Release Date: October 26, 2010
ESRB Rating: Mature
Fable III is all about revolution. On our third trip to the land of Albion, we see a world that is changing. An industrial revolution has taken place, and the signs are evident from Brightwall to Bowerstone. There’s another revolution bubbling under the surface of the new cobblestones and behind those brick walls- a revolution against a tyrant king by an oppressed people and led by you, the king’s brother.
Although your path leads you to replacing your brother as king, Peter Molyneux and the team from Lionhead Studios decided why “end at potentially the most exciting bit?” Instead we press on, to find out exactly what kind of king you’ll be. The Fable franchise has always forced players to make tough decisions and Fable III is no different. Will you keep the promises you made to the people as you led them to depose your brother, or will you follow in his footsteps as a tyrant and oppress those beneath you? What decisions will you make when they affect an entire kingdom?
Despite the new theme of revolution, when you come down to it, the game itself actually conforms pretty strongly to Fable II. The combat is unchanged. One button still controls all melee attacks, another handles ranged weapons and a third for magic. While too simple to be called elegant, the controls are definitely accessible to gamers of any skill level- however, the hardcore set may be disappointed at the lack of depth provided.
The usual meta aspects of the franchise are also in place. For example, how what you do determines your appearance. Everything from the food you eat to how many scars you have from being knocked out in battle play a role. The things you do will determine the way people feel about you as well. You can influence your subjects by interacting with them, giving them gifts or running errands for them. You can make friends, get married, lead a vegetarian lifestyle and have kids. You can also kill your friends, have sex indiscriminately, bite the heads off of crunchy baby chickens and decide whether or not to practice safe sex. Just be prepared for any social stigma and/or diseases that may result.
Fable II was a great game, and with Fable III being so similar to its predecessor, you might think that I’m saying it too is great. This is not the case however. Fable II was great two years ago, but it’s 2010 now and Fable III doesn’t really raise the bar in any way. Nothing here feels like an upgrade. Worse yet, I’ve experienced at least one frozen screen, and had some choppiness on several occasions. I think Lionhead may have been slightly handcuffed by the two year development cycle between this game and the last. Not only did they not have time to deliver a richer experience than the last entry, they didn’t even have time to sweep out all the bugs.
Still, it would be hard to deny that the game is fun. The story is pretty good, and the production values as far as voice acting and dialogue are concerned are solid. Graphics have been tweaked for the better, but seem to be traded off for seemingly random drops in frame rate. Ultimately though, fans of the series will find enough enjoyment here to warrant picking it up. If you played Fable II and didn’t like it or thought it was merely okay, there is certainly nothing here that will win you over. Even though Fable III is all about revolution, it is far from revolutionary.