Just completed it...
I just finished it -- at least, I saw the credits screen. I can always go back. Here are some thoughts:
- I did a lot more eating and potion buying in Fable 2. In fact, I never ate a single thing or bought a single potion in this game. It lacks the incentive to do so.
- My characters appearance barely transformed at all throughout this game, while in the last game I became an obese demon-looking creature (I played a good guy in Fable 3)
- I lacked incentive to learn new expressions, and my expressions were severely limited through. I mainly danced or chatted with everyone, which was tedious.
- Interacting with the people of Albion wasn't fun in general. When you decide to interact with a NPC, the screen switches to interacting mode. For example, if you see a beggar sitting on the street and want to give money, press the A button to interact and it flashes to you and the beggar standing face-to-face. Fable 2 did it better, and provided many more options to interact from the beginning.
- I stopped relying on my sword because my ranged weapon and magic were much more effective. It's hard to avoid getting hit when using your sword, but it's easy to roll, fire, roll, fire, etc. There are some cool finishing moves, but it's difficult to initiate them (some I only saw once).
- I never died throughout.
- Regarding taking a job, in Fable 2 you work your jobs by hitting a button at a precise point. Here, it's more like Guitar Hero: Hit the buttons in sequence. I would have preferred some variety, as all the jobs use this same format.
- I encountered many more outfits in Fable 2. Here, I ended up sticking with a variation of a bandit outfit that I found early on. I even sold the royal outfit I got when I became king (it's worth a lot of money).
Just like Brad stated in his review, I was also rushed into the end part of the game before I was ready, which had pretty dire consequences for Albion. I also felt the game was pretty cheap in terms of choices. It doesn't just ask you if you want to build a school; it asks if you want to build a school OR do you want to send the children to the factories to work. How about neither?
Despite all my complaints, I really enjoyed the game. I would have played it longer if it hadn't rushed me into the end sequence. I was perfectly willing to take on more missions and put in some time at the blacksmith's shop to make more money.
One thing that helped me out: I left the game on overnight (I wrapped a cord around the left control stick so my character would walk into a wall), which helped me generate money from rent, as the game will no longer generate money when it's not being played.
If a game gives me this much entertainment, I just can't give it below 4 stars. As someone who only plays the most accessible RPGs (Fable 2, Mass Effect 2), this game delivers a fun, engaging experience for the casual player. It's fun building your army to take over the kingdom, and I really enjoyed sitting on the throne and making major decisions (though there was perhaps a little too much of this). For others, these experiences may pale in comparison to games like Dragon Age.
I'm glad I bought it, because I don't like being rushed to play games, but if you're on the fence, it's definitely worth a rent.