting is quite a disappointment really, you can hold in buttons to charge a stronger attack but the majority of battles usually only involves repeatedly pressing each button over and over again until your enemies are dead.

      The levelling up system is a bit of a weird one, you earn guild seals by interacting with people, completing quests and fighting then you can use these to open up chests on the road to rule. These chests contain upgrades to your ranged, melee and magic attacks, different spells and upgrades to jobs such as playing the lute. There are more chests which unlock different interactions you can do with people, but as I said earlier, you still don't get the option of which interaction you are doing so it's a bit of a waste. There are also family packs and such which allow you to marry, have children, adopt and the like.

      ~*~ Sight and sound ~*~

      The graphics aren't anything spectacular, but aren't bad at the same time. They are just ok, the world looks nice and the different forest and industrial type areas of the map are well thought out. When it comes to the different people you meet across the land, these are quite similar, the majority of villagers, such as crate carriers, look the same. The buildings have a good design and most features haven't been left out.

      The background music is nice and I like that it seems to get tenser when a battle gets under way. There are a lot of celebrity voice actors used in Fable 3. John Cleese is the main one being the voice of Jasper, your butler, you see him every time you return to the sanctuary so his voice does get a little boring. Some of the others include Jonathon Ross, Jason Manford and Nicholas Hoult.


      ~*~ Achievements and DLC ~*~

      A total of 1250 gamer points are available across 60 different achievements. The majority of these achievements unlock as you get to certain places in the game, when certain people decide to join you along the revolution, by time you get to king or queen you will have accumulated a lot of the achievements without even trying. A few of the achievements are for collecting things, finding all 50 gnomes, 50 rare books, 30 Auroran flowers and all of the keys, these are quite boring and I'd rather not explore every single nook and cranny of the game looking for these! As you go through the game you can also unlock a Fable outfit for your Xbox live avatar to wear.

      There are a few DLC packs available if you wish to add on to the game. There are two packs which add extra quests to the game both of these cost no more than 1000 MSP (Microsoft points) combined and there are a variety of outfits and weapon packs available to buy also. With Jasper almost making you visit the sanctuary shop every time you visit the sanctuary, I won't be buying anything extra as it feels a little forced.


      ~*~ Multiplayer and bugs ~*~

      You can play co-op on Fable 3, my boyfriend and I used to play when he was at his house and me at mine, we went around and helped each other on quests and got married and had our very own family (glad it's just a game!). The whole multiplayer experience was ok, sometimes it would get frustrating, if one of us was away for the controller and not following the other when the wanted to progress on the quest, it would quite often say 'waiting for the other player' so we'd have to wait until the other one was back and ready to go before carrying on. Other than that there wasn't any other problems.

      There are a few glitches, when talking to villagers the mouth movements aren't always in sync and can prove quite annoying as I always look out for it now. The biggest bug I've come across is that sometimes, the golden dust trail which points you in the right direction to go for quests and things occasionally disappears so you have absolutely no idea which way to go. I just run around in the area and hope that it reappears and most of the time it does reappear before I get bored and go off to do something else. Something else I encountered quite regularly was when playing multiplayer, my character would just float and not do anything, it would move around but that's all it would do, even during combat, she would just float there, you couldn't actually see the combat going on unless you reloaded which was a pain.


      ~*~ Overall ~*~

      Despite the game not being all that great, I've still racked up over 48 hours of gameplay, I think that's down to the fact of restarting it again because of the lousy second part of the main storyline. If that part wasn't such a let-down I don't think I would have played it through again. The ending isn't that fantastic and the game is really easy to play, so if you are looking for something challenging this probably won't be for you unless you like repeatedly beating the buttons during combat. The dog that follows you everywhere is annoying, Jasper is annoying and the blinking gnomes that you have to find always shout abuse! I did enjoy the game the second time around, building up my property portfolio and making friends with everyone. I'm glad I did play it and I'm also glad that I didn't have to pay for it!

      Platforms: Xbox 360 & PC

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      • More +
        25.10.2011 13:56
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        Not a story that should have been told.

        Ever wonder why Star Trek's Captain Kirk kept going on all those dangerous missions? Sure, it might have been exciting, but surely it must have raised a red flag at Starfleet HQ. I mean, the role of a ship's captain is to stay in command, not to repeatedly put himself in imminent danger. This is a point that was picked up on by Fable 3's creator, Peter Molyneaux. He promised that when you became King in Fable 3, you'd have the choice of running around being a bad-ass hero a per usual, or getting other people do your work for you while you oversaw the running of of the kingdom. Sounds like a pretty cool choice to give the player, right?

        Unfortunately, like most things that Peter Molyneaux has said as regards the Fable series, this turned out to be a load of old cobbers. Fable 3 gives you no such choice. It's easily the worst game in the Fable series, both in terms of how it plays and how deadly dull the plot is. The game casts you as the son or daughter - your choice - of Fable 2's hero. Your brother, Logan, became the king then the hero died, and he's been running the kingdom into the ground. The final straw comes when your character voices their concern and, in retaliation, Logan forces you to choose between having your best friend executed or having three members of the rebellion killed in his place. It's an interesting choice to make, but it's one of the few only ' grey' choices in the game.

        So off you go, with your grizzled mentor and long-time butler in tow, to wrest control of the kingdom from Logan. Why? Because you're a hero, apparently. How do you know? Because the long-forgotten Guild Seal tells you so! This wouldn't be so bad if Logan really was an evil sod, but it's revealed later that he was doing things for a good reason, yet you have to boot him out because of the whole 'hero' thing. This feels pretty weird - most games have you become a hero due to circumstances, an obscure prophecy or some other nonsense. Instead, Fable 3 tells you that being a hero is a matter of genetics.

        Anyway, off you go, ready to solve the world's problems. This is accomplished by recruiting various other parties to assist you. By parties, I mean people who sit till they're needed - you're nearly always on your on in Fable 3. Apart from your faithful dog, that is, but he can't really hold a sword. And how do you recruit others? You complete quests - pretty much like every other RPG in fact. There's no diplomacy to be found here - getting someone's help is as simple a matter as retrieving a magical artifact or hacking up a bunch of monsters. Speaking of monsters, Fable 3's monsters are a pretty unspiring lot - you've got Hobbes (goblins), Bone Men (skeletons), Balverines (werewolves), Sand Furies (spooky ninjas) and that's about it. Fable 2 featured a wider variety of monsters, which makes the lack of other monsters doubly disappointing.

        Also disappointing is the lack of variety in the game's locations. Albion, the world where the game takes, place, is going through an industrial revolution, and so game's main city looks a little bit Steampunk. But the rest of the game's locations are fairly samey - underground caves, abandoned temples, and so forth. The cities are inhabited by a variety of similar looking people, who will either clap or boo at you depending upon how good or evil you are. Interaction with them is limited to pointing, farting, posing and so forth. According to Fable 3, all you need to do to get someone to marry you is to dance with them for an hour flat, deliver a parcel for them and then give them a wedding ring. Although given how hard it is to tell the characters apart, there's really not much point, since you can only marry one of the unique characters in the game. The rest are out of bounds.

        Fable 3 is ridiculously easy, especially if you play at normal difficulty level. It's almost impossible to lose all your health and when you do you just get knocked down and get right back up again. The game's story is also pretty poor, with no real twists or turns. Even when you get to become King, the game doesn't get any deeper. All that happens if you're given a bunch of boring moral choices which are so black and white as to be insulting. Most of Fable 3's choices are black and white - eg, you get given the choice of whether you want to build a school or brothel.
        Even the one or two that aren't are insultingly divided into good and evil options. Here's a prime example - at one point, you beat a mercenary chief who's been terrorising a village and killing it's inhabitants. You can let him go with his life or kill him. The latter would seem like the better option since it'd stop him murdering and terrorising another village elsewhere but no, the game considers that evil! Similarly, you're later given the choice of whether to remove the drink limit on alcohol or ban alcohol altogether. This would seem to be a grey issue at best - but no, banning alcohol is an evil choice and removing the limit is a good choice. Not that being good or evil really affects anything other than the way the people react to you - in Fable 1 and 2 you could see your physical appearance change gradually based on the choices you make. In Fable 3, you look pretty much the same all the way through the game.

        Fable 3 is a game that feels both rushed and dumbed down. It sits uncomfortably between the RPG and action game genres. It's not a good RPG, and it's certainly not a good action game either. The combat system is extremely unwieldy - you have infinite pistol shots and spell points, but your character will aim at pretty much anything but the enemy you wanted to hit. Only the sword is any real use. The game's only redeeming quality is that the voice-overs are fairly good, although Lionhead should have spent more money on developing the game and less on hiring celebrities to do the voices. The graphics are nothing to write home about either. It's time to let the Fable series die, because Fable 3 offers nothing new and doesn't stand up to any of the competition. If you're an RPG fan, then you're best off saving your money for Skyrim, and leaving Fable 3 on the shelf.

        (review also posted on freeola)

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        01.06.2011 19:29

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        definitely try it out!

        I got onto the Fable bandwagon when Fable 2 came out and have been hooked ever since. I believe that Fable 3 is much better than Fable 2. The story is much better and the decisions you make have much more impact on the Fable world than they did in the games predecessor. I actually felt guilty while making some of them! If you have tried the other Fables then you should definitely pick this one up; it's similiar but at the same time so different that you won't be able to get bored. For those of you who are new to the franchise: BUY IT. BUY IT NOW! It seriously is a very worthwhile addition to any collection and you can be sure to enjoy it. The sidequests this time are also much better than the second game and the weapons are much easier and more fun to use. Graphics have also been improved. (not that they particularly needed to be.)
        The game is quite long and so with it being fairly cheap now it's definitely worth picking up.
        My only complaint about this game is that it appears to have taken a step back in interactions between characters. While the cut scenes which you can interfere in are a welcome addition, actually talking to people in the streets has been made much more simple, with only 3 options of what to do at any given time.
        Apart from that though, a great game which you should definitely try out!

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        11.05.2011 23:33
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        Definitely worth playing, but play it in co-op to avoid getting bored

        I should start out by saying that I'm a huge fan of the Fable series. I have owned each and every iteration, and from the vantage point of that past experience I can say without doubt that Fable 3 fails to deliver on the ambitions of its predecessors.

        The primary elements of a Fable game are three-fold: Engaging story, fast-paced combat and a sense of humor. Fable 3 falls flat on all counts.

        While the basic concept of having the game "end in the middle", with your character's ascent to the throne (the climax of most games) merely becoming a doorway to understanding the hard choices your brother (the former king) had to make for the salvation of his people, it comes across as though the developers simply game up at this point. They'd executed their gimmick and the plot no longer held any value beyond forcing you to make "morally ambiguous" choices which often made little sense and ultimately have no real effect on the world. And as for the climactic villain of the piece, where Jack of Blades and Lucien of the previous two games came across as genuine threats and complex characters, the Crawler is poorly developed, supremely unmoving and generally little more than a comic book villain thrown up to pad out the back half of the game.

        The combat is similarly hindered by the ambitions of the developers. In previous Fable games, spells came thick and fast - but in this release, you're limited to effectively only using a single magical ability at any one time through a set of gauntlets you can equip in the armoury. This removes a hugely entertaining combat element present in previous games where you could quickly throw out varying types of spell to form your own combat style against differing enemies.

        And lastly, the humor. There's virtually none of it. Fable 2 was packed with a staggering wealth of side missions, easter eggs and curios - and gave the feel of a living world of irony, sarcasm and pragmatic bemusement on the part of all who lived there. Fable 3 edges closer to the generic with little in the way of true amusement.

        With each release, the developers seem to be taking Fable away from the legendary fantasy and more towards modernist realism - which, while philosophically amusing, makes for increasingly poor games.

        Throw in a plethora of bugs - some of which go so far as to corrupt save game files, and are only fixable through workarounds with friends in co-op play - and you get a game which, while still fun to play, falls far short of what it should have been.

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        24.03.2011 17:34

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        Exciting story and a long game but only half decent graphics and a waste once you've finished it

        Fable 3 is good but not that good.

        This game has two main parts. Firstly you start off as the younger brother or sister of the Tyrant King and you must become a hero and gain allies to overthrow him and become king yourself.
        Once your king you must run the country of Albion however you want but there's a hidden twist that will make seemingly easy decisions hard and you must decide to be a hero king or a tyrant king.

        The storyline itself is very exciting but it's let down by a average graphics and its one of them games that once you'v finished it for the first time you don't play it again as there's very little to do after the end of the main storyline

        However I have to say I did really enjoy playing it and was playing it solidly over the Christmas period ( as I got it as a Christmas present) until I finished it because of the adventurous storyline but i haven't even looked at it since and that's the main downside to the product

        Overall it a average game and I would suggest it to those who are interested in similar games but it's not one for those who are looking for really good graphics or the stickIt an average sorta game, nothing brilliant about it stick-ability that some games have that makes you play them over and over again

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        16.02.2011 12:49

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        Fabulous Gameplay

        I have played the story through and have found it to be a great game with lots of extras to do once you have finished the game, which is different to many games. It has a great storyline set in the medieval period in the fictional land of Albion and your character is the brother of an evil ruler it is you task to help with the rebellion and to gather up all people for it. A long game that is worth the money it is a must if you enjoy games such as Fallout 3 and World of Warcraft. This also gives you the opportunity to live out your own medieval life with responsibilities jobs and houses, you can live this anyway you want but this affects your character for example if you are corrupt you will look bad.
        There are just a few technical glitches such as people with hands in weird places and floating items but the positives outweigh the small amount negatives.
        This is only avaliable on Xbox

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        15.02.2011 17:03
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        Definitely worth a buy if your a fan of the franchise, but very disappointing.

        Being an avid player of Fable since the first game, i was really looking forward to the third instalment. And I hate to say, I was quite disappointed.

        I was expecting a lot from Fable 3, because of all the people who disliked the second game, I thought maybe Lionhead Studios would have listened and sorted everything out that the fans wanted, but it turns out that they just made a game according to how they liked them, not the fans.
        The main thing people didn't like about the second game, and again what they don't like about the third, is that there is no armour. I for one thought they would finally listen to the players of the game but it turns out they just decided to make it mostly normal clothes to wear, which in some ways is good, but it removes some of the fun of Fable.
        I for one enjoyed having to get all the different parts of the armour to have a full outfit, and also paying attention to how much damage resistance there is, after all and RPG is all about paying attention to little details like that.

        Another thing i didn't like about Fable 3, is that they took out the main way of buying and using magic in the game. In the first you had a menu to sort out your spells and to buy new ones using experience, and in the second you could even do it in-game using the start menu.
        I think this was a much easier way to do it rather than in the third one using things called "Gauntlets" which in some ways are good because they allow you to "Weave" two different spells making them more powerful, but only being able to use 2 different spells at any one time makes it less of a fun experience.

        One of the things i do like about Fable 3, is the way they have re made the start menu completely. They thought rather than having an actual menu to just keep pressing buttons and digging through sub menus after sub menus, they would give the player a fully explorable "Sanctuary" that the player is transported to when they press start.
        I Think it is a very inventive way of making their game stand out, it allows you to see everything together and even see gifts given to you by other players, or you can use the world map, see your clothes, weapons and lots more.

        The storyline is one of the strong points of Fable 3, they have never been all that good in the previous instalments, but the writing and voice acting in this game in amazing. It has one of the most well known casts in any game, with such people as John Cleese, Sir Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, Jason Manford, Zoe Wannamaker and many more.

        Overall, The story in fable 3 has been the strongest of all the games, but i think they focused too much on that and forgot what Fable was really about, getting completely submersed in every little detail of being a hero, using magic and weapons to better your abilities.
        A decent game, but nothing compared to its predecessors.

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        13.02.2011 15:43
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        The best Fable yet, if not the dizzying heights of perfection imagined.

        In this latest instalment of the Fable series, Peter Molyneux - a developer with something of a reputation for letting his promises run away with the hyperbole - has a third crack at realising his lofty ambitions of creating a world of unrestricted freedom and genuine emotional attachment. A veteran of "God" games, from Populous to Black & White, Molyneux has Fable 3 go one further than its predecessors in being more than a standard good-takes-on-rottenness; there's an aspect of this here of course, but once one part of the game ends, another more intriguing one begins - where previously Fable's decide-your-destiny angle only shaped your own character, your ultimate position as King of Albion here sees the entire kingdom sculpted to your will.

        This isn't the object of gaming perfection that the Fable franchise aspires to be - but at the third time of asking, it's probably the best realisation of its creator's sky-high aspirations yet.

        * ~ * ~ *

        Fable 3 will be instantly familiar to players of the previous games, set some fifty years after the previous instalment and finding the land of Albion in the throes of the Industrial Revolution. Playing as the son or daughter of Fable 2's hero (or heroine ...), the rather dull and little-seen villain of this previous game is replaced by Logan, King of Albion and the protagonist's brother. A heartless, cynical despot, Logan looks out over a country wracked by poverty; filthy streets lined with crumbling houses and factories staffed by child workers. Fleeing the castle, you assume the role of the would-be revolutionary, but won't be able to do it alone, and need to raise an army ...

        So goes the first half of Fable 3, with the game unfolding along very familiar lines, albeit underpinned by a fresh plot; you travel between destinations completing the standard missions to secure the trust of various groups and characters - and their pledges to join the looming revolution. Along the way there are all the usual flourishes that come with Fable; the sub-quests, property-buying and job-doing, romantic entanglements and roaming exploration. As per usual, few of these are mandatory, and you could whisk through the main plot of the game in relatively little time, but it took me at least twenty hours to proceed through this first stage of the game, pursuing some but not all of these extra quests. In any case, however much or little you explore the expansive world of Albion, and however you raise your army, all roads ultimately lead back to Bowerstone Castle and a showdown with your slimy, greasy-haired brother for the throne.

        As a side-note, I was one of many disappointed with the anti-climactic denouement to Fable 2, with the forgettable Lucien surrendering with barely a whimper - this isn't a lot better (Molyneux and co seem to view big set-piece boss battles as being a bit old-hat), although the superior, more consistent and engaging storytelling this time round rescues the battle for the throne from being quite such a damp squib. With the revolution over, the real business of Fable 3 begins - leading a nation back to health, complete with the requisite good-or-bad decisions (decisions which, to the credit of the creators, are genuinely difficult ones). Questing and grunt-slaying takes a bit of a back seat to lining the walls of the treasury and satisfying the demands of your citizens, and it's a fun shift of gear that sets this instalment apart from its predecessors.

        * ~ * ~ *

        As familiar as many aspects of the game may feel, this latest part of the trilogy has seen some tweaking - mostly for the better. The major innovations of part two are in place again here - the ability to choose your player's sex, marry and have children, the dog, the movement from bows and arrows to firearms and gunpowder - but there are changes, too. Perhaps the most telling of these is the ditching of the levelling-up system that aligned Fable with the RPG-norm - instead, Guild Seals are accrued and spent, built up by winning the trust of civilians, running errands and completing sub-quests and slaughtering villains. The freedom to build up your character's physique and powers is dramatically stripped-down here, and you are given the option to purchase selected upgrades after significant stages of the game. In all honesty, I'm not sure I see the point of this - as much as Fable 2's reams of menus were criticised, the essential system didn't seem especially flawed, and this restriction of creativity and freedom is peculiar, and seems to run against the grain of all things Fable. What's more, weapons, clothing, hairstyles, tattoos and the like appear to be less readily available this time round, further obstructing your abilities to personalise your hero. It's not a bit deal, and barely affects the gameplay, but it's an odd bit of fiddling.

        This trimming-down of freedoms is represented in the ways in which you can interact with villagers and the like, too - although there are hundreds of people to talk to and express yourself with, you're pretty much always limited to a choice between dancing with them and belching in their face. There are plenty of other expressions in the game, but you're rarely given the option of using them. In a game that's all about forging your own distinctive path, it quickly becomes tiresome, and feels silly to be wandering around towns dancing with everyone to gain a few Guild Seals in a shallow, binary illusion of freedom.

        The magic system, too has been given an overhaul. Fewer individual spells are available, but the introduction of spell-weaving brings greater variety - specifically, the option to wear two magic gauntlets at once and blend together their powers; electrocuting your opponents to your satisfaction whilst raining down streams of hail from the heavens, for instance. It is, frankly, enormous fun, and one of the strengths of a fairly basic combat system.

        Those little-loved mazes of menus are another victim of the revolution, giving way to an original twist on the theme; press Start and you're transported to the Sanctuary, a curious chamber that exists in some strange, pseudo-magical way and place. Presided over by your butler, Jasper, this is essentially a large, 3D version of the conventional menu system, in which particular branches of options are represented physically, housed in separate rooms - one for weapons, for example, one for clothes, another for money and trophies. A giant map in the centre of the hub enables fast-travel around Albion, and everything you need can be interacted with by walking up to it. It takes a little getting used to, but it's a nice spin on another of the staples of RPG-dom, tweaked for mass appeal and accessibility.

        * ~ * ~ *

        The things that have made both the previous Fable games great are certainly in evidence here, and then some - the graphics are quite wonderful, especially the backdrops, with some wonderful environments to explore - and the world of Albion has really evolved since its first appearance; even where the plot is a little linear, there's a wealth of secrets hidden away within the game and it's easy to while away hours wandering its nooks and crannies. If it's not perhaps as well-designed as the various incarnations of Hyrule have been in Zelda games, it's nonetheless a sprawling world that rewards exploration.

        Voice-acting is another huge strength of the game, with Ben Kingsley, Stephen Fry, Simon Pegg, Jonathan Ross, John Cleese, Michael Fassbender and Zoe Wannamaker voicing key characters, adding life and believability to the plot and breathing a sense of attachment into gameplay; the scripting is sharp and sporadically funny, and you can feel the extent to which this is a labour of love for its creators. Whilst owing plenty to the legions of generic dwarves-and-daggers RPGs that have gone before, Fable plays out with a blend of drama and humour that isn't afraid to poke fun at the conventions of its genre (most transparently so during a lampoontastic sidequest which throws you into a mission conceived by a group of nerds). The plotting has stepped up a notch since Fable 2, and if the idea of leading a revolution isn't ground-breaking original, it is well-realised and leads well into the latter half of the game when the dynamic changes.

        Combat has its pros and cons, as ever in Fable - on the plus-side, it's intuitive and easy; melee, ranged and magic attacks are each assigned to one button and though charging, rolling and parrying add some variety and freedom to battles, it's essentially just button-bashing that'll see you through encounters. What's more - it's *too* easy, by far. For the vast majority of the game there are no enemies worth worrying about - hello, bats and lumbering mercenaries - and by the time the trusty Balverines and new-to-the-series Sand Furies turn up to pose a challenge, you're so absurdly powerful you can just stand there slapping them with endless obscenely devastatingly spells.

        It's a shame that some aspects of the game have been improved without thought of the implications - your blade changes its appearance to reflect the way in which you use it, which is neat, but it's rarely worth getting it out, so ridiculously puny is it compared to your new spell-weaving abilities. There's just no point fighting engaging a grunt in hand-to-hand combat when you can just back off, slapping them with rounds of fire and lightening. Even if you get bored of magic, your gun is plenty devastating, too - there's just no need to even get near the enemies. This grotesque imbalance between weapons might have worked if enemies were intelligent enough to counter your strategies - why don't they surround you, corner you? - but instead they just lumber moronically into your line of fire, piling up slain at your feet. Likewise, managing your cashflow is more a part of the game than ever, but this does render other aspects of the game rather redundant - why perform initially cute but quickly monotonous jobs for cash when you can just buy and rent out every property in the land and watch the money roll in? This, too affects combat, as you'll never run out of cash with which to load up on potions, on the off-chance that one of the pathetic grunts might land a blow on you.

        Throughout, the level of challenge is pitched too low - granted, this seems to be the way games are going, with "experience" being more valued than difficulty - but it's a little unsatisfying when you might as well be wandering around in God Mode, so feeble is the opposition the game provides. If Lionhead wanted to appeal more broadly than just to hardcore gamers though, then, fine - it works - and that "experience" is immersive enough that you only periodically notice how little you're being challenged.

        * ~ * ~ *

        Enough whining. After a dozen paragraphs of grievances, it seems strange to say it - but this is an excellent game. It's something inherent about the Fable experience that you expect perfection - oh, and one more thing; the map really, really sucks, it's like a three year-old's crayon sketch of Albion, which is understandably useless when you actually need to find your way - but it's easy to overlook how brilliantly-designed the whole game is, how ambitious it attempts to be and the extent to which it actually realises these dreams. Fable may not be the greatest game ever, but it certainly tries to be, and you feel the efforts that have gone into polishing up the game according to the complaints directed at the one before.

        Gameplay is largely excellent, characters are well-shaped and worth caring about, the choices thrown at you, though occasionally a little binary actually make you stop and think, and you're always motivated to pursue the game to its conclusion. Even the weaknesses should be qualified; challenge may be low for veterans of the franchise, but it's immediately accessible to newcomers and unfailingly intuitive, while the combat, if easy and a little simplistic, is nonetheless enormous fun. The strongest entry of the series so far, Fable 3 comes very, very close to achieving the ambitions that drive the franchise - and is easy to love, for all the quibbles.

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          11.02.2011 23:01
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          Fable 3 is a rental rather than a purchase

          Introduction

          Fable 3 is a role playing game that was made by Lionhead game studios, it is the third Fable game in the fable series.
          Fable is known as a game that is Xbox exclusive and that has unique game play in the fact that Fable was one of the first games where your actions weather they be good or bad affects how the gameplays out and how the AI (artificial intelligence) sees you.
          Pros and Cons

          Pros

          * Very good storyline
          * British humor is very funny
          * Freedom of choice to do what you like

          Cons

          * Graphics are dated
          * Storyline is short
          * Poor longevity the game gets repetitive quickly

          My opinion

          I'm a really big fan of the Fable series I have enjoyed every Fable game in the series. Personally I think that the original fable is the best game in the series.
          After the disappointing Fable 2 I was hoping that Fable 3 would go more back to the roots of what made the original fable good.

          Storyline

          The storyline in Fable 3 is very good it for the first time the storyline is split into two halves in the first half you play as a hero and you have to complete quests in order to gain the trust of the towns people of Albion you are given some very difficult decisions and you have to answer them in the way that you feel is going to be best. I remember having to put down the controller when I was thinking about my choices. I think that this was the best part of the storyline because I felt that it was such a huge adventure
          The second half of the storyline is when you have finally made it up to the ruler of Albion again you have to make some more difficult choices that will affect how the AI see you in the game the choices that you have to make are very difficult too.

          I think that both of the parts of the storyline are very good but the storyline was quite short and I don't feel that Lionhead had gotten the balance wrong with the storyline.

          Gameplay

          I have got to say that Fable 3 is much better than Fable 2 because firstly the world that you have to explore is much bigger I would say that Fable 3's world is about triple the size of Fable 2's. The countryside of Albion is huge and there are lots of places to explore such as caves, Buildings and puzzles to complete.

          Graphics

          I think that the Graphics do let Fable 3 down, Fable 3 is using the same engine that was used for Fable 2 and the graphics are pretty much the same as each other. Sometimes it felt like I was just playing more of Fable 2 and I did not want to have that feeling I wanted to get away from the feeling that Fable 2 gave me.
          Value for money
          Looking online at the price of Fable 3 online and the cheapest price that I have found is £22.49 so Fable 3 is about half price provided that you shop online and I would say that paying £22.49 is a good price to pay for Fable 3.

          You would get value for money if you pay £22.49 I think that if you paid full price when the game first came out then you wont get value for money.

          Overall

          I think that it's a okay game I have only managed to get one play through out of the game mainly because their is not much Longevity in the gameplay. I would recommend that you rent this game first before buying it.

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          01.02.2011 21:00
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          It's supposed to be the age of revolution, but it's not very revoluntionary at all.

          Being a big fan of the Fable games so far, I was eager to get my teeth stuck into Fable III. I wondered how Fable III could follow on from the brilliant game of Fable II, and wondered how the story set in the world of Albion, would continue. The character you played in Fable II becomes a Hero, and in Fable III you play the son or daughter of that Hero, and your elder brother is King Logan. It quickly becomes apparent that the citizens of Albion aren't happy with their king, and so you set off trying to recruit various allies to help you over throw the evil and mad king, your brother.

          The Fable series is well known for it's good and evil aspects. You make choices through out the game which are good or bad, and can affect out the game spans out. The choices in Fable between the two are often glaringly obvious, and it actually starts to get rather annoying how the game likes to remind you of these choices.

          The game started off pretty well, the setting of the new game is similar to the first but with greatly improved graphics. It's hasn't got a huge game play area compared to the likes of Fall Out or the expansive Oblivion, but what towns and countryside you do come across, there is certainly plenty to explore with dig spots for your dog to find or treasure chests scattered around. Along with the main quest there are various side quests you can do, there is plenty to keep you occupied.

          It is quite early on however that the game began to show some terrible annoyances, and I couldn't understand why these changes had been made from Fable II. The whole interface has become overly simplified, sure this makes the game easier to pick up and play, but I found the controls frustrating. To view your current inventory including weapons and clothing, you have to go to 'The Sanctuary', which is a room with your butler in it, and 3 rooms leading off it depending on what you need. So what could be a simple process of changing your weapon via a quick in-game menu becomes a drawn out process of you going to the Sanctuary, then to the weapons run, then running up to dummies holding your weapons and choosing from there. This quickly became tiresome and I just longed for a quicker option. It doesn't end here, when you go into a shop to buy or sell items, your current inventory doesn't appear as a list, instead you have to approach pedestals upon which is the item you can buy. Every time you level up, you can't choose which areas you would like to upgrade, instead you are transported into a dream world which has chests which need unlocking, and you have to go up to these chests and choose your new upgrades. The whole menu system for the game was the biggest downfall for me, it was tiresome and annoying.

          Next comes the interaction with villagers. In Fable II you could choose which interactions you wanted to use on villagers, however now when you greet a villager, you have to make do with the options that pop up. There is an evil option, a funny option, and the nice option, so depending on how you feel towards this villager depends on which interaction you carry out. It very quickly became annoying that you can't choose exactly what 'nice' interaction you can do, and the first one is always a romantic dance, which very quickly became boring.

          The in-game combat still contains swords and spells, but in Fable III in the age of revolution there are now guns. I preferred the melee and spell combat options to the guns, and overall I didn't have too much problems with the combat system. The only problem came yet again, with the absence of the in-game menu. Now you can only heal when the option appears to do so, and will only appears when you are on low health, meaning you can't choose to heal a bit earlier on. There isn't any health indicator, you have to guess how long you have left once the blood starts appearing around the outside of the screen and the heart beat sound becomes prominent.

          The storyline at first is really building up to something big, but at the end it all felt like a bit of an anti-climax, I was expecting a bit more to it than there was. There are some celebrity voices in this game, which came as a surprise. Stephen Fry was a voice in Fable II and appears again in Fable III, but also joined by John Cleese, Johnathan Ross and Simon Pegg. The voice of Johnathan Ross quickly became irritating, and the voice of John Cleese is now always going to be an annoyance to me. He plays the voice of the butler who is in The Sanctuary, and each time you enter he constantly asks to go and check out the Sanctuary Shop, which contains the game add-ons and extras you have to pay for.

          Fable III felt rushed to me, and I did come across some bugs whilst playing. The golden trail which shows you where to go, would often stop working or send me in the wrong direction and it clearly wasn't well made. The game feels like it's been dumb downed a lot for the casual gamer, and it now makes a very light hearted and simple game compared to what I was expecting from previous offerings. The Fable series has come along way since the first game, but it feels like Fable III is barely any different from Fable II, and in a lot of instances is a much worse game. After finishing the game I felt a huge sense of disappointment, and it seems the rest of the game community have a similar opinion.

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            15.01.2011 00:55

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            Has everything from previous games but introduces new and very interesting features.

            Fable III was one of the most anticipated games of 2010. It offers all the features from it's predecessors like expressions and the ability to choose how pure/corrupt you are. Fable III offers a wider choice of what you can do in Albion, you can go and do the main quests with a co-op friend and not worry about the single camera problem that occurred in Fable II or you can just try and earn some extra cash by playing the lute of the street corner of Brightwall.

            Lionhead Studios decided to split the game into two parts as opposed to the single campaign seen in previous Fable games, Part 1 is the road to becoming King and Part 2 is deciding the fate of Albion and whether or not you want to keep the promises you made in Part 1, the only catch is that you are not only ensuring Albion is made a better place you are getting prepared for the War ahead and to be honest I did find Part 2 very short. Part 1 was amazing because the bottom line is, it's a lengthy story and I like that. Part 2 was basically going through 5 days worth of decision making and then fighting the monster which by the way only takes about 20 minutes. Lionhead did rush Fable III a bit however the finished product is a very good buy, I had been wanting it for a long time so I would have wanted Lionhead to finish making the game ASAP so it would be released quicker but that just lead to Part 2 being a disappointment but still an overall good game.

            There are rumours going around saying that Fable IV is on it's way and I hope it is because trilogies these days are overrated. I persoannly enjoy Fable games because the things you can do are humorous and you are not limited to doing one thing. The only thing that Fable IV will offer is great new features and so I hope it can be possible to be confirmed in the near future.

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            20.12.2010 13:48
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            Promised so much, delivered so little. There is no one more disappointed than I.

            Fable 3. You start as the Prince in Albion, younger brother to the King. You soon find big bro is a bit of a cad, awfully harsh to his constituents, high tax & poor services etc... Moving on a while, you lead a rebellion backed by various leading figures who can bring along numbers to your cause, hurrah you're successful... first section of the game completed. Next you overthrow the King and for the rest of the game you are King and are called on to make many life changing decisions. Turns out circumstances weren't all that they seemed...

            Do you remember the original Fable? Exciting and new, you felt part of something big as you trained at the Academy before completing your tests and going off to make your name as a Hero. You had a a burning desire to grow powerful and seek vengeance for the death of your parents and kid sister... Completely fantastic it still plays remarkably well and is engaging to the end.

            Fable 2 tweaked and added features but somehow lost an awful lot of the charm. But that's another review.

            Fable 3 again added bits and let's be honest it looks beautiful. A couple of hours in I loved it. It was downhill from there I'm afraid...

            Lionhead studios talked of merging RPG with action game - a fine concept but I don't think it worked. Too many cinematic sequences, very few choices, in previous games you felt you were making a difference and had a say in the path of your character - in this you didn't. Completely scripted without movement. Hopeless attempts at additional challenges, see the boardgame sequence, what a horrible waste of time. As King, half of the game, your choices were black and white, left or right, no let me choose what happens with these funds, either spend into debt to appease the people or gain wealth and lose the people - poor. Also, why have they not brought back the item, armour, tattoo, hairstyle and weapon purchasing choices from the first game?? So limited!! Even Fable 2 had more choice. To lose originality from game to game is just unbelievable.

            And so to my particular sore point. Possible game spoiler. (Apologies)

            As King you have a countdown of days until your Kingdom is attacked, each credit in the Treasury will save the life of one citizen. 6.5m citizens meant you need the equivalent in the bank or the remainder will be killed. The countdown progresses as you make decisions. It gets down to 121 days - I think to myself, plenty of time to make some money and stick it in the treasury, job done, people saved. Of course it never went as planned. Once the game reaches 121 days it starts into the final battle sequence without allowing you back into the world... Unfair? I thought so. The majority of my people died but I succeeded against the forces of evil. Following this battle you are placed back in the restored world. You have brought peace, congratulations. Yes BUT the voice of 'Theresa' (see previous games) tells you that although you have won you will forever be remembered for the death of the majority of your citizens... I don't want to be remembered for that, I'm a Hero for goodness sake!

            A little point? Maybe but having put so much time into the game and for the people of Albion - then for the game to tell you that yes you succeeded but not very well... Needless to say I traded it in at the next available opportunity. This from someone who has kept Fable, Fable:Lost Chapters and Fable 2 for sentimental reasons... you see how I felt.

            One last thing and actually I think this is probably the reason for limited choices in character and dog personalisation. This isn't the first time I've moaned about this so I apologise... Xbox Live money grabbing. Most items which were available in the game in the original Fable and some even in Fable 2 are now purchase only through the Xbox Live store. What an awful shame - a real disgrace. As if that wasn't enough, your butler in the game, voiced by the legendary John Cleese, continually tells you to check the store for new items. A sell out. A real sell out.

            I was so excited about this game, almost giddy. Unfortunately I was left disappointed, disillusioned and standing in line trading it in for Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. (Another review)

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              17.12.2010 01:55
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              A refreshing take on the series but has lost a lot of it's notable features found previously..

              Fable III (Xbox 360 & PC)

              Tested and reviewed based on the Xbox 360 version
              Review by Ben Nacca
              GT: Darkeyes2k7

              Once again, it is that time of the year where gamers are flooded with tonnes of blockbuster titles, spoilt for choice, and every developer and published is pushing and shoving to get the best possible media attention going.

              Another one to be released in this period is Lionhead studios' Fable III.
              Critically acclaimed back on the Xbox, Lionhead Studios uncovered an area that, at the time, was sporadic of a decent role playing game that gave the player the choices, the options and consequences. Needless to say, after such success of the first one, despite some flaws that were forgiven at that stage, a sequel arose onto the Xbox 360. Met with mixed reviews, Fable II was littered with bugs, glitches, questionable NPC pathfinding and some really dodgy camera issues with co op play that really held the game back. However, Fable always has that charm. Maybe it is the British wit that is stuck within every line and every accent or maybe just the attention to detail with the landscapes and towns within the region of Albion.
              Whatever it is, Lionheads next instalment plans to build upon the first two games, offering unparalleled freedom to make your own choices, a refined co operative system, both locally and online as well as general A.I improvements and bug fixes that let the second game down on its debut on the 360.

              Well did Lionhead do this? I suppose the main question is how much did you listen to Peter Molyneux? As the director and founder of Lionhead Studios, and a passionate gamer himself, he has built a reputation to exaggerate somewhat, or so people assume. His so called "promises" of features that he says will feature in games has always come under fire but I must take his side on this one. He never really promises them. Just says he "would like it" if they could implement this or if it is possible to implement this feature and so on. It's the hype he gives his games like Fable II as it being a game changer in the genre, and pretty much along the same lines for Fable III which has slowly made people more wary of what Mr M has to say on his own games.
              So Fable III, well on first impressions it is everything you would want it to be. If you are new to the Fable series, do not fret. You do not need to have played the previous titles and you do not need to have any requirement or background knowledge of the Fable world. Predominantly an action role playing game, Fable has always drawn on its freedom based choices, the paths of good or evil and the humour of the series, littered with traditional British one liners with more fleeting references to Monty Python than one can count per game really.
              That said Fable III has taken a turn genre-wise. You cannot really say it is a role playing game anymore as the RPG elements are no longer what defines the game, nor really play a huge role. You do not "level" up anymore with EXP as it were, but more collect followers to increase your kingdom and support within Albion. This different approach cannot help but take the game down the action/adventure path which some people will be perfectly fine with.
              Now Fable III is basically split in half. The first is what everyone is used to, the fable type gameplay, trawling through Albion, doing quests and making decisions and creating real estate empires. However, the second half is more of a ruler position, taking on the role of a King or Queen that really puts a spin on the game and makes it really interesting. I do not want to spoil it for you as everyone's ruling section should be different depending on your choices, your followers and family values that will shape how the game turns out, and then in turn how you respond to different situations will be different as well. You can literally be the best thing to ever happen in Albion or you could be a tyrannical lunatic. Your choice.

              The game returns with the one button combat system that draws on repeatedly tapping a button to control all your melee attacks, another for ranged and another for magic. Although, the combat has been improved, with the visual animations receiving a much needed update with what the attacks look like, as well as fluidity of combat greatly improved.
              Magic on the other hand feels suppressed and empty despite the new "weaving" ability. This enables you to mix and match the spells you have to create combinations of two of them at any one time. This sounds great, and if implemented properly, probably would have been a top feature. Unfortunately, Lionhead Studios only give you 15 combinations from a set of rather bland and uninspiring spells that do not really rejuvenate the franchise in anyway.

              Despite this, it is clear to me that the developers have spent a lot more time on the story, hiring an all-star British cast to lend their voices, which includes John Cleese, and really adding depth and purpose behind the missions. The addition to collecting followers as experience is a nice twist even if it does take away the iconic Fable levelling system in some respects.
              Instead of this, Fable III has introduced Sanctuary. This is essentially a revamped Start menu in simple terms, which serves as the central hub for the game and really improves the slick transition between the game and your stats, experience, quest status and much more. After the complaints Lionhead received for the Fable II interface, it seems they have listened to their fans and have returned with this Sanctuary, which certainly does the job nicely.

              Every good has a bad though right? It seems someone fell over in the office, had a really bad idea and managed to implement it into the game. The popular emotion wheel that really made Fable what it is, freedom, is non-existent in Fable III. The removal of this has a detrimental effect on the gameplay, taking away your freedom to point and laugh at someone or dance in front of someone. This choice wheel was what made Fable so great and innovative. As a consolation, they have replaced it with a more limited option, like either this or that system that still does not recreate the original "feel" for the games. This may not affect new comers to the series but fans of the previous instalments will possibly be disappointed with the step backwards almost.
              Again, another counterbalance though, the developers have added a nice feature into Fable III. Depending on your alignment, good or evil, as always, your character has changed his appearance in accordance to this. So bright with a blue aura if you're a goody two shoes or literally looks like an undead demon that got dragged through a bush and grew some devil horns. However, now your weapons also morph themselves to your alignment. Meaning all your weapons can be personalised by your actions and as usual, are part of the direct consequences of good or evil. It is a nice touch that makes for some interesting looking weapons that just adds to the awesome factor of the game.

              There are plenty of good moments in the game though. I mean, which game lets you kick chickens for the pure fun of it. Just to say you can. Nothing beats it. I was actually surprised I went an hour within the game before I stopped and realised I had not done the dreadful deed yet. So off I went, setting my own mission to kick a chicken. The open world scale of Fable is its redeeming feature, and really makes the game have bags of quality when you scratch beneath the surface.
              Right, well I have spoken a lot about gameplay and features, but not so much about visuals. Well Lionhead know how to create some stunning landscapes. There are many locations within Albion that look visually compelling and can cause you to stop and just take in some of the little additions they have added. As they always say, it is the small things that make the difference. Fable III does look dated though with it not being able to hold up with some of the big names out there, including the upcoming releases, but Fable has always had that charm and enough visuals to make that ok. It is not perfect but then which game is?

              Lionhead have said from day one of Fable III that the multiplayer needs to be tweaked. Well I disagree. It needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch. The co-op online is much improved though, with you being able to go anywhere on the map and not being confined to the same screen. All character stats, weapons, looks etc. gets carried over but only the host player gets quest progression. When the joined person leaves, they will be back to where they were, but keeping any acquired stats obviously. This is marred by network issues and is sometimes rendered unplayable at times. Hopefully this is just a development process for Lionhead and it will be something that can be patched soon. It is not always like this but you will probably encounter the problem at one stage or another.
              If there is one thing Lionhead are pros at, it is making an original, creative list that really tests the players to attempt every part of the game without it being too much of a chore (most of the time). A general good list that is held back by a damn legendary weapon collection achievement (probably worse than the doll trading achievement in Fable II) and complete the game without dying. However, the latter should not be too hard, just keep an eye on your health throughout and you should not have a problem.
              Visuals
              86/100

              Although a bit dated, Fable III captures its landscapes beautifully and sets the world of Albion for the player as a lush, rich region to go exploring. Character models are an improvement upon Fable II's attempt and frame rate issues are minimal in game.
              Audio
              90/100

              A high score for this one mainly thanks to the stellar British cast that lent their voices to this production. Due to this, the characters have a much higher emotional value and really help the player to interact with them. The music is suitably fitting and is just what Fable needs to keep that atmosphere.
              Gameplay

              ==81/100==
              Although keeping the 1 button combat system is probably a safer option than recreating the fighting system, it has the danger to feel repetitive or unresponsive. That said, the overall quests and second half of the game are a blast to play. It is a shame about the emotion wheel being removed though. A major step back for the series.
              Delivery
              82/100

              Marred by a lag festering online portion of the game, this is easily fixed as the servers test the strain it will go through hosting different players in different games. That said, the revamped menu, or Sanctuary, really adds to the experience and is a very good idea from Lionhead Studios. Plenty to do in the world of Albion as well so should not be much problem finding stuff to do.
              Achievements
              91/100

              An inspiring list that is filled with easy to hard achievements that test the different skills of players. There are a couple of painful ones but determination and patience will bag you them in no time. Nice tiles and equally witty achievement names also add to the value of collecting them. Great list.

              Summary
              86/100
              Well there are certainly some gambles from Lionhead this year, with some paying off and some probably best left on the drawing board. However, the game is everything you would want from a Fable title and improves vastly in a lot of areas that the second one failed to live up to. There is still room for improvement and hopefully some issues will be fixed with upcoming patches. Expect DLC to be in the pipeline to expand on your Fable III experience.

              This guide is the property of Ben Nacca and is for the sole use of Lanraiders.co.uk, www.ciao.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk.
              No copying to other websites or other mediums without written permission first.

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                03.12.2010 21:28
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                Very enjoyable game, but one to rent.

                In Fable III you play the son or daughter of the hero of it's prequel, Fable II. For those unfamiliar with Fable II, this means you are royalty; in fact the only thing between you and the throne is your brother, the King. As your introduction to the story unfolds, you learn that the King is a tyrannical leader causing despair for almost everyone under his rule. Very quickly into the game, the King takes things too far and it's decided at this point that changes have to be made. This is where you'll make your first moral decision.

                Moral decisions are very much a large part of the game. You are meant to feel as if you are free to make any decisions you see fit, whether they be good or bad. Should you wish, you could even be more evil than your brother that everyone despises, should you so wish. The effect there is to really make your character 'yours', and make the world seem much more dynamic than it actually is, but personally I felt it a little shallow. Most things in the game are pretty linear in actuality; the choices you make, whilst do make a difference, don't tend to differ the game overall enough.

                That aspect of the game isn't all bad though. Making these 'good or bad' decisions influences your character, including the looks of his or her weapons and appearance. I found a strange sense of satisfaction from watching my sword starting to glow red after slaughtering innocent people. It has to be said that again, this is still a rather shallow area of the game that isn't as deep as they'd like you to think. Your weapons tend to look one way if you're good, another if you're bad, and this applies to anyone.

                I think the main fun from this game comes from the story and the humour. I thought the plot was well written and lots of well recognised voice actors were cast to play some of the roles of the main characters (Johnathon Ross, Steven Fry and Simon Pegg to name just a few). There are some hilarious moments in the game, and the side quests are usually humorous enough to not be a chore.

                And that's the sad part really. The best bit of this game is playing it through to completion, which isn't long at all. I found once I'd completed it, I couldn't find much reason to pick it up again. The game's advertised that each time you play through it's a different story, but as I've said above, the little choices you make in the end don't have enough impact to make we want to play through again, this time being a different sort of person than the last.

                Whilst the game is short, it's very polished and funny. It's great while it lasts, but perhaps this game's one to rent rather than buy.

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                25.11.2010 08:47
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                A fun game with flaws

                So here we are, another video game franchise rushing out its latest instalment in time for Christmas. This will currently set you back about £40.

                In Fable 2 your character had to run around the fictional land of Albion having vaguely sword- and magic-related adventures, ultimately defeating a great evil. In Fable 3, you play the son or daughter of the Fable 2 character. Your elder brother, King Logan, has gone mad, and you must spend the first half of the game gathering allies to attempt to overthrow him. The second half of the game is slightly different, as you take your brother's place on the throne (this is widely announced in the promotional material for the game, including the blurb on the packaging and the instruction manual, so is not really a spoiler). You have to prepare your nation for an attack by a larger, nastier enemy, and get to choose whether to be a kind or tyrannical monarch. Up to a point.

                Fable is supposedly all about the choices you make and how those have a (gasp!) *real impact* on the game world. This is one of its main selling points. Having played Fable 2, I was highly dubious about this, and so it proves. There is no more moral or emotional complexity in Fable 3 than in any other similar game. In fact, there's probably less than in more tightly scripted games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. The supposed freedom is limited by the smallness of the world you inhabit, the sameyness of all the people in it, and the lack of variety in the things you can do. As long as you know this going in, you're unlikely to be too disappointed. Fable 3 is a fun RPG/fighting game, not the revolutionary new approach to gaming that it was announced as. Personally, I was more or less happy with it.

                (An awful lot of people aren't, though, as a quick glimpse at the developer, Lionhead's, bulletin boards will demonstrate. They feel they were lied to and that Lionhead are only out to make a profit - fancy! - at the expense of the great gameplay the fans were apparently expecting. So if you liked the things about Fable 2 that I thought were a bit clunky, you could end up feeling ripped off by Fable 3.)

                As with anything, there are good and bad points. In its favour, it looks lovely. The gently stylised aesthetic of Fable 2 has been maintained, and this for once feels like it would be quite a nice world to inhabit. The music is also very nice, and I can just run around for ages with my dog at my heels wandering through the hills and trees of Albion looking for treasure. Almost everyone you meet can talk, and the voice acting is generally good, although it relies a bit too much on celebrity voices. Zoe Wannamaker and Stephen Fry are back from Fable 2, joined by Bernard Hill, John Cleese, the grimly inevitable Simon Pegg, and the vile Jonathon Ross.

                The game has a sense of humour that's actually funny, being pitched somewhere between Monty Python and Terry Pratchett. A lot of the humour is just based around the whimsical snippets of dialogue that drift past as you race through villages. Some of it is based on running gags from the earlier game. And there are some rancid puns (I was delighted that there's a village called Mourningwood). The game is pitched at the 16+ market, so there are racy situations (including a hilarious little tune that plays when you have sex).

                Although I wouldn't have thought it would matter if you've not played the earlier one, you will probably enjoy it a bit more if you have. I'd forgotten a lot of Fable 2 - I only realised Stephen Fry's character had been in the earlier game quite late on - but it was nice to get the odd gentle reminder. At least some of the world is the same as in the previous game, although a kind of industrial revolution has taken place.

                The controls are simple and fairly intuitive. This is in stark contrast to the earlier game, and is the source of much of the controversy. Over-complicated systems for interacting with villagers, or for using magic in battle, have been ruthlessly stripped back. While this makes the game undeniably easier to pick up, it has probably over-simplified things, certainly in the interactions department. Your default 'nice' action when first meeting a stranger is to have a sexy little dance with them. While amusing enough, this does get tiresome after a while, and you yearn for a more nuanced approach to interaction. Although promiscuous, my character didn't want to fall in love with *everyone*. They obviously had to make a trade-off between making the game easier and making it less complex, and have perhaps gone too far down the 'easier' route.

                Any simplification in the controls, whether for good or ill, is rather undone by the new system of not using any menus - the chief game designer, Peter Molyneux, doesn't like them apparently. In games of this type, if you wander into a shop, you'll usually be presented with a list of things you can buy. Not here. You have to go and look at pedestals on which the items sit. This is irritating in the extreme. Also, when levelling up, you have to wander around a tiresome dreamscape opening chests with new skills in them (for instance, you can only learn how to interact with your children if you've opened the correct chest). This is plain silly and far from creating a more 'realistic' experience just slows the game down, and mentally takes you out of it completely.

                The main storyline is stronger this time around, although the ending is still an anticlimax (not as much so as in Fable 2, but still, it could be a lot more impressive). But it's set up so you'll probably still have lots of little side-quests left to do once you've bested the big baddie. (Being monarch is just the same as being a regular adventurer, oddly enough, except you have to make a few decisions about taxes and stuff.) I played this for about a week, on and off (sharing my gaming time between it and Rock Band 3) before I'd had enough. It also does away with the incongruous darker elements of the earlier game - there are still some things that technically are nasty, but nothing quite as jarring as a cut scene lasting ten years during which you are enslaved and brainwashed.

                Otherwise, you still have a dog; the insulting gargoyles are now insulting gnomes; and you can still bigamously marry lots of people, of both sexes. (Oddly, I couldn't find anywhere selling condoms in this game, so I ended up with a lot more STDs and children than in Fable 2). Really, it feels more like an upgrade than a true sequel - Fable 2.1, if you like. It gives players more of what was popular in Fable 2 while only tweaking the functionality in small ways.

                The criticisms that were true of Fable 2 are therefore still true now. One of the main ones is the lack of variety in the fights. Not only are there only about five different types of enemy, they always spawn in exactly the same places, every time. The frame rate is prone to drop randomly, slowing the game down at times. And John Cleese's character seems to exist solely to try to persuade the player to pay for new downloadable stuff - weapons, or hair dye - which I find really annoying.

                The game is reputedly riddled with bugs, with players complaining of game-breaking problems which occurred after they'd already put in 30 hours, requiring a restart etc. Happily I didn't find anything serious, although my dog was frustratingly slow to follow me sometimes, and the golden trail that leads you to mission goals kept disappearing. It's pretty disgraceful that Lionhead has released a game that's not finished, and even worse that, at time of writing, they're still saying vaguely that it will take 'a few weeks' to get a patch out. I'd therefore leave it at least six months before buying this (by which time there will doubtless be some decent downloadable content to buy too), as that will hopefully be long enough for them to fix everything.

                That's the main criticism, I suppose. By releasing the game before it's ready, they've opened themselves up to accusations from people who expected more of the game. I don't think that it's a cheaply produced rip-off to keep the franchise alive at the expense of long-term player goodwill; but I can understand why some people do. I think to be honest that the things people want from this game won't be possible for at least another couple of generations of game console and probably won't happen even then (the curse of the so-called 'casual gamer'; you make more money by making simpler games with more obvious mass appeal).

                If you go in just hoping for a fun, funny, appealing adventure that won't tax you too much but will make you giggle a bit, and which has enough novelty to keep you coming back until you're done, then you should like Fable 3 just fine. When it's fixed.

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