Fable III ReviewDustin Hill
In development for just over two years is Fable III. It has been six years since the original came out in 2004. Lionhead Studios has had some time to tweak the franchise they're most known for. So grab your sword, fireball spell and possibly even your trusty dog for another romp through the lands of Albion.
Fable has always been known for its humor and the general fun that the game offers, while at the same time providing serious overtones as the fate of the world rests on your Heroic shoulders. In Fable III you play as the son or daughter of the hero in Fable II (of which you can load your data to influence the game slightly) fifty years to the future during Albion's personal industrial revolution. It also contains many familiar locales from the previous release with many additions and re-renditions along with a host of brand new areas to explore.
The graphics and sound in Fable III actually had me just standing there bits at a time appreciating the sound of the wind blowing flecks of snowflakes inside of a fully frozen cave. This also lead me to noticing that many of the environments have scripted animations; all of the trees respond to the wind in the same way at the same time, which lowers some of the trueness of the setting for me at times.
Where Fable III really stands out however, is the quality of storytelling that Lionhead studios is known for, along with the solid gameplay they offer. Edging close to twenty hours, the main storyline will tug at your heart strings, make you laugh out loud and even grit your teeth as you oppose the many antagonists Albion has in store for you. There are huge twists in the story that left my jaw just hanging open, choices that were agonizingly hard to make and didn't rest solely within the good' or evil' category; you can very well hurt a lot of innocent people and sink the country into ruin on your path to being pious. Being the kind of adventure game that Fable III is, complete with important choices that do affect the story, you can easily play through this game at least twice if not more.
When you're not laughing, or while, you'll have to fend off an array of villains from mercenaries and ghosts to various creatures of the forest. The battle system is also quite impressive, complete with the ability to combine spells (a vortex of flame or electrified snowstorms for instance), slow motion effects that are fit for Hollywood blockbusters and controls that are accessible to new players as well as those who have followed the series.
Though Fable III does so many things right, there are minor things that detract somewhat from the overall experience. The load times are long and the frame rate when in towns or large battles slows to a crawl that makes enjoying the game difficult sometimes. This can, mostly, be remedied if you install the game to your hard drive from your Xbox dashboard.
Also, many of the story missions have familiar characters or scenarios from previous games which can give the player a bit of nostalgia if you'd played the previous games. If not, then everything's new, though they do seem to borrow heavily on routine scenarios in parts (the only thing you have to do in several missions is just.... beat up the bad guys!).
While Fable III may not be the most mold breaking idea or be the best game to be released in the last ten years, it possesses wonderful humor, solid core gameplay and is just simply fun. So if you're a new gamer looking for something that's simple and fun or a hardcore gamer who might like a break from intense competition; Fable just may be for you.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.