The Industrial Age has finally arrived in Albion, but all isn’t well since the Hero King’s rule in Fable II. The current king is a tyrant, his people slave away in factories, and poverty is running rampant throughout the land.
As a descendant of Fable 2′s hero, it is your job to dethrone your brother Logan and restore order to the land of Albion. This will not be easy; you will require the support of many people before a revolution can actually happen.
Like in previous Fable titles, your actions determine the game’s outcome. While the main story encourages you to be a hero, there are choices that can lead you down a path similar to your brother’s. It is possible to steal from people, commit murder, perform rude acts, and even abuse people with verbal cues along the way.
After escaping from your brother’s castle with your fellow companions, you begin your quest in the neighboring towns of Brightwall and the Dweller Camp looking for support that will help your long, heroic climb to the throne. Earlier segments of the game involve courting allies for your cause, winning the hearts of the common folk, and exploring the vast regions of the kingdom.
As this is being done, you are introduced to the ‘Road to Rule’ – a spiritual path that allows you to upgrade your trade, social, spell, and weapon skills. Since your character doesn’t have a main level like in most role-playing games, the Road to Rule is vital to your hero’s development. The allies gained during your travels are displayed here along with chests that contain the skills needed for your hero.
Guild seals are needed to open each chest. These seals are earned when quests are completed, among other things. Lesser skills like the Good Parenting Pack cost a meager 5 Guild seals, while upgrading a skill like Blacksmithing at higher levels can be very expensive (i.e 85 Seals or better).
The Adventurer’s Guild is something you will have access to early on in the game. Everything you could possibly do to your hero can be done from these rooms. Basic functions like saving the game, game settings, and even starting a new game can be accessed from the main room. A quick travel map is also available from this room. Unlocked areas can be selected and zoomed in via a magnifying glass, and when the X button is pressed, your hero can quick travel to the selected location. Available quests will also appear as ‘!’ above each location.
The Adventurer’s Guild is also sectioned off into quarters – The Armory, Apparel, and Trophies / Achievements. As the name implies, your hero can equip new spells / weapons in the Armory. It’s as simple as walking up to an item and pressing the A button twice to select and then equip. The Apparel room serves many purposes. Not only can you mix-and-match the clothing that you have found and / or purchased during your travels, but you can dye your wardrobe — provided that you have learned that skill. The Trophy room allows you to view the items you have collected during your adventure and view unlocked achievements. You can also invite friends via Xbox Live to adventure together, keep logs of those adventures, and even marry each other.
The combat system is very easy to understand. By pressing the X button, your hero will attack with his/her melee weapon. The Y button will fire your gun; when the LT button is held, you can target specific enemies. Magic is executed by press the B button. The longer the B button is held, the more powerful the attack will be. The spell’s radius can also be adjusted by the left analog stick. The simple controls make combat enjoyable and allows everything to flow smoothly. There is also a dramatic zoom in sequence when using your firearm. While this adds a sense of suspense to combat, it blinds your view of in-coming enemies.
Fable III isn’t always about combat and completing quests even though the bulk of the main adventure has you doing these things. There are shops to buy, homes to renovate and rent, and relationships to sew. If you’re feeling real adventurous, you can take on small jobs to earn some extra coin.
Basically mini-games, these jobs are numerous throughout the Fable III world. One particular job has you playing a guitar for extra money, and the mini-game becomes more challenging the better you become at it. A sheet of music is displayed while buttons from the joystick scroll by. By not missing any notes, the music sheet moves faster and the amount of money received from the crowd increases. Missing a single note will start you back at the beginning.
Once you have dethroned your brother Logan, the rest of the game is spent ruling as king. This half of the game is much harder than it sounds. At this point, you can decide to be a king that is either loved or loathed by your people. Decisions abound in this segment: do you keep your promises or break them? Do you offer aid to a neighboring nation or enslave them? The pressure is immense as you try to run your country.
The only complaint about this segment is how fast the days pass by. Just when you think everything is going well (and your people are happy), a chunk of your available days vanish in an instant via a loading screen. This can lead to immense frustration on the player’s behalf because it feels like there is never enough time to complete daily tasks.
Despite some of the aforementioned gripes, Fable III is still a beautiful rendition of the genre with incredible action and storytelling. It offers some of the best graphics and sound seen on the Xbox 360, and it controls like a dream. The politics as king become a bit dodgy in the end – and sometimes your freewill feels a bit predetermined – but this doesn’t deter from the overall experience. Lionhead Studios did an incredible job maintaining the Fable lore, and I look forward to playing the next installment. If you were a fan of the previous two installments and enjoy exploring massive worlds, then Fable III is a must-have.
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Lionhead Studios
|Fable III's beautiful, lush scenery brings life to the game.|
|The sound and music are top-notch; everything about it feels very epic in scale.|
|The action sequences are fluid and the quests are plentiful. The ruling segment can be frustrating since the days pass by a little too fast, making it difficult to rule properly. Otherwise, the game is perfect|
|Fable III is still a worthy addition to the Fable series.|