The third title in the Fable series was just released by Lionhead Studios.  This tale is a continuation from Fable II, in Fable III you get to play as the son or daughter of the character you played in Fable II.  The development period for this Fable game was the shortest in the history of Lionhead Studios.  Does this title live up to its predecessors, or was it just a quick cash in with the Fable name?

I would consider Fable III a western RPG.  There is no turn based fighting here it is all real time.  Your character does not have levels, but your weapons do.  There are 3 different types of combat in Fable melee, ranged and magic.  Each of these types of combat is mapped to a different button, and that button will always use that type of combat.  For example. anytime you hit the Y button, your character will bring out his or her gun and then you can hit Y again to shoot.  The appearance of the character will change based on what type of combat you use most, and how often you get hit.  Different types of food, and potions, also affect the appearance of your character.

One of the main reasons behind the shorter production cycle is the game engine.  Fable III uses the same game engine as Fable II.  There are some small graphical improvements, and the lighting seems better, but overall it looks almost the same as Fable II.  Do not expect a huge graphical improvement here, you do not play this game for its flashy graphics, or outstanding cut scenes, you play it for the RPG elements, and a dash of story in there for good taste.

The story generally seems better than that of any previous Fable.  I actually felt attached to characters, including my dog.  Yes, your trusty companion is also in Fable III, barking at treasures, and growling at the enemies.  This time around the game starts off with you as the brother of the king, and you end up trying to start a revolution, so you can become the King of Albion.  Without spoiling to much gameplay, a little more then halfway through the game, you become the King of the great city of Albion.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here in the story.

During the revolution you recruit different key players, and make promises to them, that when you become king, you will fix their problems.  As you recruit people, the Road to Rule opens up, where you can spend guild seals on chests which contain different things like weapon  powerups, new magic spells, new emotions, the ability to buy houses/shops etc.  You may be wondering to yourself , how can I get my hands on these guild seals, well I have the answer.   Guild seals are obtainable by almost anything you do, from completing quests, killing enemies, and even just talking with the locals.  Seems easy enough, until you have to start turning in over 100 for just a single upgrade.

Once you make it to the end of the Road to Rule, you overthrow your brother and become the King or Queen of Albion.  As the supreme ruler, you then have to decide on rulings that affect the world.  Most of the big decisions have to do with the promises you made earlier, but there are also some smaller ones.  Choosing the good option always has you lose money, while the evil option allows you to amass lots of money.  The choices you make here will decide the finale of the game.

I clocked about 20 hours into the game by the time I beat it.  I did all the side missions, except for the 3 collecting quests, and owned all the houses/stores in Albion.  My character was a good king, and I always selected all the good choices while playing.  I am currently playing back through it as an evil princess, to collect some missed achievements, and see how different the game turns out.

The game itself is an improvement over Fable II, but not a game changer.  If you enjoyed Fable II, you will enjoy Fable III.  If you hated Fable II, don’t expect to find joy in this game.  One of the “improvements” in Fable III, is the fact that they completely removed the menu.  Hit the start button, what do you expect to see?  Most people would answer and say “an in game menu”,  not in Fable III. When this happens your character gets transported to a Sanctum where you can do the things you would expect to find in the menu.  From this area you can change clothes, weapons, hairstyles, and fast travel to places you have already been.The co-op experience has also been vastly improved.  You are able to jump in and out of friends games without a problem.  Your full character comes over, and any gold/items you pick up in their game, comes back with you to your game.  This is how co-op should have been done in Fable II.

Enjoy the launch trailer below:

Overall Fable III is much of the same.  The only vastly different parts happen after you become the rules of Albion.  I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed the previous Fable games.  If you have never played a Fable before, there is nothing wrong about starting with Fable III, though I would suggest to save your money and pick up a copy of Fable II, since those can be found relatively cheap now, and it even exists on Microsoft’s Games on Demand service.  The game was fun enough for me to play back through a second time, but after this playthrough I doubt I will play it again.

Gameplay / Controls (4 out of 5)
Graphics (4 out of 5)
Sound (4 out of 5)
Replay Value (3.5 out of 5)
Entertainment (4 out of 5)
* Title : Fable III
* Format : Retail Release
* Developer : Lionhead Studios
* Publisher : Microsoft Game Studios
* Release Date : 10/26/10
* Players : 1-2


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