Review | Fable III
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: Action RPG | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Lionhead Studios | Release Date: 29/10/10 | RRP: £39.99
Jennifer Allen checks to see how many promises Peter Molyneux has kept with FABLE III.
YOU HAVE to admire a man like Peter Molyneux really. While lesser mortals know that you shouldn’t make promises that you can’t keep, Molyneux blazes in promising the world in his next game. Predictably you never get the world. You get a very respectable game but one that you can’t help but feel slightly cheated by because it was hyped up to ridiculous levels with no chance of actually meeting expectations. So we come to Fable III, a game that has the weight of the world on it in every sense yet still manages to be a great success.
Fable III doesn’t allow you to plant an acorn at the start and have a tree by the end of it. I know you’ve all been waiting for that moment. Keep on waiting, there’s no sign of it here. There are signs of evolution in this game though. Finally, decisions you make throughout the game do make more of a noticeable difference than we’ve come to expect from the series in the past, and some of them are distinctly darker in tone.
The sombre mood is eminent from the start. It’s not long before you have to make a life or death situation and one that demands you sit there and feel bad, regardless of what you do. Suddenly the world of Albion is no longer as black and white as it used to be. While at first, you might feel as if you’re doing the good thing, later on you might discover that being good early on meant that later on in the game other innocents suffered. Such decisions can change everything from people’s attitude towards you to how the towns and villages actually look. It’s a complicated world out there and Fable III reflects that well. As David Cameron would no doubt say, sometimes you have to make tough decisions in order to help people in the long term. He probably wouldn’t use the word ‘help’, instead he’d say ‘to make even more money out of people’ but the basic idea is there. This decision making model instantly makes you want to replay the game numerous times, just to see what can be changed next.
Around two thirds of the way through Fable III, you’ll be a ruler of the land. Decisions will be even weightier. You’ll be stuck trying to decide whether to build that orphanage or whether to build a brothel. It’s not as black and white as it sounds. An evil darkness is coming and you know you need the money in order to save your people. What do you do? Keep your people happy now but condemn them later, or be hated but eventually save them? It’s a tough call and as was the case with previous Fable games, you only get one save file. Saving is done automatically meaning that there’s no way of going back on your word. Just like life really.
This might sound horribly foreboding and as if Fable III is an exceptionally dire and miserable soap opera of a game. It’s actually not. At many other points in the tale, it’s also one of the most joyous and charming games I’ve played since, well, Fable 2. There’ll be moments where you have to dress up as a chicken in order to lure feathered friends back to their coop. There’s a dungeon and dragons style quest where you’re shrunk and placed on a game board in order to help out three nerds in their role-playing game. Moments like these provide great opportunities for parody and they’re taken advantage of greatly by the scriptwriters. Even in dark moments, there’s often time for comedy with some cracking one liners throughout. The addition of characters such as the bumbling brothers, Max & Sam and the mini game Lute Hero, go even further into the world of parody.
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