By Peter Carmody
The eagerly anticipated third installment of the Fable saga has finally reached us and the famed fairy tale land of Albion has moved into the age of industry.
Much has changed in the last 50 years most importantly the Hero ruler from Fable 2 has passed on leaving the throne to the eldest of the royal offspring, who in turn has driven the people to the point of insurgence. After personally experiencing your brother’s ruthlessness you decide that the responsibility to restore Albion to its former glory lies with you.
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The tale follows your up and coming protagonist as you travel to the furthest reaches of Albion and make deals with the kind of people your mother warned you to stay away from, in order to stage a revolution and dethrone your sadistic sibling. Once you’ve achieved this coup d’Ã©tat. The Game will change pace and you will find yourself developing King sized headaches trying anticipate the magnitude of the repercussions your decisions will have, and wondering where the simple days went when 20 unfriendly hollow men was your greatest worry.
In previous Fable games your journey would have started as a child, which was mostly just the tutorial phase of the game. As your premature days has been left out of Fable3, the baby steps have been nicely integrated into the early stages of the story which gives the beginning of the game a good pace. If you have played previous Fable installments you will recognize the trademark Fable humor, as well as some of the places and characters from before. If this is your first Fable experience, you’re in for a treat. This game is good fun and has a riveting story line that will keep you playing for extended sittings.
The environments are very good looking and have got significantly larger which reduces the possibility of you getting cornered in a potion shop with 30 ranting fans standing around you and no way to get out. The game blends its eye-catching environments and a fantastic score perfectly, which enables the player to move through the ever changing moods of the game with relative fluidity. The frame rate can be a bit inconsistent at times, and some of the texture load ups could be a bit faster, which unfortunately detracts from what is otherwise a good looking and cohesive game.
As with previous Fable titles the score is very well composed and accompanies the gameplay well. Fans will recognize the tunes from the first and second Fable games as well as some familiar voice actors. Zoe Wanamaker (voice of Theresa) returns to accompany Sir Ben Kingsley, Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross and John Cleese amongst others. These BBC regulars add a recognizable and definitively British feel to the characters personas.
The already comparatively fast loading times are made more pleasant by the amusing posters which change relative to the story as you progress through it. This keeps you involved in the game even during loading screens. Without being in the game for too long you will notice a distinct lack of menu, this is simply because the menu has been taken out and replaced with the sanctuary. This well concealed subterranean hero hideout, where your faithful butler attends to your every need is where you will control everything that has to do with your hero (If only there was a Bat-mobile).
From the main hall of your sanctuary you can view the gifts given to you by people you befriend, or you can fast travel to just about anywhere in Albion by using your table map.
The sanctuary also boasts a dressing room, where you will be able to customize your characters appearance from the attire you have collected. You can also pop into the trophy room to keep track of your personal fortune and achievements, and of course no hero would be complete without an armory where you store your weapons and magical abilities. From this well hidden stronghold you will also be able to jump through a Cullis gate which will transport you to a magical plain that maps out your road to the throne. After each benchmark in the story’s progress you will open another gate on the road, allowing you to get closer to the throne and spend some of you hard earned guild seals which you acquire by partaking in quests, rallying people to your cause and performing well during skirmishes.
The Combat has become noticeably more fluid and you are now able to switch between your different attacks with less hindrance. The face buttons on your controller still manage the basic ranged, magic and melee attacks and as before holding these buttons down initiates stronger or more focused assaults. One enjoyable addition to the otherwise too familiar fighting system is the ability to execute slow motion killer moves on your opponents. Unfortunately these moves happen at random. A more regressive aspect to this game is the absence of the traditional health meter, but since it is almost impossible to get knocked down I can see how the developers felt that it was rather silly to have one. Instead the small icons in the bottom left corner will begin glow red when you have been bashed around a bit too much, and at this point you could simply role away from the hoard of creatures trying to hack at your head, and pick them off from a safe distance until the glowing subsides.
While the enemy creatures and characters you encounter get progressively harder to kill they are not necessarily harder to fight. In previous Fable games you would receive different coloured skill orbs according to how you chose to dispatch your opponents. This time around you will receive the same guild seal experience regardless of how you choose to down your attackers, which has the ability to make combat rather boring considering you could just stick to your most powerful ability to quickly get through a skirmish.
In comparison to Fable 2 it has become a bit harder to earn money, while you can still involve yourself in small jobs, trade and the real estate game, you will notice that things are generally quite expensive. Home ownership now requires upkeep, as the state of your properties will influence the rent you are able to gain from them. Thankfully this can all be dealt with from the table map in the sanctuary without actually going there. The ability to accumulate rent money even when you are not playing the game has been taken out, which will disappoint the real estate tycoons out there, but for the most part I feel it is a good thing that your money is not earned too easily . When you get to do some shopping and spend some of your cash, you will notice that you have to select the items for purchase from the shelves, and not by talking to the store owners and reading through a long list. Like before the impression you make on people can have a significant effect on the prices you pay, and you might find yourself doing dance lifts with bearded store owners in order to lower prices. While you can still purchase books to train your dog, skill upgrades and expressions for your character will need to be purchased using guild seals on the road to the throne.
Character interaction has been simplified quite considerably, and the few choices that you are able to select are displayed with little sparkles and flames for good and bad choices respectively. While the expressions can at times seem quite inappropriate they do add to the games humor. Instead of using the â€œfollow meâ€ expression you will now be able to hold hands and guide your hanger-on through varying circumstances. Which to be truthful can look pretty strange at times. Interacting with your dog is still an option but there is very little motivation to do so considering the creature has now developed a somewhat concrete pelt and doesn’t seem to get hurt.
Last Updated: November 1, 2010