The King and I
For fans of the series a return to Albion has always been cause for celebration, the world itself has been crafted and remoulded throughout the series making it as big a star as the games Protagonist.
The third instalment of this swords and sorcery tale rejoins the world during what is essentially Albions industrial revolution which sees Albion under the iron fist of a ruthless king who has corrupted the land and its people, Children have been forced in to slavery and its people beg in the streets as they struggle under the repressive regime.
As the kings younger sibling you live your life in the luxury of the kings castle, after a few brief missions and a rather gloomy incident the game sees you flee the castle and launch your own personal crusade to gather an army and overthrow the king.
Throughout the tale you’ll travel the world meeting faction leaders and spend some time convincing them that you are the right person to get behind, each of the leaders will ask you to do numerous tasks which usually boil down to finding an item, killing some enemies or helping the citizens of Albion but because both the leaders and Citizens are brimming with the wit and charm the series is known for the game never seems as repetitive as it should.
The major problem with the story is its inconsistency there are times when the game introduces you to characters only to have them meet their untimely end shortly after and its hard to care when you have no chance to build an emotional investment in them . Some of the best quests in the game are often not part of the story at all, one particularly memorable quest sees you get shrunk down and take part in a desktop game akin to dungeons and dragons with the dungeon masters narrating your every move, another sees you take part in an argument between a husband and wife but for every great side quest there are five terribly boring fetch quests in the storyline.
Speaking of fetch quests, developing relationships has always been a big feature of previous fable games but in fable 3 the system has been overhauled. The emote system which allowed the player from fable 2 has been simplified into the much touted touch system which allows you to interact with characters in either a good or evil manner at the press of a button this builds up your relationship with said person who will then ask you to perform a task to cement your new found relationship and bring it to the next level and 100% of the time found that it is a simple fetch quest which really frustrated me and I longed for the days when I could select the fart emote and really let that citizen know what I thought of their request.
The world itself has been beautifully rendered, technically is much more astute than before but personally I felt the choice of aesthetic detracted from the overall look of the game the buildings, characters and landscape are much higher res than before but buildings aren’t as pretty and the world doesn’t seem as epic in scale as it did before. Its still a pleasure to explore however with each are having plenty of hidden nooks and crannies for you and your pet dog to explore. However the lovable canine companion from fable 2 has been replaced by a furry wooden plank, unlike said dog in fable 2 it never gets hurt or sad and therefore never requires you to play with it or heal it, taking away any reason to ever get attached, Other than find dig spots the dog does very little else there are times when it will attack enemies but they seem few and far between, its as if the dig forgot what to do.
The rest of the combat remains the same as in previous iterations, the trifecta of magic, sword and ranged combat makes a return , the player can combine these into simple combos to take down the enemies in combat or hold down the button to charge up the action with a flourish which does more damage and looks prettier than a regular attack.
Defensively the player has several choices the standard block is done by holding the melee button but unfortunately it doesn’t work well enough to be viable, the alternative is the dodge roll which sees the player dive out of the way and become invincible for a few frames.
The combat is simple by design but unfortunately the effect of this is a lower level of difficulty than most people expect from this type of game.
The one part of Fable 3 that stands out as exceptional is the sound, the music is incredible accompanying the action perfectly and the voice cast perform the witty dialogue exceptionally. One truly notable performance is from Jonathon Ross who plays the manservant of one of the games antagonists.
There are some major issues that will get in your way throughout your journey, simple things like the new menu system, which tries to explain away the menu by creating a world within a world in which you can move around and interact with items which serve as your options or the fact that the quest trail is horribly broken prevent you from finding the next waypoint forcing you to amble around trying to figure out what you should be doing.
The good points in the game far out weigh the bad , there is a great story which is acted out brilliantly any would be adventurer should be suitably impressed with the scope and the way that the game impresses a sense of urgency in your actions as the story nears its conclusion.
Fans of RPGS and the fable series should pick this up without question, however if you haven’t been impressed with the series before Fable 3 won’t do anything to change your mind.