The third in the trilogy created by Lion Head Games, it seems the developers have attempted to put a new spin on this much beloved role playing game. Ditching old mechanics and going for a much more simpler gaming interface, what it all comes down to is either a game that has become so condensed that there is no guts too it, or a game that has simply become the wheel reinvented.
Fable III takes place yet again in the joyful and heavily British influenced Albion many years after the events of the second game where you, unnamed Protagonist, whose first name really is Unamed, has decided that the rather large area of Albion, still isnít bigger enough for him and his brother Logan: who happens to be the most hated person in the land, which also happens to be bad luck for you. After escaping the grand castle you grew up in, from here the game takes you on path of becoming a revolutionary, gathering supporters and alike, to win back the castle over Logan.
The game play as mentioned before has been condensed down considerably, although its says that thereís no pause menu to take you out of the action, there is some sort of Ritual Room which is meant to be some sort of substitute. However, as you play through the game youíll find that this substitute takes even longer then what a normal menu would, and hence defeats its purpose. The common game play elements experienced in previous games from the Fable series are still here though, the spell making (which has been weirdly changed to gauntlets, probably not for copy right reasons) and of course shooting and chopping up people. In terms of spells you can mix them up, and throw them in all different kinds of directions while upgrading them along the way in your adventure. Theyíre good, some are random, like swords falling out of the sky and targeting foes, but theyíre generally good fun. The gun play is interesting, and the developers used the y button as the trigger button, which works surprisingly well. One of the new ideas that came with this game, is the fact that your weapons change depending on how you use them. However, with the guns they didnít seem to change to much appearance wise. However these upgrades are quite substantial as time goes by.
The combat all in all is generally good, but turns old too quickly. In terms of actual social elements, some have returned from Fable 2. Like buying a house, renting it, decorating it, getting a wife to put in the house, getting a child thatís coming out of the wife, and yeah, you get the idea. Talking to people is kind of tiring though, and I found no matter what expansion social packs I could buy for my character none of them seemed to be that satisfying. Sure, some of them are immaturely humerus, like farting in someoneís face, but others just seem useless, like shaking their hand so often that they suddenly like you so much they want to marry you. However, despite being non satisfying, they are funny, and are a welcome addition to the pack. And on that note, most of the game is a bit of a joke, and this can be a good and bad thing. In fact in terms of game play, itís one of its stronger points. One mission for instance had me rein-acting the legendary ďHam Sandwich PlayĒ and another running around town in a Chicken Suit to gather chickens around back into their pens. The funny ones are the best ones.
Youíll also find your companion dog helping you to find treasure along the way on your adventure. And this companion goes every where with you. And I mean everywhere, if you jump down 500 foot drop with no ground in site, your mans best friend will follow. This is loyalty at its core. Is it a social statement on how we should all treat each other? Probably not, but its good to have wishful thinking like that. So as you wander around the dog will magically yelp and lead you to a treasure box. Its also impossible for you to get lost: just follow the gleaming trail of light, even though this some times disappears for no apparent reason. There is a lot to do in this game, but some of the RPG elements have really been stripped down. But I donít like the fact that in this one you know whatís wrong and whatís right. And whatís wrong is generally wrong at the extreme, and whatís right is generally pretty right if you catch my drift.
The whole are you good or evil question is obviously still there, but I find the different paths you can go down in terms of the whole over arching plot is really limited. Its really as simple as: Are you bad or are you good? And that decision comes from either doing really good or bad things. And at the end of the day everyone will end up at the same point, its just how you got there thatís different. But its after that point strangely where things actually start to matter. Itís a pity that after this ďpointĒ is actually the last quarter of the game, but that part too is quite condensed. What Lion Head did right though was giving your decisions weight. You feel like they matter, its no big spoiler to say you will eventually become king, but as you do, you feel as if your decisions actually do matter, because youíve seen and interacted with the people during your revolutionary trip earlier whose lives youíre about to effect. What it really comes down to is subjectiveness. If you want it plain and simple, two path choice, this is the game for you, if you want something all and all more unique in the whole retrospect of things: perhaps this games RPG elements arenít enough for you.
This is where Fable III is likely to turn off some viewers. The graphics show a game that could have been a last generation one. Theyíre edgy, and theyíre ugly. Kinda like the characters. Some cuts scenes though are beautiful, and have clearly been rendered well, but these unfortunately are few and far between. Most of cut scenes look handmade and drawn by a primary school student, and some of the game play cut scenes are so dreadful you start to wonder whether they were purposely made that way as a joke. For instance, when digging in the snow to find treasure that your dog has lead you too, youíll stick your shovel in, take it out, dirt instead of snow will then appear on the shovel, and youíll dump it on a fellow A.I who doesnít seem to care too much. Finally, if you upgrade the gun that you have, it will come with what seems like a kill cam. Something that zooms in on your target when your shooting from some sort of different perspective. This is annoying. Which is bad considering its an upgrade. I had troubles where the camera would zoom in onto what looked like a rock, which I know for certain Iím not meant to be shooting at. Also, the camera slows things down, which means by the time you reload after your shot, the kill cam segment ends.
Will FABLE III Get chicken booted?
Although the cut scenes are generally terrible, you donít play this game for its cinematic sequences. This ainít a Oscar Performance. Although it does star John Clease. You forgive its presentation flaws for the humour, and before long this humour mixes in with the game play to give you great memorable missions. And the quests are brilliant, and almost all of them are memorable. The game play can get old around mid point of the game, but you can upgrade and switch spells around to kind of fix this. It doesnít do the trick completely but it helps. The simplicity works well in some areas but not all. The social aspects are great with the simplicity, but in terms of different out comes: not so great. The last segment of the game although giving your decisions weight, is also severely broken whether youíre looking for simplicity or not. But there is plenty of different stuff to do.
GAMEPLAY-8.5 Fighting mechanics get old mid point, but there is so much stuff to do. And I mean a lot. Nearly all the quests are memorable for their crazy objectives. RPG elements could have been better in terms of different outcomes, but at least it paints whatís right and wrong easy. Such a colourful world has never been so black and white.
SOUND-7.0 The voice acting is alright, its not the best, the characters are quite like able though due to the comments made by them. The script aids the characters a lot and their stereotypical cut outs.
ATMOSPHERE.9.0 Incredible. This sandbox has so much character, and it shows through so much. The characters dialogue, the ads on the loading screen, the smart comments, it all adds up for an incredible atmosphere.
PRESENTATION 6.0 Cut scenes are horrible, if you can stomach them. But you donít play this game for this element. Then again, there is a certain standard that needs to be met that this game just completely missed with its screwed up kill cam.
STORY-8.5 Quite good in the way it melds into the game play. This isnít Bioshock standard by any means, but you do care about certain characters at certain points for once, which is rare in video games. Even so its kind of rare to care about them until the last quarter. The plot line is predictable.
Overall Score: 8.0