Game Review: Fable 3

Fable 3 lands a Busy Gamer 4

First Glance:
The third installment to the popular Fable series. More choices for a new Hero and a kingdom to rebuild.

The Short Story:
Peter Molyneaux sends us back to Albion once again but this time as the direct offspring of the Hero from Fable 2. The choices you make throughout the game, as in the first two of the series, determine how people react to you and the outcome of the story. You’re putting together a revolution this time around and you have to make some tough choices along the way as you make your alliances and try to get the population of Albion behind you.

The Score:
Fable 3 has taken everything that was done right in the first two games and produced an absolutely fabulous outing into the world of Albion. Combat has been dumbed down (almost too much in some cases) and the story will leave you wanting more. The pros of this game, however, outweigh the cons and deliver on aspects that will leave even the busiest gamer wanting more. While you may want to play more than thirty minutes to an hour at a time, this game can be devoured in short sessions with very little problem and may almost be too short in regards to the storyline. Fable 3 pulls down a Busy Gamer 4.

Body of review:
Those of you who remember what we had to say about Fable 2 (http://www.busygamer.com/blog1/?p=1008) may be surprised that we’ve rated it’s sequel so highly but there’s a reason to all of it that may surprise you if you haven’t had the chance to sample Peter Molyneaux’s latest offering. To begin, there’s the story. Without spoiling it for you, the hero you create is thrown into the fray very quickly with your first moral choice coming shortly after creating your character. Forced to choose between two evils, you quickly begin to understand just how difficult some of the choices you have to make truly are.

That's your brother. Any guesses as to where his moral compass points?

I mentioned after playing the game over Halloween weekend that one could beat the storyline in Fable 3 rather quickly. This is the truth. It’s my estimation that if you were to focus solely on the story and avoided the side quests, you could conceivably wrap up the game in under 4-5 hours. You’re going to miss out on a lot of the game by doing this but if you were really pressed for time and wanted to just breeze through the story, it’s possible. And if you were to do so, you could still continue to do quests and power up your character as the side quests are all available regardless of what point you are in the story.

The combat system has been overhauled in Fable 3 and while I initially disapproved of the changes, they grew on me. To begin, all of your combat abilities as well as your non-combat skills are purchased using Guild Seals. Guild Seals are gained by killing enemies, completing quests, and by making friends (or enemies) with the local villagers. To improve skills, your Hero has to teleport to the Road of Rule, a shadowy realm reflecting your travels and adventures through the game, where chests line the Road that can only be unlocked by spending your hard earned Seals. This allows you to power up abilities without actually having to use them, a problem in the two earlier versions of Fable where one combat skills could quickly outpace your other two skills making it difficult later in the game to improve said skills against the harder opponents.

With the change to the combat skill system comes another addition to the combat. Each skill is accessed by pressing one button on the controller. In other words, pressing the Y button always utilizes your gun (the only ranged weapon category this time out) while X and B activate your melee and magic skills respectively. At first this might seem like an oversimplification but timing your attacks can produce some truly spectacular results. For instance, pressing X just as an enemy attacks results in a slow motion counter attack that typically results in a one shot kill. The game isn’t specific about the timing and the only means to practice the counter attack is to figure it out as you go. The counter attack can be done with all of your weapons and spells and once mastered can significantly increase your potency in combat. Flourishes still play a part in your fights and can be used to negate an opponent’s defense.

No more crossbows but for some reason, we don't miss them.

Making friends (or enemies) has been vastly improved as well. Your choices for interacting have been simplified to three choices, allowing you to perform a good or evil action with the touch of a button. No more trying to figure out what action will net you the best result!  Your Hero’s attractiveness will play a factor in how much of an increase or decrease you see with each action. Wooing a prospective mate will often involve at least one relationship quest, typically a delivery or a scavenger hunt, as will moving any one of the villagers from Neutral to Friendly.

Weapons have been changed as well. No longer will you be hunting down “socketed” weapons and gems to fit in them. Certain weapons will have “mini” quests attached to unlock its full potential and three of your weapons will actually begin to take on attributes based on how you use them. Use your Hero’s hammer to smash primarily undead foes and the hilt of the weapon will begin to take on a skeletal appearance. Perform primarily evil deeds and your weapon will take on an unhealthy glow. The weapons you will encounter throughout your adventures will range from the silly to the truly powerful.

Multiplayer in Fable 3 now allows you to bring your actual Hero into another Hero’s world. You’ll no longer be some faceless mercenary and your actions can in fact impact the environment of your friend’s world. Start massacring villagers and those people will no longer be a part of your friend’s world. You can also invest in another player’s world, buying real estate to share ownership and profits from. This would allow a lowly player just starting off in their world to purchase some prime real estate even though the ownership is shared. Short play sessions can yield impressive results even where two Heroes are evenly matched and can result in some truly amusing moments.

The spell effects and landscapes in Fable 3 can be truly beautiful

Alignment has been modified slightly. While your actions do have an effect on your appearance, it is the choices you make towards the end of the storyline that truly have impact on how you are viewed by the people around you. Choosing to do mostly evil as you choose how to prevent the end of Albion is what will see you as a truly benign or malevolent Hero.

Overall, the things that made the first two games great remain in place while some minor tweaks and some major overhauls have resulted in a more enjoyable, and time efficient, experience. Using the multiplayer can allow a player to quickly overcome obstacles within their own world or allow them to become more powerful in another Hero’s world while enjoying some time with friends. The entire experience we have come to expect from the Fable series is solidly in place here and the story that is being told is captivating.

Gritskrieg – End of Line

Posted By Gritskrieg

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