Whilst always suffering from a slight amount of overhyping Fable has always been ahead of the game as far as narrative and choice based gameplay are concerned but as previously mentioned in our Fable III review the latest iteration in the series is definitely a step backwards despite all that is good about it and here I shall expand a little more on this statement and hopefully satisfy my urge to ramble. Firstly I would like to say SPOILERS seriously do not read through the rest of this article if you do not wish for any of the Fable trilogy to be ruined for you or any of your RPG-lite kin.
*The edge of the map lies here and beyond there be spoilers*
Credit first I much preferred the story itself in Fable III the whole leader of the revolution thing worked well and was different to the standard y completes x quests and defeats z while the whole of Albion claps in mindless adoration. Logan was a great anti-hero and I would go as far as saying a good King but that’s my opinion. The characters were likable and well scripted and the locations were bigger and better but this is where my approval ends.
The main point that always drew me in with Fable was choice and although there were plenty of choices present in III they just weren’t the ones I wanted or even cared about. Lets start with your wardrobe, Fable II had a great range of available clothing in different styles and the inclusion of the Dyes made this all the more interesting. I liked choosing my outfit and customizing it so that it was different to others I had seen and often changed it when I got bored. In III I voluntarily changed my outfit a grand total of…0 times, I chose the elegant prince outfit at the beginning of the game and was still wearing the same clothes during the endgame, other than being forced to dress as a chicken on a few occasions and once went as far as wearing a dress the only change to occur was my jacket colour turning red. This was for a few reasons, the prince outfit was the nicest jacket in the game in comparison to the very few outfit choices available and lastly the menu system was to awkward to bear thinking about.
While I am on the subject of the menu I would like to say three words, this is awful, ok it looks nice but it really isn’t as smooth and streamlined as it was promised which is no surprise at all. The new system makes small things such as checking and loading a quest an irritating task.
- Load Sanctuary
- Obtain cheerful greeting from Jasper your personal cleaner and butler
- Walk over to map table
- Press A to access map
- Press Y to access list
- Scroll through list
- Press A to access quest
- Zoom to quest location on map
- Press A to accept quest
- Press A to set golden trail
- Press A to fast-travel to location
See why I think this is a long and un-needed laborious task, with a standard menu you can load the menu and if your used to playing the game zoom through the menus you need very quickly and can easily load a quest in II faster than in III. The same goes for switching weapons/clothing/tattoos except these are made longer by having to switch rooms from the main Sanctuary hub. The new menu system does have its uses, as well as loading quicker than you would expect you can also manage your properties and view all properties in an area using the Maps top down view saving time running around checking all streets for the all important last building you have to purchase.
Niceness over lets get back to complaining about whats wrong with this game, after all that’s why you opened this article isn’t it. I said the story was good didn’t I? I’m pretty sure I did say that but now I am going to contradict myself slightly, only very slightly are you ready for this? The first half of the story is disappointing, not because of the story itself but due to the lack of choice you had available. I didn’t mind doing the quests for Sabine as it was essentially an un-needed tutorial for anyone who has played a Fable game before but it makes me think back to the very first Fable. Fable had a range of quests available that were designed for good players and for those wanting to be Evil in their actions, this was a great function and something that would have worked well with the new story in III. Due to Sabines personally irritating accent I would have quite happily murdered a few villagers and threatened a few village elders if it meant that Sabine would be scared enough to follow me, after all you are a hero with great power and strength why cant you do this, Oh yeah it would be awkward to fit that into the story sorry.
This lack of choice through the first half of the game is turned on its head once you are crowned and presented with more choices than you know what to do with, but only for an hours worth of gameplay and these are great choices. Tax laws, Alcohol Laws, what to do with orphanages and ruined city sectors are all brilliant choices but as soon as the endgame has come and the shadow has been defeated these choices are ripped away from you leaving you none left. Personally I think the ability to adjust taxes and laws should be a constant thing available to you as king of all Albion and allowing you the freedom and the power of doing so was a great move but snatching it away like a kids toy is just a mean trick Molyneux, Molyneux I am disappoint.
All in all for everything Fable III did right it also did 2 things wrong. I shall never forgive it for the ending, I spent the whole game being despicable for no other reason then it was good fun and I wanted people to suffer a little and right at the end Theresa pops up as she does and justifies everything I did as being a good king and doing what was right for the people forcing me into a position , as a gamer with a taste of in-game freedom, into a predefined character slot making everything I had done and every choice I had ever made invalid. Thank you for that Lionhead.