lazyartistry's Fable III (Xbox 360) review

A dissapointment of epic proportions

I had high hopes for this game, I really did.  It is a true Fable game with all the same characteristics that made the previous two stand out so well.  Unfortunately, Lionhead decided to make some really bizarre changes to the functionality of the game that I still cant quite comprehend.
 
All the Fable staples are there as usual: The character interaction, the simplistic but still fun combat, great character designs, as well as a dash of touching humor.  Lionhead really does have the abbility to make a great game, which is why it's so strange to see them fumble on so many things each time.
 
The inventory is one of the things that doesn't make much sense in this version.  Gone are the basic lists and descriptions of your potions, items, and weapons.  All of that is replaced by a little pocket world that you can walk around and interact with, picking things off of the shelves and looking at them from your character's perspective.  In theory, this idea is sound, but unfortunately is just too clunky, providing a slow and ponderous method to see what your character can use.  In addition, you can't even view your basic items like health potions or gifts that you currently have!  The only way I could find out what I was actually carrying on my person was to try and sell all my possessions at a pawn shop - only then could I see what I was actually carrying!
 
Property management is also a growing pain.  It's still incredibly easy to gain a high income by buying every home and business in sight, but now you have to maintain each property.  Don't maintain it enough and the condition of the property drops down too low and your tenants refuse to pay.  This again is a sound system, but is made worse by forcing the player to visit each properly individually on the map to check on it's status and decide whether to repair it or not.  This problem becomes magnified when you have dozens of properties in different areas, and slows down the game even more.  The property upkeep became so tedious that I eventually sold all the homes I owned and just bought businesses.  For some reason, they didn't require an upkeep cost.
 
A small nit-pick I have was also with the map.  Usually a map is a representation of the area you are currently traveling through and gives you basic areas and locations to travel to.  However, Lionead decided that the map should instead only be a characterization of the area you are located.  What this means is that the map bears no resemblance to reality, making it next to useless for actual navigation.
 
The final part, and the biggest problem was the game's ending.  I won't spoil anything, but once the violent and bloody revolution was completed and you rise to the throne... well... the game kinda runs out of steam.  Nothing noteworthy happens after that, and the end level happens so suddenly that you have a moment of doubt thinking "... wait... that was it??  No nonono, there must be more..."  But nope, that was the game. 
 
In the end, Fable 3 is a moderately fun game that just doesn't really deserve the hype, and is a step backwards from a much more entertaining Fable 2.  I can't really recommend paying for this game to anyone - it may be worth a rental, or borrowing from a friend - but I can't recommend that you buy this game.  Your money is better spent elsewhere.

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