This game has been a long time coming. Eagerly anticipated for many many months, Fable III promised to finally fix a lot of the problems with the first two games, while elevating the storytelling to new heights. Lucky for you, you’ve probably read about that in other reviews. Here is my take on a game that doesn’t include making good on past broken promises because I’m probably the first person on the planet to play this game without having played the first three. This review has taken so long because I’ve been busy enthralling myself in the epicness that is Fable III. Alright, epic might be an overstatement, but the game has some pretty great qualities. Read on to find out what I loved and what was a complete blasphemy to the RPG genre.
Let’s go chronologically here. The first thing you see when you crack open Fable III are the phenomenal cinematics. The game opens with a very clever animation (there’s a chicken!), fantastic design ambitions, and sets a pretty stunning stage. There’s no way these characters are playable. And sadly, I’m right – they’re not. Therein lies my first problem with Fable III: the fantastic cinematics at the beginning is one of the only times you ever see such beautiful polygons anywhere in the entire game. I will say that water rendered in-game looks pretty phenomenal and are the only part ripped out of the opening cinematics almost verbatim. With that said, the game still looks pretty great, although not Xbox 360 great. Then again, it’s worlds above Xbox great, so in the graphics department, maybe the game ain’t too bad.
Combat in the game is a sour point and sadly, there are no redeeming qualities here. I do like the fact that it’s ridiculously easy, but I feel like I’m cheating.The same enemies come at your over and over again, in the same pattern, requiring the same button smashing technique to shoo them away. Every battle ends with a bigger version of the same enemy and a slow-mo takedown. Nothing creative here, and certainly nothing we haven’t seen done before. In the 80s. So long as you have enough potions, you’ll never die, which may sound good, but it doesn’t really give you the threat you would need to actually put some effort into it.
The bad continues when we get to talk about polish. The game is ridiculously unfinished. Choppy movements, mouths disjointed to character speech, object detection issues, camera problems, irregular movement, it’s got every problem in this department. Ever seen a shovel go right through a dog? Play Fable III.
There are a lot of clever hidden jokes in Fable III that redeem its qualities, and although it may seem like I’m harping on the bad points, the game is really superb. The storyline is its crown jewel, and it evolves naturally, even if it has some boring quests that have you running to and fro across the map. There are interesting story moments that make the game truly unique; playing a Lute for spectators (and the game calls this Lute Hero, by the way – I told you they had a lot of clever hidden jokes), performing in plays, saving children from evil barons, and the list goes on.
The story is one you’ve heard – you become the king of a land where you’ve made promises and have to fulfill them. A story of good or evil. It makes sense, and the story is actually quite robust. It isn’t a game where every decision supposedly matters, it’s a game where every decision matters. Period.
Based on what I’ve heard of Fable and Fable II, Peter Molyneux’s latest iteration makes good on a lot of promises, but still forgets to polish the game. Either way, it is worth noting that the game more than makes up for it in cinematic quality, unique story moments, and an overall feeling of accomplishment. Fable III is worth playing. Albion needs you.