Xbox 360 Review: Fable III

Is it third time lucky for Albion?

Hype has surrounded the Fable series since the beginning, no thanks to Peter Molyneux. Each game in the series has never quite delivered to what he promises…as much as I enjoyed Fable II; it did have its share of flaws and bugs. Fable III looks set to finally delver, but can the revolution arrive on the third game?

Fable III is set 50 years after the events of the last game and you are the son of the previous Hero. You also have a brother, Logan who is King, while you are a Prince. Logan is nothing short of a tyrant and after being forced to make a very tough decision, you vow to never forgive your brother and flee the castle with the help of your butler, Jasper (voiced by John Cleese) and your biggest ally, Sir Walter (voiced by Bernard Hill, Theoden from LOTR)

The story follows your path to take the throne in a revolution and to lead Albion into prosperity, but it’s not as simple as that. You need to gain the support of the surrounding towns and make them some pretty big promises. The game doesn’t end when you become King though and some tough choices lie ahead, I won’t spoil what but I’ll give you a tip. Save as much gold as you can, as soon as you can.

Gone are the experience orbs and the need to absorb them by holding down the right trigger. Instead you instantly get experience added to your Guild Seal collection, which unlocks chests along the “Road to Rule”, which is an area that represents your path to the throne. The chests have upgrades and items that will let you do the typical Fable things like buying houses, getting married, having kids and so on.

Combat remains more or less the same, although you can only combine 2 types of magic spells now, and you’ll need an upgrade just to get that. The same enemies return (as do some new ones) and don’t pose much of a challenge. There is an achievement for not getting knocked down during the game and it’s actually pretty easy as long as you have tons of health potions. Battles seem a bit easier than they did in Fable II though and won’t trouble you too much.

When you press Start, the game doesn’t pause. It takes you to the Sanctuary, your hidden base where you access your weapons, clothes, achievements, friends and options. Quests pop up like they did in Fable II, but you access them from the Map in the Sanctuary. You can also manually buy houses from the map instead of going upto each little sign outside the property, which saves a lot of time. The quests are better than that of the previous game, mostly because of the choices you can make that will literally change the face of Albion. You can still interact with villagers, but you need to perform fetch and carry quests to make them befriend you and even take them on a date before you can propose. Bit of advice, if you marry someone from the slums then be sure to wear a condom during sex.

Visuals in Fable III are a mixed bag. Areas and character models look good, but aren’t a huge improvement from the past game. There are also framerate issues at times and quite a few bugs and glitches that hold back what is a good looking game. Voice-acting is brilliant and full of talent from the likes of John Cleese, Stephen Fry, Jonathan Ross, Simon Pegg and Sir Ben Kingsley to name a few. I laughed so hard at the dialogue from Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross during your encounter with Reaver, it’s truly comical genius. Reaver returns but is more brutally cruel than he was during Fable II. I never would imagine Stephen Fry playing a role like it, but am glad to see it nonetheless.

The Verdict

Does Fable III finally deliver on the hype? Almost. It has the right combination of an epic story, side-quests and collectables, but the combat has become less rewarding and challenging. Interacting with villagers feels more of a chore than it did before, and the focus on making players swap Legendary weapons and clothing items for achievements is tedious. That aside, Fable III is a gripping adventure from your start as a lowly Prince to a righteous King.