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Fable 3 review

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala | Updated on August 03, 2011 Published on January 26, 2011

Fable III game   -  BUSINESS LINE

Fable 3   -  BUSINESS LINE

Fable 3   -  BUSINESS LINE

Fable 3   -  BUSINESS LINE

Fable 3   -  BUSINESS LINE

When it came to producing a good sequel, Lionhead Studios outdid itself in Fable 2. Everything, from graphics to gameplay, was revamped and slicked up, resulting in a gaming experience that left you with severe withdrawal symptoms when you finished. It even prompted Lionhead to come out with two add-ons for the game last year. Fable game designer Peter Molyneux promised Fable 3 would be bigger and better than its prequel, and after months of speculation, we finally got our hands on the Xbox version.

Storyline

Fable 3 picks up where you left off in the prequel, albeit fifty years in the future. Albion is no longer the pristine and beautiful locale it was in Fable 2, instead the age of industry has come to the kingdom, and its people are oppressed and unhappy with the current regime. The King of Albion (who you played in Fable 2) is dead, and you are given a choice to either be the prince or princess. The power of the throne now lies with your evil elder brother Logan, and it’s your job to overthrow him. In this game, you aren’t alone, and you have the help of Sir Walter Beck and your trusty butler Jasper (voiced by John Cleese). You get a sense of déjà-vu when you meet Teresa, who was your guide in Fable 2 and continues as the same in this game. Your aim is to gather as many followers as possible by completing a variety of quests, until you finally become ruler of Albion. As in Fable 2, you’re given the fundamental choice between good and evil, although you won’t get anywhere on the “Road to Rule” if you choose the evil path. However, once you become ruler of Albion you can choose to either be the legendary monarch your father was or turn tyrant like Logan.

Gameplay

The gaming experience hasn’t changed much, and for the most part, combat remains the same. You still use X for your sword, Y for your gun and B for casting spells. Rather than making combat a more complicated experience, the developers have chosen not to make major changes. While in Fable 2, if you performed a powerful move with your sword you’d see the results in a slo-mo fashion, in Fable 3, it’s totally random. More often than not, these slow-motion action scenes actually interrupt your combat rather than supplement it.

The combat scenes don’t pose much of a challenge. For example, you get a gun which is especially effective against Hollow Men, so you don’t even have to pull out your sword to defeat them. Spells were easy to cast too, and you can switch between them or even use spell combos, which are quite effective, such as Shock and Fireball.

Quests

One of the best features of Fable 2 was the gargoyles, and most players will tell you they loved the insults that these stone demons would hurl at them. While the gargoyles themselves are missing in this game, they have instead been replaced with gnomes, which are equally foul mouthed creatures. You can go on a gnome hunting mission by choosing one of the many available quests.

The quests in Fable 3 are more innovative than the ones in the prequel, but they are definitely sillier. One of the quests requires you to dress up in a chicken suit and lure back stray chickens.

Most of the quests will take you to some kind of combat scene though, so you’ll have to be wary of Hobbe or Hollow Men attacks. By completing quests, you gain “Guild Seals” which will take you further on the Road to Rule, effectively helping you gather more followers.

Character interaction

One of the features that make Fable so engaging is the diverse range of characters. Most of the people you meet along the way will have something interesting or funny to say. However, in Fable 3 you have very limited expressions to choose from, unlike in the previous version. You can choose to be evil or good when it comes to interacting with people. More often than not, you only get options to whistle or belch, even if you want to interact repeatedly with a character, which gets boring and monotonous.

Your trusty furry companion, your dog, is always at your side, but in this game he doesn’t get hurt in combat, so he’s pretty much a benign character. During most of the gameplay it was easy to forget that he was there.

Navigation

The map in Fable 3 is now placed in the Sanctuary, a safe place where you can teleport at any point. The Sanctuary is also the place where Jasper, your butler, is present, to guide you through the game. This is where your wardrobe and armoury are present, so you can always come back here to change clothes or weapons. There is a map of Albion in the Sanctuary, which lets you zoom into locations, and see the quest list. Once you select a quest, or location, you can choose to fast travel there. However we found that often we would be teleported some distance from where we wanted to go, and we weren’t able to narrow down on specific locations. So for example, if you wanted to go to the Inn in Bowerstone, there was no way of choosing that particular location, instead you had to travel to Bowerstone and then physically search for the place you want.

Performance

We had problems especially when it came to our dog treasure hunting. Very often he would bark to indicate treasure but there were no treasure chests or silver keys in the vicinity. The famous golden trail also disappeared often, leading us to stop running and wait for it to appear again.

Landscapes were detailed and beautiful, but they lacked the detail that was present in Fable 2.

Another negative was that we weren’t able to save our game at any point we wanted, so often we had to finish a certain scene and then save it, which can be a bit of a pain if you’re in a hurry.

Our Verdict

Overall, Fable 3 was a bit of a disappointment. The game was played up so much in its previews that we really expected something phenomenal from Peter Molyneux. While the game scores in terms of plot development, it loses out in combat scenes and character development. Having played the previous game, a lot of the inadequacies really stand out, nevertheless, the magical kingdom of Albion does its bit to draw you in.

Rating: 3.5/5

Love: Immersive plot

Hate: Hardly any changes to gameplay

Developer: Lionhead Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Platform: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows

Rs 2,499 (Standard Edition); Rs 2,999 (Limited Edition)

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Published on January 26, 2011
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