Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios are back with Fable III, the third installment of their highly successful franchise. The series has gained plenty of fans since its 2004 debut on the original Xbox, but has also gained criticism for under-delivering on over-promises made by Mr. Molyneux. Peter and co. have kept it pretty quiet for Fable III; so much so that at one point I forgot it was coming out. Having played Fable III extensively for this review, I can tell you that you don’t wanna miss out on what Fable III has to offer.
Like the previous games in the series, Fable III is about you as a character and the decisions you make throughout the story. The story in Fable III has to be the best one yet. Taking place fifty years after the events of Fable II, the city of Albion calls upon a new hero. You assume the role of of the youngest son of the hero from Fable II. You brother, the evil tyrant King Logan, has been driving Albion down to grown and it’s now your time to dethrone him.
The story is broken down into two parts. The first is to gain followers throughout Albion. You gain their support by completing a quest for them, either involving retrieving something or killing someone. Once you gain their loyalty they will ask you to make a promise, which you will later have to keep or decline once you have gained the thrown. The second part deals with your first year as the King of Albion. You will be given a list of task to complete, like setting the tax for the upcoming year and choosing whether or not to rebuild certain areas. Making good decisions will make you popular but will put you in debt. Making bad decisions will make everyone hate you but will keep you wealthy. Fable III really takes the character development to another level in terms of actually having to make important decisions that can later on affect the game. What King will you be?
Fable’s gameplay gets a bit simplified with Fable III. Fable has always been considered an RPG, but in Fable III it’s difficult to see any of those elements from the previous games. Fable III leans more towards the roots of an action-adventure game. In traditional Fable fashion, you have three means of attack; swords, guns, and magic. Swords and guns transform and are upgraded throughout the game based on the decisions that you make. All of your actions are taken into account, making your weapons unique. Fable III tries to make magic spells faster and easily accessible by limiting you to use one at a time. Eventually you will gain the ability to combine two magic spells together.
If you played Fable II you surely remember how terrible the user interface was. It was slow, confusing, and overwhelming. Fable III introduces The Armory, your new hub destination to everything you will need. The Armory can be brought up by pushing the pause button, and will take you into a room where you can swap weapons, change clothes, a trophy room, and manage your Xbox Live settings. It also features a great map hub that will help you fast travel to various locations throughout Albion. You can also visit the Road to Rule, which is a location where you can purchase chest with guild seals that you earn by completing quest. This is a huge improvement from previous game, and will make everything easier to manage.
It’s unfortunate that Fable III runs into some technical issues. They’re usually just annoyances, as opposed to game breaking bugs. For instance, the companion dog will, on occasion, get stuck behind and wall so I have to retreat so that he can follow right behind me. I have also noticed that some enemies will get stuck inside a wall. Besides those mishaps, Fable III’s environments looks really good. The rest is almost standard to what games look like nowadays.
The sound design in Fable III makes the game feel more alive. Fable III is a huge game with plenty of voiced characters and they mostly sound great. Fable III features an impressive list of British actors that can deliver great dialogue and the British humor in the writing. John Cleese, Simon Pegg, Michael Fassbender and Stephen Fry, all deliver some great voice work moments. As for music composition, I don’t know why but I swear I heard some of the same songs in Fable II.
Fable III is easily my favorite of the three. It’s once again a massive game with an wide range of things to do. Delivers a great narrative and a stronger story. And I finally felt like the decisions I made actually made a difference in my game. Fable is about the choices you make. Should you make the choice to pick up this game, you will not regret it.