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Albion Falls to Bad Choices

The original Fable introduced us the land of Albion and the legend of the might Heroes that shaped its history.  Though the original was shorter than Danny Devito with Dwarfism, it still gave us a lot of fun tearing through the country side as a do-gooder or malicious villain and watching our choices shape (more or less) the outcome of the game.  Fable 2 was promised by its creator Peter Molyneux (though we’ve learned not to take him seriously by now…haven’t we……no…) that it would solve all the problems from the first one.  Though it fixed many of the combat issues and gave a little more customization, people were ultimately disappointed by its lingering lack of depth, not so compelling story, and shotty magic system.  Well here comes Peter Molyneux to the rescue (dear god) and promises that Fable 3 will fix all the problems.  Though some elements were improved up on, ultimately Fable 3 turned out to be more of a disappointment that it predecessor.

Fable 3 starts off a bit differently than the other two.  You are an adult prince instead of a child in poverty.  You are the brother to King Logan, Lord of Albion, sons of the Hero from Fable 3.  Your brother is the *** of all douches and it is up to you to start a rebellion and take the crown away from him.  In order to take the crown you must win people to your cause with promises and heroic acts.  That is the first half of the game.  The second half is you being the king and either being an honorable ruler or a worse tyrant than you brother.  Will you break your promises or rule benevolently?

I’m gonna go a bit of different way with this review.  Fable 3 through me for a loop and I feel that in order to properly review this game, I should first talk about what it improved upon and what it does right, and then what it failed miserably at.  Let’s get started

Fable 3 scored on:

  • The story.  Fable 3’s story wasn’t the best in the world, but it was fun to keep up with and kept me playing to see where it would go.  It was interesting to see how you would start a revolution against a monarch, and the same goes for what would happen if you ruled as a good guy or a bad guy.  The characters were hilarious and real (but not too real) and it was enjoyable to watch their lives unfold.
  • The combat.  Though not vastly different form Fable 2, it does have a little more style.  The flourishes are still there and if you go melee you can pretty much beat the game my slamming X the entire time.  However, at times your flourishes and attacks get pretty flashy, from breaking peoples necks to jumping spinning sword slashes that look awesome and makes mashing the X button just fine.
  • The magic (this might be only me).  No more of that horrible different levels/different spells crap.  Now you can choose a spell and use it to target single enemies or entire mobs.  The more you use spells, the shorter time it takes you to charge to full power, which makes you feel like your own sweat and time is really making you stronger.  The ability to “weave” two spells together and make more powerful and devastating attacks is also quite nice.
  • The Sanctuary.  Lionhead replaces the jumbled start menus with a sanctuary you go to whenever you “pause” the game.  This sanctuary has all you weapons and clothing, as well as your map for finding quests and fast traveling.  This is a big welcome and it is really easily accessible and fun to use.

With all these improvements at hand, Fable 3 had the potential to be the best game in the series.  Sadly, too many things were taken away.  For every great improvement something was muffed up just as bad.

Fable 3 fails at:

  • Clothing, hairstyles, facial hair…basically…customizing your character.  Fable 2 gave a massive amount of options for customizing you character and making them your own.  Fable 3 lacks in that department altogether.  You never have many options when it comes to clothes and hairstyles.  Though you could acquire dyes and make any clothing and hairstyle as colorful as you want, that falls short when you realize that there aren’t many options to choose from.
  • Last half of the game.  After you complete the revolution, you are forced to make decisions for your kingdom to try and make enough money to defend against a coming invasion.  It is really boring.  All you do, aside from a couple of adventure quests, is tell people whether or not they can carry out their plans.  Though it is cool to see how your choices affect the land, Lionhead could’ve made this part a little more interesting, rather than just sit there and say yes or no.
  • Choices.  Fable 3 makes it seem like whether you choose good or bad, you will be able to carry out the game no problem.  This is not true once you reach the second half.  If you have been good the entire time and honor your promises, then you will not have enough money to stop the invasion and most of the people of Albion will die.  If you are evil and say no to everyone, then you will have plenty.  Technically you could make a lot of money working, buy a lot of property, and slowly grind to make money and still be a good character, but then again, I could not play Fable 3 and just go log in more hours at my actual job.  In the end, it makes it seem like there was a right and a wrong way to play this game.
  • Making the character your own.  So the main character has a voice and actually talks in this game.  Cool right?  Not exactly.  It is…until you couple it with the lack of customization issues addressed above.  Then you realize that the character is not yours, it is just a generic character made for the game.  There were several moments throughout a playthrough that I found myself thinking “is this character really mine?”  Sometimes I forgot completely that this was supposed to be my own character.  You have lost one of the things that made Fable great, making a character your own.

I’ll go ahead and say that Fable 3 is not a bad game.  I did have a lot of fun playing it and beat it a couple of times just to try out everything.  The graphics are great, the combat is superb, the voices are as hilarious yet splendid as ever, and the story is rather gripping.  However, all the things that were lost between Fable 2 and 3 keep me from looking at this game as a superb achievement.  All I can see is what could have been, and what wasn’t.

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