Fable 3, developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios, is a delightfully fun fantasy adventure game that players both new and old to the Fable franchise will love.
In Fable 3 fifty years have passed by in Albion from the events that transpired in Fable 2. You play the role as the son (or daughter) of the hero from the games previous installment. Much alike both Fable games that preceded it, Fable 3 in an open world adventure game that makes players decide between good or evil actions.
Unlike either of the previous Fable games you begin as an adult with a clear objective form the start. You quickly learn that your brother Logan is ruling over Albion with disregard for the wellbeing of its citizens – raising taxes and executing dissenters. Albion’s only hope to escape Logan’s tyrannical rule is if you start and lead a successful revolution.
It’s your choice
Fable 3 forces you to make very hard choices. Although some options might seem “right” on the surface, the consequences for making the “right” decisions can be harsh. This begins innocent enough at the beginning of the game when you must pick out your outfit for the day, becomes slightly harder when you must choose between hugging and kissing an NPC you’ll meet outside, and downright unfair when you are confronted with your third dilemma (which I won’t spoil for you).
As the storyline progresses, the decisions to make become abundantly harder. One might easily find themselves making choices that may not seem like the “right” thing to do and the people of Albion will not agree with your decisions even though you may have their long term best interests at heart.
Rather than a host of menu options, Fable 3 utilizes “The Sanctuary,” where you can physically take your character to change clothing, equip different weapons, view your loot, save the game, and etc. The most useful feature in “The Sanctuary” is the map, which lets you manage your quests, fast travel to different towns, and most notably buy, sell, and manage properties. This addition makes building and watching over your real estate empire ridiculously easy and addictive.
All three types of combat (melee, ranged, and magic) correspond to one of the colored buttons on the Xbox 360 controller and are used the same way. Tapping once will swing your melee weapon (X), shoot your ranged weapon (Y), or cast your magic spell (B). Holding down any of the combat buttons before releasing it will charge your attack to inflict more damage and will result in an accompanying cinematic. This might range from a decapitation to shooting all of your enemies appendages before delivering the killing headshot.
Using magic spells is no longer clumsy and there is a significantly shorter wait between casting spells. Players can wear up to two different “magic gauntlets” and “weave” two different spell types together. As your character advances his or her magical powers, you can unleash a devastating attack that can destroy all opposing characters on the screen.
Another noticeable change in Fable 3 for XBox 360 is the new way of interacting between characters. In Fable 2 it was possible to perform an action in front of several NPCs at the same time and affect their opinions of you en mass. In Fable 3 you must socialize with each individual NPC one at a time. This makes winning over friends very time consuming and feel like a chore. Interaction is limited by only a couple of your available actions being presented at a time. In a game that’s supposed to revolve around options and choice, Lionhead Studios decision to dumb down player’s actions is disappointing.
One work around that will save you time and repetitive interaction between NPC’s this is to complete all of the quests the town. By completing quests in the town you, it will raise the opinions of the citizens who reside there of you to “friend” so that you can simply run by each NPC to collect a guild seal from them and interact with them just once to acquire additional side quests.
Leveling up your attributes is accomplished via the “Road to Rule”, which allows you to spend guild seals to open chests with abilities ranging from learning new expressions to magic skills. As you acquire more friends and allies, gates along the “Road to Rule” open granting access to a wider selection of powers to choose from. When you reach the castle you must confront your brother for the throne of Albion – however the game is far from over afterwards.
Depending on how much you dally around in side quests the main plot can be finished in as short as twenty hours or as long as a hundred. It really depends on how much you stray from the main quests and explore what Albion has to offer.
One of the great things about Fable 3 is that even after completing the main storyline there are still hundreds of side quests to keep the players occupied. You’ll find yourself revisiting areas from earlier in the game to explore places that were previously inaccessible due to locked doors. Additionally, Fable 3 offers online co-op that extends playability even further – allowing you to join another player’s world, help them on their quests, enter into a business partnership, or even propose marriage and start a family with them.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics in Fable 3 for XBox 360 are a significant improvement over its predecessor. Fable 3 substitutes the realism that might be seen in other games for more idealistic and lighthearted surroundings. Fable 3 also features the same musical score that fans of the series have come to love.
It isn’t without its visual flaws though. A couple of times I experienced severe frame rate loss during intense battle encounters. Also, once while running through Bowerstone Industrial the game lagged to a crawl where my hero could barely move. Thankfully this passed after a minute or so and didn’t require restarting the game by exiting to the dashboard or worse – turning off my Xbox 360. An important thing to note is that these glitches occurred over the course of over a hundred hours of play and were for the most part uncommon.
Fable 3 is a fun and engrossing game. What might be lacking in the graphics and audio department is more than made up for with a tight story that has a fantastic twist. Between the main story, countless side quests, and online co-op, Fable 3 can provide hundreds of hours of entertainment. Unlike other games that require you to stick to a strict storyline, you can progress at your own pace. Fable 3 gives players the freedom to go wherever and do whatever they want is one the most enjoyable aspects of the game. All these reasons make Fable 3 worth every penny and a must have title for every Xbox 360 owner.
Be it for yourself or a gift for a loved one, Fable 3 is one game that you don’t want to pass over this holiday season.
Fable 3 is rated M for “Mature” by the ESRB. You can purchase Fable 3 from several several popular retailers here. For more information about Fable 3, visit the Lionhead Studios website here.
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