nate_is_my_fake_name's Fable III (Xbox 360) review

Feels Like a Mediocre Budget Game

 Fable 3's combat gameplay is the best thing it has going for it. The combat flows easily and fluidly between melee, guns, and magic attacks. The weapon flourishes that can be done to finish off enemies are some of the game's strongest animations. The combat feels like a solid hack and slash, although the magic, even after being fully upgraded, still feels underpowered. The weapons themselves get upgraded depending on what you do with them (kill 300 hollowmen, kill 150 enemies with flourishes, make 30 friends), and that changes both their damage output and their look.

Forming relationships with NPCs is as simple as it is annoying. It involves having your character engage in nice expressions such as dancing, playing patty-cake (seriously), or tickling. After doing this a couple of times, the NPC will then become your friend after you perform a basic fetch quest for them. If you want the NPC to love you (and thus open up the possibility of marriage), you must engage in the same nice expressions with them, and then take them on a "date" to a random location. The same expressions are used regardless of the NPC's gender or orientation.

The endgame, which has you making decisions as king, seems rushed, and a point of no return can be quickly reached if you aren't careful. If you want the best ending possible, it is best to have lots of money (which you mainly get from buying properties and businesses). Money can also be obtained through doing "jobs" in the different towns. The jobs are simply quick-time event mini-games, but they can be an effective means of getting gold in the early stages of the game.

The story and setting are interesting, involving a kingdom in the throes of an industrial revolution, which is something not often seen in fantasy. The voice acting in Fable 3 is, for the most part, mediocre and forgettable (though it isn't outright bad), with two major exceptions: Jasper the butler (voiced by John Cleese) and your mentor, Sir Walter (voiced by Bernard Hill), are both very well voiced. They are also the game's strongest characters, and the only ones I really cared about.

The graphics are sub-par compared to recent games. The game has no mini-map to show where quests are, but it does feature a glowing trail that leads you in the direction of your active quest. This trail, however, often disappears, leaving you with no means of knowing where to go. I found that the later into the game I got, the more this happened. Killing random villagers will result in guards running at you and yelling to turn yourself in--and then standing around and not attacking at all.

Fable 3 isn't a bad game. It just isn't a very good or very memorable one. The engaging combat is the only thing that is really fun here. The rest of the experience suffers from poor (the rushed ending) to downright baffling (like the relationship mechanics) design decisions that take the focus of the game's major strength.

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