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July 19th, 2012, 14:28
Fable 3

I played Fable 1 on PC and Fable 2 on Xbox 360, so decided to complete the hat trick and play the PC version of Fable 3 (plus DLC). The game got a very bad press when it was released so I was curious to see if it was as bad as people say.

Well, it is certainly the weakest of the three games, but I wouldn't say it was as awful as Angry Joe made it sound. Yes, features have been stripped out (eg no health indicator, no minimap) with little justification. Yes, crap features have been added (the Sanctuary is simply a stupid and tedious way to organise menus and inventory, although I generally worked around it - having to visit a room in the Sanctuary to change weapons meant I just didn't change weapons very often). But gameplay-wise and graphics-wise, its very similar to Fable 2, so if you enjoyed Fable 2 you will probably get at least something out of Fable 3.

Another major criticism of Fable 3 is that it wrong-foots you halfway through, switching you from the standard RPG-lite fare of Fable 2 to a King/Queen simulation where you make binary choices (build an orphanage which costs the royal treasury money, or a brothel which makes money?). This pissed a lot of people off because a/ it changes the nature of the game and b/ because "good" choices cost the Treasury money, which in turn means by the end of the game you may not have enough money to save your kingdom. I didn't mind the latter as it was one of the very few bits of real choice in the game. Up to this point, the whole "good/evil" choices thing was much less well done than in the previous games. Indeed, Fable 3 just doesn't seem particularly well set up to play the standard evil role - for example after the final fight
Spoiler


Graphics-wise, the game looks pretty enough on PC, again very similar to Fable 2 in style, with a slightly cartoonish, otherworldy look (too much bloom for my liking though). The steampunk additions, which were creeping in during Fable 2, are much more prevalent here but fit the world well, with Albion now peppered with factories, mills, monorails, mortars and other advances in technology.

As mentioned above, gameplay is similar to Fable 2 and (for me) too simple and repetitive to be a lot of fun. Melee is limited to hit, block, and charged attack; shooting to, well, shoot and charged shot; magic to single target and area effects. Melee is considerably underpowered compared to the other two, and I was sufficiently bored by the combat that I just ended up constantly shooting enemies with my pistol as it was quicker.

DLC is ho-hum, Understone Quest Pack adds a bit of unremarkable content, the Traitors Keep is a bit meatier and follows on from the main quest. Once you've completed the main quest though, particularly depending on whether you liked the resolution, you may find yourself with little motivation to do much more.

All in all, Fable 3 is more like Fable 2.5, its OK but there are far better RPGs out there - probably one for completionists really. Edit: PS it runs with Games for Windows Live, so bear that in mind if you are a GFWL hater, although for the record I had zero problems with it in 30 hours or so play.
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