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Old 11-08-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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Please Rate This Review: Fable 3

It's Good to be King...Or is it?

High The game retains a lot of its charm, gaining much from its incredible voice acting and maintaining that beautiful "Fable feel."

Low The second "half" of the game was far less than a half and, as is usual, Peter Molyneux failed to fulfill some of the promises made.

WTF After making the decision to take away the limit on the amount of alcohol people can buy, you will be hard pressed to find somebody around all of Albion that is not drunk and vomiting constantly.

Fable 3 is the story of a rebellion. A prince, shocked by the tyranny of his brother, starts a revolution and attempts to bring his oppressive brother down, but the story doesn't end there. This entry into the series shows more potential than any previous Fable game, though it seems like it could have used another year or so of development before release. There are enough bugs to be deemed an infestation and the game just doesn't feel complete.

I'm going to start with the negatives:

The second half of the game - This portion of the game, and I'll leave out spoilers, is not long by any means. It is possible to experience this in an hour or, if drawn out, possibly twice that. Through a series of events you are forced to make many decisions, all of which are monetary. Sacrifice your citizens happiness and you will gain this much gold. Make your citizens happy and you will lose this much. This leaves the decisions very black and white since you can, in the end, raise a pretty respectable amount of money while at the same time making all of the good decisions.

Weapon Morphing - What a letdown. Your weapon only morphs five times within the game and the criteria are kind of ridiculous. When you purchase a weapon upgrade, the weapon will choose between all the things that you did, randomly, and select a morph to go along with it. For instance, if you murdered 1 person and you slew 500 bandits, you have achieved both of those criteria and are equally eligible for either morph, despite the difference in quantity. You can still reset your Xbox after getting a morph that you dislike and re-upgrade for a potentially different morph, but this is a grind and seeing as every single weapon in the game is better than your morphing weapon, is frankly, not worth it.

Combat - This is controversial topic since, it is fun to be all powerful and be able to destroy everything without taking a lick of damage, but the combat is too easy. Lionhead has still neglected to put a difficulty slider or setting into the game. It is incredibly accessible if that is what you are looking for, but if you are looking for a challenge, this is not where you'll find it. Additionally, melee is weaker than ranged and magic is almost divinely powerful. Most people will focus on magic and Fable 3 does little to encourage the use of either of the other two disciplines.

Multiplayer -There are positives to this, but the negatives far outweigh those. The multiplayer is a major upgrade from Fable 2, allowing the player to bring their character into another player's world, but it also doesn't offer much to do than to just play the game with them. This inevitably gets boring after a period of time and you won't miss out on much if you don't have Xbox Live.

Touch - Lionhead added a touch system to the game so that interaction would result in your character actually being able to dance, hold hands, etc, with an npc in order to elicit emotional responses from the player and to make the player more involved. Specifically the handholding is not done well. While running up a hill your hand will remain extended behind and the npc's hand extended forward so that it will appear and feel as if the two are bound together. It has an almost "tug of war" kind of feel to it and doesn't feel real.

Interaction - I enjoyed the character interaction in Fable 2 and its predecessor. The expression wheel was nice and it really made me feel like my hero was a celebrity. I would dance and people would gather and ask for my autograph. I also had no qualms with the shop system in the first 2 Fables. The expressions system has been replaced by a single good/evil expression choice for individual villager interaction. So no more is that expression that draws large numbers of villagers to come and watch. Now you can choose to dance with a man or call him a chicken, shake his hand or fart in his face. The expressions have been limited to two at a time and the challenge of holding the expression has been taken away so that simply holding down A or X will allow the expression to last. Additionally, to escape the 2d menu system completely, shopkeepers now sell only a few products each and these are represented on stands throughout their shops. This is clunky and, since for instance gift shop keepers only have 1 or 2 items in stock, results in an hour long search for a simple wooden sword or a similar item. The streamlining of these features was a mistake.

Magic - Many of the spells from the first two Fables have been removed. Slow time and raise dead are now potions, limiting their use to world affecting and resulting in the deletion of the much loved Assassin's Rush spell. All of the usable spells in Fable 3 are elemental. Would you like to deal damage this way or this way. Any nuance has been removed and magic has been streamlined so that your choices are destruction, destruction, or destruction.

Now on to the positives:

The Story - The story of Fable 3 is by far the most engrossing and engaging of the series. It really evokes emotions in a way where I actually had trouble making some of the decisions that were posed and had to put down the controller and think. The story involves the player and the incredible voice acting helps to create even more of a sense of immersion.

The Sanctuary - The streamlining of the main menu system was genius. Pressing start instantly transports the player into the sanctuary, without a loadscreen, where the player can access his weapons, clothing, dyes, multiplayer options, as well as a number of other features. This contributes to the sense of immersion, avoiding the usual disconnect between the player and the game when the game is paused. This is innovation and I expect to see this kind of system or something similar in many RPGs in the future.

Collectibles - So many collectibles! It keeps the player incredibly busy after the game has been completed. There are gnomes, flowers, silver keys, gold keys, book, weapons, clothing and gems. There are over 20 hours of collecting available if that is something that you are interested in. I have never seen so many collectibles in a game.

Spellweaving - This is a cool feature. You can wear two spell gauntlets simultaneously so that you could, for instance, cast fire and lighting at the same time. This is nice, but its difficult to tell how effective it is. It adds a little more nuance to the magic system of Fable 3.

Music - Just as in the previous Fable releases, the music has been composed by Russel Shaw and is spectacular. It arouses exactly the emotions that it should at precisely the moments that it should. There was never a point where I thought that the music was out of place or mediocre. This was a big addition to the emotional draw of the game.

Graphics - Even utilizing the same engine as Fable 2, these graphics are a major step forward. The characters look less cartoony, while still retaining their cute, fairy tale feel, and the water and environment look far more real than in Fable 2. The dynamic lighting is the cherry on top. A huge step up considering that it boasts the same engine as its predecessor and a pleasant surprise.

Weapon upgrading - The exceptional amount of legendary weapons each have 3 tasks to complete in order to upgrade them. These are difficult and time consuming - for instance "Kill 300 hollowmen with the Bonesmasher

Last edited by AnElk; 11-08-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Fable 3

I don't know why this review only had (before I voted) one star. It's not bad, by any means.

I think it is heavily let down by the style you've chosen to write it in, however. Insead of ordinary paragraphs, which would make for a much smoother (and I think better) review, you've chosen to have sub-headings for both the negative and positives of the game.

My only other real complant is the way you've chosen to put some things; This is more my personal preference than you breaking any sort of unwritten reviewer's rule, but it can be a bit too informal (I've said before on these forums; I don't think there is room for words like "cool" in a serious review, which is what I consider this site to be.) But this is me being nit picky. I thought that there is definately something here overall, I quite like the way you write and you seem to have enthusiasm, which I think is very important if you're trying to engage with the reader. I probably would have given this a four if it weren't for the bullet-point layout of the review.
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Old 01-13-2011, 10:57 AM   #3
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Re: Please Rate This Review: Fable 3

I would try to cut down the number of things you're trying to touch on. Pick a few points and really punch them. You sound comfortable in your writing style, you just need to sift your ideas and tighten this up, imo

Also, you should probably get away from the pronouncements about the series or the developer.. 'Molyneux always does this-' etc. Because that makes it sound like your opinion of the game is being filtered through an opinion about who made it and what the other games were like that the reader might not share. Fable isn't Madden football.
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fable 3, lionhead, review, revolution, xbox 360

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