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Fable III Review

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Fable III Review

Post by TRF on Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:31 pm

Story: 9/10

Fable III takes place nearly sixty years after the events of Fable II. During that time, the Hero of Fable II rules as emperor. Fable III starts with that Hero's eldest son, Logan, as the new king of Albion. He is corrupt and cruel, and Albion is in its worst time. You play as Logan's younger brother or sister (the Prince/Princess). Disgusted by what you see is happening to Albion, you decide to leave with your two closest friends: your butler Jasper and your combat instructor Sir Walter Beck, and start a revolution.

The setting does an accurate job of capturing a picture of Britain's Industrial Revolution. The iconic town of Bowerstone (present in all three Fable games) contains massive, towering smokestacks, slums containing sick, hungry beggars, and even child laborers. The sky is darkened by clouds of smoke, and there exists a chasm in society: the rich factory owners, and the poor beggars and laborers.

The writing is top-notch as well. The main questline is serious business, but many of the side missions are amusing and whimsical, and more often than not, you will find yourself bursting into laughter. It's a story that combines witty British humor with a tale of hope and desparation, and it works incredibly well due to the fact that the writers weren't trying to overly dramatize the serious parts or try and put humor in every scene. It's a delicate balance that the writers nailed almost perfectly.


Visuals: 7.5/10

Let's be honest: the Fable series isn't exactly known for its visuals, and this game is no exception. The game has received a nice graphical boost from Fable II's visuals. The game, overall, looks sharper and the colors are more vibrant. However, upon closer inspection, the graphics are still muddy like usual. Still, the game boasts its usual fantastic art style, which saves it from looking awful. The character designs are quirky and memorable, and the lighting is pretty damn good.


Sound: 8/10

The voice acting is top-notch. Fable III features many famous actors, including Stephen Fry (reprising his role as Reaver), Sir Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, John Cleese, Bernard Hill, and more. They all do a fantastic job of delivering their lines and making it feel like real dialog.

The music is also fantastic. It does a great job in immersing you in this fantasy world, and reminds you that despite the constant change in setting within the Fable series, this is still the Albion we have revisited time and time again.


Gameplay: 9/10

What's a game without the gameplay? There have been many games that have had top-notch writing and sound, but gameplay ruined it all. Luckily, this is not the case, as the gameplay is much improved over Fable II, and is really fun.

Combat is simple, yet very fluid and deep. There's one button for melee, one for ranged attacks, and one for magic. Mashing the melee button results in a glorious amount of diverse combos being pulled off. The Hero whips his gun around, blasting things away as you mash the ranged attack button. Mashing the spell button results in shockwaves and bolts of magic being thrown everywhere. The targeting system for ranged attacks and spells isn't great, but it works well-enough so that it doesn't completely frustrate the player.

The upgrading system has gotten a tune-up. In Fable II, you would collect dyes as an item, learn expressions from books, level up in occupations by working over and over, and levelling up skills individually using specific types of experience which you would earn based on how you fought (melee, ranged, magic). Fable III pushes that all aside and introduces a simpler, more streamlined upgrade experience called the Road to Rule. By killing baddies and gaining support of the people of Albion, you earn Guild Seals. These Guild Seals can then be spent on upgrading magic, melee, and ranged attacks as a whole. They can also be used to buy spells, dyes, expressions, "packs" (the ability to start a family, buy a house, rent out a house, buy a shop, etc.), and job levels.

On top of expressions, Lionhead has added a new feature called Touch. Touch allows you to, well, touch other people. You can now hug people, kiss people, shake their hands, and guide them to places by their hand. The hand-holding option is cool, but impractical during missions. For example, there was one mission where I had to guide a travelling merchant to a nearby town. So, I had to grab his hand and lead him to the town. On top of being forced to awkwardly hold hands with another man who is a complete stranger, I was also forced to let go of his hand to battle groups of bandits along the way. This makes the mission stop-and-start, which really makes the mission feel disjointed and not as fun as it could be. That being said, Touch, for the most part, is a nice addition to the series.

Another thing that has been streamlined is the menu. Fable II had a laggy, boring menu that I always dreaded having to go to. Fable III has improved upon that with what is known as the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is the same as a start menu, but it is a 3D space. There's a table in the center of the Sanctuary that acts as a map. There are also various rooms you can enter to view Achievements and in-game trophies, exchange weapons, exchange clothing, purchase DLC, and edit online settings. The new map is a big deal, because it allows you to fast travel, look for quests, and adjust rent and prices for the homes and shops you own (whereas in Fable II, you had to walk up to every house/shop and change the rent/prices individually).

The moral system is a key feature of the Fable series. Your appearance changes based on good and bad actions. For example, good actions will form a halo over your head. Bad actions will cause you to grow horns. Fable III expands upon this by also changing the shape of your weapons based on how you play. For example, bad weapons drip with blood. Good weapons grow longer and sharper. These changes are based upon not only what you do in the game, but also major decisions made in the game. The choices are "grey area" choices, meaning there is no obvious answer. You ultimately have to go with what you feel is right. It challenges the player's morality in ways that few games have.

We all love Albion, but I myself have always wondered how things worked outside of Albion. The first two Fable games never allowed the player to travel outside Albion (aside from Fable II's Knothole Island DLC). Fable III changes that by allowing the Hero to travel to a neighboring continent known as Aurora. Aurora is home to unique enemies, weapons, etc., and provides a nice change of setting for the series. It's great to be able to see how towns like Bowerstone and Oakvale have changed over the years, but ultimately gamers want something new, and Lionhead has finally answered that.

The co-op has also been fine-tuned. Fable II's co-op was a complete mess. Only the game host could play as his character. The guest had to pick a minion character to play as. Both players then had to share a screen, and things like over-the-shoulder aiming became impossible. Luckily, Fable III fixes everything. Both players can play as their own characters, and can both bring their dogs into co-op. Each player has his own camera, so players can venture as far from each other as they want. Lionhead has also added new features, such as the ability to marry a friend over Xbox LIVE, bump uglies over Xbox LIVE, and have a child over, you guessed it, Xbox LIVE.


Conclusion:

Fable III is a success in that it is able to add new features while streamlining and simplifying the over-complicated aspects of Fable II that were carried over. Perhaps if Fable II hadn't been such a trainwreck of a game (enjoyable, but still a trainwreck), this game would not have gotten as much praise by me, but Fable III feels like the sequel the original Fable truly deserves. It fixes nearly every problem that Fable II had, as well as adding many new features to the series, almost all of which are welcome. Fable III is easily one of the best games this year, and the simplicity of the game makes it accessible to fans of Fable and newcomers alike.


Final Score: 9/10

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Re: Fable III Review

Post by Epzaos on Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:57 pm

Nice Review, my copy will hopefully arrive tomorrow, can't wait to play it.Drooling
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by TRF on Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:48 pm

Epzaos wrote:Nice Review, my copy will hopefully arrive tomorrow, can't wait to play it.Drooling
Thanks. Gimme your Gamertag and we can play.

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Re: Fable III Review

Post by SlySonji™ on Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:21 pm

Great review. Can't wait for our THREESOME!
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by TWILIGHTRULEZZZ on Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:21 pm

great review ill pretend I read it
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by xxDEATH METALxx on Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:06 pm

The game doesn't come out here until tommorow. I'll get it then.
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by sulley on Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:00 pm

nice trf. stephen fry is awesome as reaver!!!
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by TRF on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:28 pm

sulley wrote:nice trf. stephen fry is awesome as reaver!!!
He is. I also just found out recently that he's the also the narrator for the LittleBigPlanet series.

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Re: Fable III Review

Post by sulley on Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:30 pm

wow have you?? i figured it out as soon as i heard his voice.
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Re: Fable III Review

Post by TRF on Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:41 pm

sulley wrote:wow have you?? i figured it out as soon as i heard his voice.
Yeah, well you're British, so . . . Meh

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Re: Fable III Review

Post by TRF on Mon Nov 29, 2010 11:05 pm


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Re: Fable III Review

Post by pspvampire on Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:19 pm

I got a strange sense of deja vu reading this as if I'd read it before... maybe I have lol

But it was really well written. You could be a professional game critic man. I really need to get this game.
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