Fable 3 Review
developer: Lionhead Studios
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Oct 26, 10
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In 2005 I was completely immersed in a PC game called Fable: The Lost Chapters. It felt considerably more enjoyable than most games I played at the time. In short, it one of those games I remember fondly. The Xbox version of the game, which hit the market a year before received pretty solid reviews, although from I've gathered things were way better in The Lost Chapters, seeing as the developers threw in a whole new area to explore, many new quests and other cool new elements. Fable 2 was a slightly different story. Although it did perhaps put more emphasis on action, it still struck me as decent enough sequel. Of course, as tradition would have it, neither of these games lived up to Peter Molyneux's exaggerated pre-release enthusiasm and promises of 'revolutionary game experiences' and remarkable gameplay innovation. But he does tend to get overly excited about his work and we always found it in our hearts to forgive him (we really should stop doing that... but he's such a nice, nice man).
Fable 3 has been developed and promoted with similar enthusiasm on Peter's and Lionhead Studios' part. This time, however, a few drastic changes were actually made, so for instance, for the first time in the Fable series, the main character doesn't collect experience points and level up in a classic RPG sense. But we'll get to that a bit later.
You have something funny to say about my outfit?
Shit! I wish we were looking at a real map instead of this table cloth.
The third installment in the series, puts players into the turbulent time when the kingdom of Albion lies on the very brink of revolution - 50 years after the events in Fable 2. The journey starts in the royal palace. After the King's death, the rule fell upon the shoulders of his eldest son, Logan. As the Logan's younger brother (or sister, depending on what gender you choose), you are spared most of the strenuous duties of leadership. Pretty soon the shit hits the fan and you are forced to flee the palace, away from your brother. Luckily, you set out with your loyal friend and mentor Sir Walter Beck and will also be accompanied by your faithful servant, Jasper. Realizing that the kingdom is in a shambles, the hero must gather anybody who's willing to join him (or her) on a revolution against the tyrannical rule of King Logan.
Lionhead Studios worked to make some changes to the gameplay, not the least of which is the exclusion of experience points. This time around, you won't be gathering experience via combat and then distributing skill points to various abilities or default character traits. Weapons speak louder than words here. Your character improves via his/her weapon, depending on one's style of play, of course. So, for instance, if you slaughter innocent people, your sword will change color and shape. Okay, you still gather guild points and those are used for perking up your combat abilities and social skills. This can only be done once you enter the 'hero realm' where you'll be able to unlock various chests, each containing a higher level of a certain skill.
Another big change is the removal of the pause menu, which was used for inventory, upgrades, etc. Now, instead of pausing, players are instantly transported to the hero sanctuary, where they can refit their character any way they wish. It's possible to customize appearance (everything from a variety of clothes to tattoos and facial hair) and change weaponry - be it melee, ranged or magic. While I'm sure players who enjoyed the traditional Fable gameplay mechanics, might object to these changes, it must be said that they all work rather well and they provide you with everything you need to continue your adventure.
So, what the hell is the game itself like? Well, in all honesty, in terms of combat and general action, it's completely the same as the two preceding titles in the Fable series. In a way, this is a good thing. The combat is fluent and easy to get into. On the other hand, it has a tendency to bore the player with each stroke of the character's sword. It's true that you can unlock an assortment of cool-looking finishing moves, but sadly that doesn't stop the action from becoming a bit repetitive. You can also add the fact that enemies are essentially what we've seen in Fable 1 and Fable 2, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure.
The ambience is as appealing as in every Fable game, beautiful surroundings, plenty of quests, the action is fun;
The repetitive nature of the combat, the part when you become a ruler is too short and a bit constricted, not the sequel we hoped for.