By TheCappuccinoBandit 18 Comments
So I've been thinking lately I need a place to write about what I think about games I've recently played and what better place to do than Giant Bomb. So to start I'm going to talk about a game that I would have enjoyed if it wasn't for some very poor design decisions. I am of course talking about Fable III.
In this I will be making comparisons to Fable II as I believe it is the far superior game. Fable II did a great job of simplifying usual RPG mechanics without making them idiotic, the game featured the ability to upgrade weapons and let the player see their character grow in age, physique and appearance decided on the players moral standings and upgraded abilities. In Fable III your character doesn't look that much different at the end from when you started the game. One of the biggest mistakes made in the game's design is the implementation of 'The Sanctuary' which replaces the traditional pause menu and inventory system found in Fable II. When playing the game I found it frustrating to equip weapons, in order to change my gun or magic gauntlets I had to be transported to a room then walk into another room then walk up to the part of the wall with the gun or sword I wanted to select and then press A and then press A again to equip it. This simplification of the menu system ends up making the process longer and in some cases even more complected. For example me and a friend were playing co-op and once I decided I wanted to leave the game we could not figure out how to do so, we went into each room of the sanctuary trying to figure out how to leave in the end my friend had to exit to the Xbox dashboard, Lionhead's attempt of simplifying the menus caused simple tasks that could be solved within seconds with a traditional menu. Another problem the menu system suffers from is the player is unable to view what items and loot they have such as presents and health potions, when playing the game I was unable to see how many health potions or food I had until I was in a fight.
In terms of narrative the game seems to build up and build up then just fizzes out once the character has reached his goal of becoming king or queen. The last part of the game seems rushed and just becomes monotonous to the player as they just make decision after decision whilst sitting in the throne room in order to prepare Albion for an impending attack from an enemy just labeled as 'The Darkness'. The enemy is never really explained to the player, all the player knows is after a short story quest is that it makes people blind, talks in a strange voice and puts black inky stuff everywhere. The lack of a fleshed out villain doesn't really give the player any idea what kind of threat their facing and why it is such a big deal. Once the player is king/queen they are told the darkness will attack in 365 days and with every decision made either takes or puts money in the treasury in order to fund Albion's army. At this point with every group of decision's made the day timer seems to be going down at a steady pace and then all of a sudden without warning the timer skips forward about a hundred and fifty days and launches the player into the endgame. By the time I entered the endgame I was completely unprepared and most of the people of Albion died. The game's ending was also an anti-climax with the end boss being unimaginative and incredibly easy to beat.
The level design in Fable III was similar to that of Fable II with small contained environments the player could explore. As the environments are quite concentrated and separated into different segments the player does not feel over whelmed and unsure where to go. I liked this as it allows the player to feel they are adventuring although they are being guided by the environment and the 'Bread-crumb trail'.
So thats what I think about Fable III, it's not a terrible game it's just Fable II is so much better. I think where Fable III went wrong was it's simplification of mechanics found in the last game which where simple enough already.