Welcome back to the Kingdom of Albion! 50 years on from the setting of Fable II, Fable III tells the story of a prince having to overthrow the tyrant king that is his brother. The game takes you through the prince’s role at the head of the revolution having to complete quests in order to convince faction leaders that you are worthy to start the uprising.
Fable III and its predecessors have many similarities. The graphics are essentially the same, though this is no bad thing. The attention to detail remains extremely high and the theme benefits from the cartoony-style. The voice acting is extraordinary, featuring a top cast of John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Simon Pegg. Having your character complimented by these great actors feels like an amazing achievement! The comedy associated with previous Fable games also returns. You often find yourself laughing at random comments from passers-by, which really makes the game enjoyable.
The combat is identical to the previous games, and it can get repetitive and boring. It offers no challenge and really detracts from the better points of the game. This has always been a flaw of the Fable series and you would have thought on their third attempt Lionhead Studios could have made some alterations to improve such an integral part of the gameplay. Combat has only improved in the smoothness of swapping weapons: it’s easy to switch from bashing someone’s face in with a sword to shooting the next man with a pistol. This time around the fluidity of combat is much better than in Fable II as delay between actions is minimal, giving a real feeling that you’re controlling an experienced fighter.
The combat is identical to the previous games. It offers no challenge and really detracts from the better points of the game
The weapon choice has fallen dramatically. Fable II allowed you to collect a large combination of weapons and choose between them which gave a varied armoury. Disappointingly, Fable III gives a much smaller choice but causes your weapons to change depending on your actions. This actually gives a smaller array of weapons as there are essentially two possibilities for each weapon: good or evil. Levelling up also takes a new route, as rather than gaining experience by using one type of weapon (ranged, etc.) you can spend your acquired guild seals to upgrade styles of fighting. A great addition is the ability to mix spells. Whereas being a mage in the previous games meant mastering one spell and using that to the death, you now upgrade all spells at the same time and then can mix and match, combining the likes of fire and electricity in one spell.
Once again the majority of the game is taken up earning people’s respect by completing quests to collect guild seals. The number of seals you have determines whether a faction will help you start the revolution. Fable III’s quests are more engaging and lengthier which is relieving as previously Fable quests felt too similar and repetitive. Exploration is still important, and there are plenty of discoverable caves and buildings. However, sometimes the treasure inside is not proportional to the effort. You can spend hours exploring a cave finding only a bandit’s outfit, which is a complete let down and a real disappointment.
Morality is at the core of Fable III, as with the previous games, but the decisions you must make are much more difficult. The subtleties and ambiguities of morality are brought to light and show the darker side of being a ruler. Right from the start you must make a horrific choice, showing yourself as a selfish or selfless leader. The difficulty of this first decision surprised me but it’s a great opening as the game instantly throws you into the deep end. The game leads towards you becoming ruler of Albion and eventually, on taking the throne, your every decision visibly shapes the world around you.
Fable III allows you to relive the enjoyable experiences of Fable I & II, however it fails to bring enough new features or repair flaws which both predecessors contained. If you’re looking for a completely new experience prepare to be disappointed. Nonetheless, whether you are a fan of the series or a newcomer, Fable III is thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend you get it!