Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
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Lacking in magic, by both design and incompetence
Fable III (Xbox 360)
Member Name: ArturoFox
Fable III (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Carefree fantasy adventure
Disadvantages: Buggy and lacking in the whimsy of the previous two games
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.
Summary: Definitely worth playing, but play it in co-op to avoid getting bored