Reader’s Note: I haven’t touched Fable 2. At all. I don’t know what Fable 2 contained, what its gameplay was like, if any different than 3. I played Fable: Lost Chapters, then Fable 3. Remember: PC player first, console second. I also don’t own a 360. Also, I’m trying to make this as spoiler-free as possible if you haven’t played it. Moving on.
I had a horrible hankering for a single player game that was relatively long and somewhat satisfying from start to finish. Fable 3 (so far) has done just that, although the start was a bit slow, the game scratches that hack-and-slash itch that’s been bugging me like a chafed patch of skin. No, I don’t chafe easily.
The game starts off with you choosing whether or not you’re a prince or princess while an older, cloak covered woman is narrating the story of the main character starting a revolution thanks to his/her evil brother who takes over with the intention of destruction. You know, the “if I can’t have it, no one can!” thought. In this case, I chose a prince. Next playthrough will be princess. Don’t judge me. Later through the game you have to prove yourself to many other towns to gather them for the revolution. Even if that means wearing a chicken suit to gain their trust. Story aside, time to get down and dirty with the gameplay, starting with my peeves so we can get them out of the way.
Let’s start with gaining money. You can choose three ways to gain it: Proficiencies (i.e. Blacksmithing, pie making and Lute playing), buying and renting out homes or buying out businesses. The start would be Proficiencies.
I ended up starting with Lute playing, which is actually dubbed “Lute Hero”. I’m not making that up. Your hero whips out a lute and starts playing with people being around and every round they toss money at you. The longer you go without missing each round the higher your money multiplier and you gain more from them after playing the same song… over, and over, and over every round. So after getting bored of that, I tried pie making, which is the same exact game only a bit faster. I’ve yet to try blacksmithing but I can only assume that it’s the same thing AGAIN which leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth when I’m finally going to reach that mini-game.
“Fingers like a spider! Now do Dragonforce!”
So after luting my face off I went on to buying houses and renting them out for a set amount. You can’t actually SET the amount, just low, normal, high and highest. Decorating and repairing the house raises the price of rent, but if you go too high the population of the town will begin to bitch and moan about the insane rent prices.
On to combat! You know, this game was released Tuesday. And a game that’s based around being a hack-and-slash game, you’d think there would be a targeting, or lock-on button. Suffice to say, there isn’t. It’s freaking 2011 and there isn’t a lock-on button. You’d think Lionhead would’ve actually taken note from games back in 2001, but no. Granted, it’s not hard to know where your attacks are going, but you don’t know WHO you’re targeting until you swing your sword or fire your gun. Or there just happens to be a single enemy on the screen and you CAN’T miss. There isn’t even an icon on an enemy when you’re strafing around the guy. I don’t know if this is a form of free-flow combat but it’s kind of unacceptable. The closest to targeting it has is when you’re casting spells and you move the left stick (or mouse) in a direction toward an enemy and you get to see a white dot. The other way is to going into an over-the-shoulder camera view and targeting that way, which I didn’t use much. I’m sure there will come a time for it, but I haven’t seen a need just yet. While we’re the subject of controls; The camera. Objects don’t get in the way or anything, but I’m unable to set the sensitivity of the camera movement when using a controller, which is sluggish by default, making your view turning slow to see where you’re going. It also seems that you can just be the best at anything, whether it’s melee, ranged or spells which makes the game feel even more linear that the game’s made out to be. No ranged skill tree, no melee tree or spell tree. Just “Level 1 Melee”, “Level 2 Melee” and so on, which are incredibly cheap to buy especially since you can go out and kill random baddies, complete a side quest or charm your way into someone’s pants. Either way, you get experience. The good thing is that the weapons of the skill you upgrade change looks. Speaking of weapons, guns, swords and the like are upgradeable by completing different tasks. For example, to upgrade one of the two-handed hammers, you have to (also not making this up)… have an orgy with 4 or more people. To do extra damage with the hammer. This IS actually in the game, FYI. Not sure what an orgy has to do with breaking skulls.
Magic spam, WOO!
The last thing I have beef with is the way HP and MP works. Or, I should say, lack thereof. I know there’s a way of setting the game to not replenish health when you stand still or avoid from being hit, but MP doesn’t exist, same goes with ranged combat and having no bullets. It just makes the game a bit TOO easy, even on the harder difficulties. But, the bullet thing I’ll let slide. Infinite magic, though? That’s a bit whacky. But, no game can be a game without bugs. The few that I’ve seen are a few graphical issues, like texture rez when turning here and there and leaves some of the world white for a incredibly brief moment before popping onto the screen. The last bug I’ve noticed is that Dog (Is that its name? I think you can change it) got stuck in the ground. Seeing its front half sticking out of the ground leaves it for either hilarious times when it rolls around or chases its tail in place or turns out to be nightmare fuel when it’s sitting there growling at enemies and can’t do anything about it.
“I have to get money and climb the giant pile to get to that key? Time to raise rent!”
Aside from these problems, the game thus far has left a rather satisfied feel to me. Reminds me of what Fable used to be along with added combat features that the old didn’t have, regardless on if it could’ve been done better. The game certainly has its beautiful moments with landscape and towns, albeit containing a pinch of lag when there’s a lot on screen, but I can certainly chalk that one up to having a sub-par system to run it on, even when I certainly pass the recommended requirements. The outcome of the main story, from what I can tell, is pretty obvious from the start on what will happen next. Compared to other games that have choices you kind of wish that the game wasn’t as linear when it comes to that when that was one of the main selling points of the game for the past years since the first. Also remember that no game is just with the main storyline that you follow, complete it and that’s the end. There’s secret chests to open using keys you find everywhere in the world so there’s plenty of side stuff to be had to keep you busy for hours. The game being easy is where the fun is since you can smash anyone and practically win, however, if you’re a fan of challenge, this might not be for you. I can certainly say that this game is worth the price, but keep in mind, that this is a “love it or hate it” game.
Final Verdict: 7/10
Fable 3 was released on October 26th, 2010 on Xbox 360, May 17th, 2011 for PC. Available in stores and on Steam.