Friday, November 26, 2010

Fable III Review

Unless this review is your first ever experience with the Xbox platform, you would have heard of the revolutionary series named Fable. Back when the Xbox launched an unknown title by Lionhead Studios changed the way games were positioned forever. Instead of having the story determined by the developers perspective, Fable turned the responsibilities onto the player as they chose whether the hero of the game would be good or evil. What you did affected your appearance and even the way people reacted to your presence. It was an excellent addition to mix up what would have been a dry RPG. Fable II was 500 years after the original and Fable III is a further 50 years into the future, placing the game into the industrial era. This timeframe has brought some improvements and failures, in both Albion and the actual game itself.


The game has been criticised in the past for rarely having any graphical improvements since the original game on the Xbox. Not much has changed again for Fable III, but the small improvements such as better shading and textures has finally brought Fable into the 360 generation. Albion is a grimy and shady land compared to previous versions. Even the once bustling Bowerstone region has fallen to the Industrial rule of Reaver Industries, creating a damp and uninviting area. It is amazing how much has changed in only 50 years for Albion. Gone are the small towns of Oakfield and Bloodstone as new towns such as Brightwall and Aurora has surfaced in this time period.

In Fable II it was a common thing to see technical glitches scattered throughout the game. If you slowly walk up stairs it is obvious that your character was not in complete with the environment. Thankfully I found Fable III to address many of these small problems, making the world a more fulfilling adventure the third time around. Some problems still exist, pretty woeful synchronisation between voice and the moving of the mouth is the main problem. None of the glitches will hinder the enjoyment of the game however.

The hero of Fable has traditionally been silent with absolutely no lines in the game. Other characters in the game have always uttered random opinions of you as the hero struts by and main characters of course had big roles to play. This entire concept that has been intact for two installments has been finally thrown out as your quest to be king has been raised. To be a king you need to know how to communicate with the citizens of Albion. While the hero isn't a complete chatterbox, it is a very nice addition to finally communicate with others in more than simple actions.

The various characters that has a part in missions or the main storyline are superbly cast and some of the biggest names from the UK have parts in the game. The game is based in an English area and the excellent choice of cast has really made the game unique. The hilarious missions and people you need to help along your adventure really set the theme as a more lighthearted game than other RPG's. One of the best voice actors in the game is the heralded Stephen Fry as Reaver, the evil owner of Reaver Industries who ends up being under your command. His dark tone suggests a hint of evil throughout the entire game, but in particular the second half as a ruler. Overall, this presentation of Fable III has been improved in small ways to make a big difference to the general experience received from Albion.


Fable and Fable II's story focused around becoming a hero to avenge the death of a close family member, while at the same time Albion was saved also. Thankfully only so many revenge tales can happen in this land. The Hero from Fable II had two children, Logan who eventually becomes the tyrant king of Albion and yourself. Logan is a harsh ruler who is bringing Albion into disrepair and with the help of your trainer Walter, you must overthrow his reign to save Albion. The job is not possible by yourself, followers need to be recruited in order to have enough power to overthrow your brother. After becoming king in most games, that would be the end of the main story, but not in Fable III. It is only halfway. You are told of a great disaster that is only a year off destroying all of Albion and must then make decisions to prepare the continent for this upcoming threat.

Previous titles have all had a focus on being good or evil, but Fable III takes it to a more intense level. Within 5 minutes you have a tough decision to make and the decisions as king are some of the hardest I have ever faced in a game. In the earlier games I went into the game knowing whether I wanted to be a good or evil hero, but the second half of the game really tests your morals as you struggle to do whats right for Albion in the short or long run. The first half of the game is all about being a good hero (You are overthrowing your evil brother afterall), but thankfully the massive twist rekindled my fascination with this game.

Lionhead Studios have never wanted Fable to be a serious RPG full of confusing levelling systems and countless hours of boosting to be successful at the game. The steps made in Fable III reassure the stance from the previous titles, but have they taken it too far? Albion is officially a menuless adventure with the new interactive Sanctuary housing your map, weapons, money and stats while the Road of Rule incorporated into the story becomes the new levelling system. These were both questionable changes but after playing through the game I now value what they have done, making the game more involved throughout all levels. To appeal to casual fans they have now made the game easier than the already incredibly easy Fable II. Gone are health bars as the regenerating energy from every FPS has made it's way into the story. You can't die, instead being knocked out and receiving some battle scars. The problem is, even someone who is fairly new to RPG's can get through the entire game without being knocked out, once. If they are going to have this kiddie level of gaming, at least put in a hardcore mode for people who like a challenge. Even the ruling section where you have a year to complete everything to save Albion, the time doesn't count down unless you complete the objectives. Why not add in a mode where you will actually have to race the clock to complete everything?

What the game lacks in difficulty it certainly makes up for with laughs. The people you meet along your adventure are hilarious and some of the idiotic challenges they wish you to do will make you laugh. The entire story was engaging and all the main quests had a reason to complete them, something that lacks in a majority of RPG's. The story of the Hero is one that takes many twists and turns, even if it isn't the longest game of all time. Rushing through the main story, you could probably wrap up the entire game in under 10 hours. The beauty of Albion is that you want to spend time hunting the entire continent for keys and quests, not streamlined doing the main story. If you think you have had enough, why not join another friends or complete strangers world and help or hinder their progress.


Fable III makes some improvements on past games, while also going backwards in some areas. The positives of this game outweigh the negatives however. Albion is a more spectacular area that really unleashes the true potential of this series. Fable has been thrust at casual gamers, and these such players will have an absolute ball playing. Hardcore gamers may feel left out with the easy nature of Fable III, but if you can accept the fact that it will be easy, then the many secrets of Albion will reward the players that pursue their adventure.

The choice of good or evil has never been greater in Fable III, where your decisions will really have an effect on the world around you. For the first time you don't only have to think about the consequences for yourself, but also for the citizens of Albion. Without giving anything away, this game is going to test your morals even though it won't necessarily test your Hero's combat skills. As long as you are prepared for an easy game, you should have an absolute ball playing Fable III.

Graphics - 7.5/10
Sound - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Overall - 8/10