Review of Fable III


Damon says: Fable III is the most disappointing sequel since The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Laura says: I was disappointed. The worst part was that the game was okay - maybe a 6/10 or 7/10 thanks to the Darkness Incarnate quest. It wasn't great, but it wasn't so poor that I felt I could legitimately hate it. The graphics are fun if cartoony, the sound is good, the gameplay is easy, the customization is almost non-existent, and the story is mediocre at best and boring at worst. Oh, and for some of the achievements you need an Xbox Live account, which annoys me to no end.

The environment in Fable III is as rich as ever. Plenty of different regions, all with different climates, peopled by various citizens/denizens/enemies that change as you play. As always, the people of Albion are incredibly chatty, but since Lionhead seems to have supplemented the new stuff they recorded with all the random NPC comments from Fable II, there is enough variation to not drive you crazy.

Playing the game is ridiculously easy. So okay, I was familiar with the gameplay from Fable II, and almost nothing changed, but what did change was dumbed down. Dive spots and dig spots and treasure chests remain, and The Damn Dog (named for what I spent most of the game calling him) was as useless as ever in spotting them for me. The only real novelty was the map, which made fast travel easy (although I didn't realize that highlighting a house would make you travel there, and spent a ridiculous amount of time sprinting through Mourningwood), and buying property a cinch. However, they managed to ruin even this by making you have to repair the residential properties you own every few hours or so. That's right, someone thought it would be fun to make you click on every single house with a key flag, and then scroll down to click repair, and then click back to zoom out, and then repeat ad nauseum until that region was done, and then start on the next one. (Think that was a lot of "and then"s? Try spending 20 minutes repairing houses. In its way, it was worse than ME 2's planet scanning.) As for combat, most of the enemies were the same as those in Fable II, only even easier to defeat. You just press Y few times, maybe hold down B, then hold X and a a direction. Most of the enemies can be defeated by holding B.

Oh noez! Dey be teazin mah dawg!
In an effort to make the game more accessible (apparently making the combat so easy that Miranda sitting on the controller could dispatch a group of Balvarines wasn't enough), Lionhead dispensed with much of the customization. Gone are weapon augmentations (to be replaced with set augmentations that you earn like you would achievements, and Hero weapons that are supposed to reflect your fighting style, but seemed to just look prettier as the game progressed - what are you saying about my fighting style, Lionhead?), gone is an inventory in any accessible sense, gone is anything else you could customize, although for some reason furniture qualities and clothing dyes remain.

My favorite part of any video game is always going to be the story. The story is the reason I keep returning to games like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, or even Fable II: I love video games that feel like Choose Your Own Adventure books, or that have a story that I can keep playing, like reading one of my favorite novels for the upteenth time. I like depth and breadth and content in a story, and I'll tolerate glitches, clipping, and even mediocre gameplay to know what happens at the end of the game. Fable II delivered. Fable III did not.  The best part of the story was the animation at the beginning with the chicken escaping through Bowerstone Industrial. Unfortunately, this encompassed the introductory few minutes of the game. Doubly unfortunately, it also served as one of the trailers for Fable III, so I'd seen it already. I felt nothing for the Hero I was playing as. She had no recognizable motivations for the decisions she was making, other than the fact that they were (quite obviously) morally right. I formed no attachments to the major NPCs (except Ben Finn, because, c'mon, it's Simon Pegg, and then it wouldn't even let me marry him. WTF, Lionhead?), but equally couldn't muster up any animosity toward Logan, the initial villain. The only highlight was the Darkness Incarnate quest. For a brief hour or so, after I followed Ben Finn out of the sewers of Bowerstone Industrial, the story - the game - got awesome. And then I was in the City of Aurora, and the suckage (sorry, but it was) resumed. Even the "new" "exciting" "twists" that were the royal decisions failed to relieve the tedium of my 54th "go fetch" friend quest. The tiny bit leading up to the boss battle at the end was fun again, but the boss battle was a joke. What happened to Reaver shooting Lucien Fairfax if you took too long to do it yourself? That was awesome. The end of Fable III - okay, most of the game - was not.

Oh, and one of my royal decisions resulted in all of Albion vomiting, all over, all the time, which made doing the post-main storyline quests significantly less entertaining. It was funny for all of five seconds, and then it got gross, and then it got boring, and annoying.

Fable II was so good! What happened, Lionhead?
Xbox 360
Damon played: 13 hours
Laura played: 38 hours
Conclusion
Damon says: If you have the urge to play Fable, do yourself a favor and just play Fable II again.
Laura says: It felt like Fable II DLC.
Replay Value
Damon says: Didn't finish and never will.
Laura says: Done. Unlikely to play through as an evil Hero, although I am curious to see the outcomes of the "evil" decisions. And I missed the Coronation Chicken achievement, which after all has a pretty funny name.
Favorite Part
Damon says: The singing chickens made me chuckle.
Laura says: The Darkness Incarnate quest.
Fun Factor
Damon says: There was about 1 hour of intriguing story line in Aurora.
Laura says: Well, I liked Fable II a lot, and I started playing through the DLC before getting distracted. This just felt like more Fable II DLC - not as good as the game, but still retaining some entertainment value.
Criticisms
Damon says: Friend quests, repairing property, boring combat, boring story, broken glowing path, annoying region loading transitions (it's too easy to accidentally trigger a long loading screen to only have to do it again)... I could go on but it's hardly worth it.
Laura says: Lots of minor glitches. Friend quests - I felt like the Albion Postal Service. The combat is pretty boring. The story failed to suck me in. And what was with the myriad "find these 30/30/50/54 things" quests?

2 comments:

  1. Let me say again how much I love this review format. Thanks for saving me the time on Fable III also. :)

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  2. Ha! you guys are hilarious -

    ReplyDelete