PG 1 | PG 2| PG 3
Alibon needs a hero, and that hero is you. In the clutches of your megalomaniac brother you must overthrow the king to restore order in a land of disarray. Sound like an adventure fit for a king? Then step right up to see what Lionhead has in store for us wary travellers.
The 'Fable' series has always been about one thing, giving the player a memorable adventure that is always interesting, unique and fun. The first two 'Fable' games did this and I am happy to report, so does the third. There is something about the magical world of Albion that is strangely inviting. It's one of those games that once it pulls you in, you can't get out... and that's a good thing. Oh 'Fable III,' you had us from the first execution, we are ready to be engrossed.
To Defy a Brother
In 'Fable III' you play as the Prince or Princess to throne of Albion with the current king being your ill repute brother, Logan. 'Fable III' doesn't waste any time putting you in the hot seat to make some life changing decisions. While one choice doesn't dictate the whole outcome of the game, each scenario has its own impact with the line between good and evil clearly drawn. Case and example, the first "major" decision you are forced into making is between killing the one you love, or a group of upset workers from the deprived city of Bowerstone. The classic; the life of one vs. those of the many. The decision is yours, but the outcome is the same, the king has to be dethroned and his tyranny halted.
Putting your plans of revolution in motion you escape the castle with 'Jasper,' the butler and 'Walter Beck,' your mentor. Escorted into father's (your character from Fable II) secret sanctuary where you acquire the 'Guild Seal' and meet 'Theresa' (the seer from Fable II's Spire) who guides your plans of revolt. Even though 'Fable III' references the earlier games from time to time, playing 'Fable' or 'Fable II' isn't a required to enjoy third. 'Fable III' is very much its own adventure with the player building his own legacy just like the two initial games.
Dethroning your brother is only half the game in your path to becoming a revolutionary hero. Once you accomplish this feat 'Fable III' kicks into second gear, albeit it's a short second gear, you are now King! As the 'King of Albion' you will be able to continue in the same actives as before, but you will also have to listen to the people and make some tough choices towards as ruler. The financial burden of running a kingdom comes more into fruition in the second half of the game as you learn to balance the needs of the kingdom with the wants of the people. This system isn't too “sim-like” keeping a good balance between the roleplaying and action thanks to Lionhead's excellent pacing. The whole 'Fable III' experience is one of the gaming highlights of the year, even if it can't live up everyone's expectations.
The Evolution of Interaction
Evolving from 'Fable II,' 'Fable III' has several features that have been tweaked from the ambitious sequel. All these changes might not please everyone as 'Fable III' streamlines its approach to be even more accessible then before. While the changes are pleasantly workable it feels like Lionhead is playing hopscotch with its ideas.
One main change in 'Fable II' is how the player interacts with the NPCs in the world. This jester system was a true innovation in the earlier Fable games, and I couldn't wait to see how Lionhead developed this feature even further, but like most things in 'Fable III,' it has been reworked or "streamlined" so you can focus one-on-one relationships rather then directing your actions to a crowd. Now you interact by pressing the (A) button and then choose from a random generated set of jesters. This takes away the ability to freely express yourself in a group setting. In one way it tightens up the gameplay, but the lack of freedom feels like a step backwards.
The evolution in NPC interaction comes in the form of a new 'hand holding' mechanic. This feature is used to drag NPCs to certain locations, usually in rescue attempts, or for a romantic rendezvous. It's a simple addition that really doesn't do add anything a simple follow command couldn't have handled. Sure, it's nice to run through the forest with your lover, but common, we're not really here for that, are we?
This brings me right into the next point. The jesters are the same silly and goofy animations that we have seen in the past. Sure, 'Fable' knows how to have fun, however, the silliness of conversing and the bleak prose is contradicting. Does 'Fable III' want to be a serious RPG, or a goofy romp? It wouldn't be so bad if the main quest was a little silly itself, but aside from a few quests and some silly side characters, 'Fable' takes itself very seriously, a point nailed down when you reach the impressively down ridden streets of Bowerstone. Who would have thought the hero of Albion would be stopping the depression of the kingdom one chicken dance at a time.