Product Type: Microsoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... 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 ... more
Easily the worst in the Fable series - and not a good game to boot.
Fable III (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Hannard
Fable III (Xbox 360)
Advantages: It's marginally better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Disadvantages: It's a pretty tedious game, the plot is dire, the choices are all black and white.
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)
Summary: Not a story that should have been told.