The Fable series has been one of the finest fantasy romps in history, with Fable 2 released to critical acclaim and public adoration. Almost everything that Peter Molyneaux and Lionhead touch turns to gold and the two year wait for Fable 3 has been an impatient one for many.
You take the role of either a male or female hero, the child of the hero from Fable 2 (the game can check your save file for this). Your brother Logan has taken command of the country and unfortunately is a rather evil ruler. It is your duty, with the help of Sir Walter to right the wrongs and bring sunlight and happiness to the people of Albion. The tyrant Lord Lucien is no more and this time you face all manner of evil wrong doings.
As we had hoped, there is a very colourful interaction between your character and the rest of the world. There are many jokes and funny expressions such as farting and dancing. The game doesn’t just try to be funny, it really is hilarious. This is helped by the amazing quality of voice acting from pros such as John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Ben Kingsley and Simon Pegg. This is a voice cast which can comfortably mix it with the best of them.
The game design hasn’t been dramatically changed since Fable 2 – it is an action oriented Role playing Game with amazing mission scripting. The characters are immensely detailed, fully three dimensional and the locations and art design further enhances the feeling of a vibrant pulsating world.
The questing is split into two sections, royalty and revolutionary. The revolutionary missions involve Sir Walter, as you plot and tackle objectives to help overthrow your evil brother, the King. When you accomplish these missions, as ruler you are presented with a daily schedule by your butler, Hobson – a hilarious character who gave me more than a few chuckles. There are also many side quests which pad out the content nicely and properties and be managed and new families started. Anyone who has played Fable 2 will be immediately comfortable with the structuring – it is almost like putting on your favourite pair of slippers again.
The Sanctuary has been a high profile talking point because the menu system is now fully interactive. If you want to change clothes you walk into the dressing room for example. It negates the need for a clumsy menu interface and opts for the Rockstar ‘Grand Theft Auto’ approach.
The guild system has been adjusted in Fable 3 as the players get rewarded with Guild Seals on all of their actions. If you kill some enemies you get a Guild Seal, if you interact in a certain way with a character, you get another Guild Seal. These seals can be used on the Road to Rule, a road onscreen that is littered with chests containing various power ups.
While the voice acting and overall game system is beautiful, there are some issues in regards to bugs. We are surprised for instance to see collision detection issues. I got stuck in various parts of the scenery from time to time which would sometimes mean I would need to reload. This will hopefully be patched, but it seems ultimately rushed out before it was completely ready. The engine while attractive, also suffers from performance issues with the frame rate juddering along when you least expect it. Load times are also painful and we would expect more from the Xbox 360 hardware, even if it is becoming a little dated now.
On a gameplay level, there is little to fault. The new addition of multiplayer means that the game can be enjoyed now with a friend and it adds so much more to the experience. If you are playing with your girlfriend you can even have in game sex if that floats your boat (or even same sex ermm sex). I can only begin to imagine the videos making their way onto Youtube at a later date.
Fable 3 may annoy some players as the game doesn’t bring anything incredibly new to the table, it is a very similar game to the last but instead brings enhancements and UI fixes to the table… while not addressing some of the more major issues such as clipping, frame rate issues and load times. We are glad to see the horrible menu system changed however as that drove us crazy in the past. It is well worth a look, and fans of the franchise should be more than happy.