Get ready to return to Albion for the third installment of the Fable series. While Albion itself has changed greatly since Fable II the core game play remains largely unchanged and there are enough additions to keep both new players and fans of the series entertained.Fifty years have passed since Fable II, and Albion has been thrust into the Industrial Era. Smog, abusive leaders and poor working conditions have left the citizens of Albion on the verge of revolt, and that’s where you come in. Your brother Logan, is the sole ruler of Albion and has become a corrupt and selfish king. The player, as either a prince or princess, learns this first hand as Logan will force an ultimatum on the player early in the game that will help determine what kind of character your prince or princess will become. Once this choice is completed you will leave the castle to round up supporters to aid you in the revolt against your brother. This is where the core gameplay mechanic of Fable III is introduced.
Since the goal of Fable III is leading a revolution, expect to shake a lot of hands, donate your gold and perform fetch quests to earn the trust of the citizens of Albion. You may also choose to intimidate and humiliate people on your way to leadership depending on your characters disposition, but regardless of your method the main goal of Fable III is to gain a following and lead the uprising. You won’t spend the entire game chatting with townsfolk though, as Fable III boasts a large amount of quests and side quests that are well fleshed out and interesting enough to keep the player engaged. Your character still changes based on your actions, and although some have complained its not as obvious as in Fable II you will still sprout wings if you meet the good or bad morality requirements and you will definitely know how people view you in Fable III due to their snarky or positive comments. One of the highlights of Fable III is that it carries a very dry British sense of humour with it that will rekindle memories of Monty Python skits and keep the player laughing. You will rarely hear things repeated as the towns people work off a simulated society, so theres almost always something new to be heard when walking through various locations. This is complemented by the great voice acting featured in Fable III. The game boasts a tremendous cast of voice actors such as Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry and John Cleese who really help the world of Albion come alive.
The game mechanics in Fable III are streamlined for players of all skill levels, and that is what makes Fable III great. People who consider themselves expert RPG players may find that Fable III is a little too simple for them, however there is enough depth that you can spend hours ignoring the main quest and still have fun playing. You can buy businesses and homes, renovate them and resell them, perform jobs such as pie making, or just spend time romancing the local towns people. The combat system has remained largely unchanged, you still have a shoot button, a melee button and a magic button. The combat is extremely simple yet there are enough cool attacks and power ups to keep it from being overly repetitive. As the player defeats enemies and completes quests they will unlock Guild Seals, which can be used to open chests containing new abilities and actions. Almost everything in this game is done with the push of a single button so the learning curve is easy on newcomers. Which brings me to Fable III’s menu system. Lionhead has almost entirely removed the pause menu, however when the player presses the start button they will be transported to The Sanctuary, a virtual pause menu where you can roam around, change costumes, and view weapons and achievements. These systems give Fable III an unprecedented level of accessibility for both casual and hardcore player and really help keep the experience fresh and out of the grinding hack and slash level up territory. Since the game is seemingly geared towards a more casual audience, the game is a little on the short side if the player elects to stick to the main quest. Performing fetch quests and completing all of the side missions will really extend the lifespan of Fable III. Try raising a family running a business and exploring before you finish the main quest, trust me once you’re the king you’ll wish you had stopped to explore Albion and smell the proverbial roses.
Fable III is not without it’s faults. While the voice acting and interface are great and user-friendly the graphics are less than stellar with a lot of rough textures to be found through the game. The character animations are great for the most part but once you’ve done the pat-a-cake game with forty different citizens to earn their trust, it does start to wear kind of thin. Also, the load times are quite annoying, ranging fro 15-20 seconds and popping up a lot more than you’d expect for an open world game. None of these issues really hurt the overall experience of Fable III, however, I did feel they are worth mentioning since other games have made pretty significant leaps in these areas over the last few years.
In closing Fable III is a great game for both casual players and RPG regulars, with a nice balance of simplicity and depth to keep the player hooked while also not overwhelming them with menus and numbers. The combat system and the graphics are probably Fable III’s weak spots and I use the term “weak spots” lightly, as these features are merely average and not a true detriment to the game. If you can get over its small shortcomings the world of Albion is one that I recommend you explore(again) as the story and side quests are very fullfilling, with a touch of comedy on the side to keep you laughing whilst you hack and slash and kiss your way to leadership