One of things that can make a game franchise great is its ability to allow the gamer to take comfort in what is familiar yet still be excited for what is new. From the very beginning of Fable III, those are feelings I think all fans of the series will get. At the beginning a beautiful, yet humorous, cinematic guides you through all that is new since you last left the world of Albion. From there, you see yourself as the prince of Albion, son of the last great hero. Yes, the game opens with a huge promise of tough decisions and an epic adventure, but does Fable III live up to that promise?
Fable as a series has always been in the business of over-promising and under-delivering by its overly excited creator, Peter Molyneux. Despite this, the games have always been enjoyable and well made. Fable III is enjoyable but it is not without its faults. It seems a new enemy has arrived in woods of Albion. No, not Balverines mixed with Hobbes; I assume they are saving the Hobverine for Fable IV. The new enemy is bugs, pesky critters that cause all sorts of trouble for your hero. More then once I found that my golden trail (a device used to direct you to your next goal, as in Fable II) would lead in the wrong direction. This would require me to sit though two loading screens before setting me on the right path. Your loveable dog returns, but now he runs in circles and gets confused by trees; he will just stop if he walks in front of one, lacking the ability to walk around it. He can also float in midair while I walk down steps, occasionally needing me to hit a loading screen before returning to my side. And while I’m not sure if it was intentional or just some weird glitch, at one point I got a pop-up on the screen informing me that my in-game wife had died. Having just seen her, I was surprised. No explanation - just text - and my son was ushered off to the orphanage. Poor kid, I had toy gun for him too.
On the plus side, several changes have been made to differentiate Fable III from its predecessors. Bugs are not the only new feature of Albion; there have been many aesthetic changes as well. No longer do you have an inventory menu; instead, you go to your sanctuary. From there you can swap you weapons, save your game, and try on new clothes. I really like this set up, as it is a welcome change from the usual flipping through menus. Another major change comes from your character’s interaction with non-playable characters. No longer can you influence a crowd by holding up a trophy or farting in public. All interactions are one person at a time. Filling up someone’s friendship meter will usually end with a brief fetch quest. This seems fun and unique at first, but by my 3rd “warp here, dig here, and return” quest I never wanted to go on one again. Experience points have been replaced with guild seals used to open new abilities, gestures and spells.
Outside of these changes, much of the game play remains consistent with the previous releases. Stringing together magic, shooting, and sword fighting is surprisingly seamless and fun. I also found myself experimenting with the different spells (you can combine two at a time) against different enemies. The quests and main story line are good, but I never felt as involved with my character as I did in Fable II. It’s hard to explain, but while playing Fable II, I felt as if I lived a lifetime through my character. In Fable III, I feel like I am living a week - a very full week, but a week nonetheless. The premise (as we are told from the game box) is that our character will become the king. And you do become the king, but only for about 4 in-game days. While I will admit that the 20 hours of game leading up to being the king is enjoyable and worth the journey, I would have liked to be the king longer and combined with a very abrupt game ending (which comes with no warning), I was a bit disappointed. So be prepared.
Despite its flaws I think fans on the Fable series will enjoy this third installment. It may not be as epic as Fable II or feel as unique as Fable I, but it is still a worthy addition to the franchise. I don’t, however, think you need to rush out and play it now; it will still be there once your holiday backlog has dropped a few games. Fair Outstanding | Very Good | Fair | Poor | AwfulRecommended Buy Price: $40.00Current MSRP: $59.99I bought Fable III with my own money. I’ve finished the campaign in twenty-four hours accumulating 20 out of 50 Achievements for 410 GamerScore. Fable III is an Xbox 360 Exclusive.