Hello again dear readers, today I come to you from a world long forgotten and just a tiny bit glitchy. I am referring, of course, to Fable 3, Lionhead‘s latest entry into their massively successful roleplaying adventure game series. Fable 3 starts in very much the same way as Fable 2 did, a beautiful cinematic followed the entrance of your character in a humorous fashion. While the game still boasts many similarities to the second game in the series Fable 3 feels far more polished and the lack of menu screens and hud make for a far more immersive experience. A new addition to the game is a more complex storyline. In the game you start out as the brother to the king, and circumstances quickly send you out of the castle to lead a revolution against your brothers tyrannical rule. Where the game truly shines is in its humor, John Cleese and a stable of other popular british comedians give the game the finest comedy in any video game. In many ways I like to think of this game as RPG light, a game which allows you to dip your toes in the pool of character progression but doesn’t let you get mired down in the endless stats and figures.
Another nice feature to the game is the road to rule, instead of earning XP or some other contemporary you earn guild seals for every action you take in combat, social interaction, and quest completion. Once you have a healthy heaping of seals, you then are transported to the road to rule a three dimensional representation of your quest to overthrow the king. Instead of designating XP into stat columns, character progression is as easy as choosing which chest you would like to open. Each chest holds social gestures, combat upgrades, and job upgrades and you also unlock the ability to purchase homes and businesses which net you a hefty gold sum every five minutes.
In regards to real estate, an interesting change was made to the home rental process. In Fable 2 home purchasing was very much a fire and forget mechanism, it was simple to buy a house to rent out then simply forget about it as it generated income for you. In Fable 3 when you purchase a home you come to find that it requires regular upkeep and if you fail to keep the house repaired it falls into a state and the tenants residing there will refuse to pay rent. Businesses remain fire and forget real estate, although you can visit the shops for a good discount and picking up the days take from the register.
One of my personal favorite features in the game is the character customization options, both the player and their weapons change over time and you also have access to a bevy of clothing, tattoo, makeup, facial hair, and hair options to make you as unique as you’re prepared to be.
We can’t talk about this game without mentioning the combat mechanic in the game, Lionhead stuck with the simple three button combat scheme but seemed to make it more fluid and intuitive. As an added treat if you hold down your melee button or ranged button (X and Y respectively) the player produces and unblockable flourish. The ranged flourishes are often just a more accurate shot, but the melee flourishes produce a variety of amusing and badass animations that the enemy cannot block. It feels easier to switch between combat styles and in fact the game rewards you more when you do. Also new to combat is the inclusion of morphing weapons, when you begin the game you are given four basic hero weapons. These weapons morph over time based on actions you take. For example, if you are a good natured person the handle on your pistol might become more polished and ornate, or if you killed many Hollowmen with your sword it will take on a skeletal like appearance. The upgrades come to the player after each upgrade to the respective category on the road to rule. There are also legendary weapons scattered about the game, 26 in each unique game and 50 in total. Each legendary weapon has three upgrade slots which require you to do specific actions to receive that particular bonus on the weapon. One example that comes to mind is a blade that requires you to trade 20 times with someone over Xbox Live, or another is killing 300 hollowmen. Each weapon also comes with a humorous blurb regarding its name or function and some even giving nods back to fable 2.
There are a few detractors from the game, throughout the game there are various glitches with everything from dialogue not running to entire side quests not working or even enemies being invisible while they’re still attacking. The glitches don’t seem to be consistent between playthroughs so all is not lost and after two playthroughs I’ve not had any glitches with the main quests that would make the game unfinishable.
A minor gripe I have with the game is the pace at which the last half plays out, I would have preferred the game be split in half as it was advertised to be when it actually feels more like 3/4 is spent leading the revolution and the last quarter is spent as king.
As a total package Fable 3 is the most fun I’ve had in a game recently and I look forward to seeing if there will be any DLC to expand the adventure.
- Fable 3 fixes incoming, Lionhead asking for bug submissions (joystiq.com)
- Lionhead Needs Your Help To Fix Fable 3 (g4tv.com)
- Talkabout: Fable 3 (g4tv.com)