Game Review – Fable 3 – Lionhead Studios (Xbox360)

fable 3 packshot

Albion has reached its industrial age but also one of tyranny and peril. It is ruled over by Logan, son of the hero of Fable 2, whose reign is one of fear and repression. Albion needs a new hero. Luckily Logan has a younger sibling ready to take the mantle of responsibility.

So far, so Fable…

Indeed this latest offering from Peter Molyneux’s Lionshead studio rings very few changes indeed. The graphics have stepped up once again, and there’s a grimier feel to it all. The plot is as you’d expect to start with, quest away, gain reputation, make friends, change the world for the better.

Certain things have been simplified too. Instead of XP points for various skills you collect Guild Seals which also count towards reknown. They accrue automatically so you don’t need to collect anything up while fighting, and are used to level up not just weapons but social and work skills.

NPCs don’t like or love you automatically (at least not early on), you have to interact with them and most will demand either gifts or quests (usually delivering something or picking something up) before they like you. Interactions have also been made much simpler. Once you’ve collected all the emotions they are not available individually as per Fable 2. If you want to do something nasty or nice an action is chosen for you, rather than you deciding what you want to do.

Actions are much simpler now too, instead of needing perfect timing, simply holding down the A button for the correct length of time will ensure a good result. Similarly, work tasks are now sequences of timed button presses. It feels less clunky and a lot less irritating.

Combat is still a choice between melee and ranged weapons and spells. Even this feels easier, certainly I died a lot less than in Fable 2. Molyneux appears to have decided that simplicity is the key, ensuring few frustrations get in the way of the plot or game experience. Even interactions with the dog seem simpler. I can’t help but wonder if that’s because there was supposed to be a Kinect element to the game, which they couldn’t shoehorn in in time.

(Seriously though, if Kinect can capture facial expressions, Fable 4 should be outstanding, it would be wonderful if all those button presses were replaced with your own actions).

What makes Fable 3 interesting is what happens after you overthrow the tyrant king. Albion is faced with a grave peril that could destroy the country completely. It can be stopped, but it needs a lot of money. Which means that promises made at the start of the adventure may have to be broken.

Suddenly I understand how Nick Clegg must feel every day in government. If you don’t have enough personal capital to ensure the safety of the people then some really hard decisions have to be made. (There was one decision I made which I regretted almost instantly, akin to the UK government considering selling off the forests).

There are interesting moral dilemmas for the greater good. Which is just as well as the final battles are very easy indeed.

As ever the vocal work is superb. Zoe Wanamaker returns as Theresa, the blind seer, Stephen Fry is Reaver once again, while new cast members include Jonathan Ross, John Cleese and Simon Pegg (who is particularly good). The game is light hearted in tone and deceptively addictive. It is however very short. The main campaign can be completed in just over 24 hours, although side quests (gnomes replacing gargoyles, flower collecting) will bump that up.

Fable 3 does pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. While there are few surprises it is well made and good fun. Indeed it’s almost too much good fun. Playing this made me realise just how much I’m looking forward to Elder Scrolls V….

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~ by moviegrrlreviews on January 5, 2011.

One Response to “Game Review – Fable 3 – Lionhead Studios (Xbox360)”

  1. Very interesting facets and review for Fable 3. I love twisted story and bunch of surprises.

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