Fable III screenshot
Fable III screenshot

I suspect this might split fans of the series into two groups: those that find this increases immersion, and those that find, actually, it takes them out of the experience. Sorry Peter, but I find myself in the latter group. Hitting the start button will, after a short load, take you to the main room of the sanctuary. It's circular, with rooms for your weapons, wardrobe and treasure branching off from it. There are shortcuts on the D-pad for each, but once again there's a short load between this and the next room. Making any changes to your character is thus a lengthy procedure. Aside from these logistical drawbacks, I found it to disrupt continuity, too. One minute I'm fighting balverines in the misty depths of the Silverpine forest; the next I'm standing in a trans-dimensional War Room with a butler and my dog curled up peacefully in his basket. It's all a bit too jarring, for me.

Then there's the Road to Rule - Fable III's answer to an upgrade system. At certain points in the story you'll be forced into entering a portal which will take you to a long road, peppered with chests. By using guild seal coins, a form of currency that reflects how many followers you have, you can open chests of varying prices. You can buy new expressions and spells, improve your proficiencies with weapons and increase your aptitude for magic. Once again, Lionhead wants you to make use of this featurein game, even if the mechanic is unnecessarily long-winded and nonsensical. As somebody who plays a lot of RPGs, both eastern and western, The Road to Rule is perhaps my biggest issue with Fable III.

Apologies; I've been waiting to get these problems off my chest since I first played the game, and I'm all too aware that it's a long list of complaints. But here's the thing: somewhere between teaching your dog new tricks, hunting down evil gnomes, having sex with women that aren't your wife, meeting the requirements to upgrade weapons, slaughtering Hobbes, exploring the unknown continent of Aurora and farting in the faces of children whilst wearing a chicken suit, all these problems seem to fade into the background. The familiar Fable experience is as engrossing as ever, and it's incredibly hard to stay mad at a game that oozes charm from every one of its pores. Fable III is a game that is inexplicably better than the sum of its parts.

As always, it's the strength of the world, atmosphere and characters that define Fable. Take Jasper, for example, your personal butler. Voiced by the incredibly fitting John Cleese, Jasper is one of many characters in the game that will force a chuckle out of even the sternest of gamers. The script is as sharp and delightfully British as always, with hundreds of lines of dialogue woven into each quest. A personal favourite of mine involves taking part in a desktop game based on Dungeons and Dragons. The quest-givers shrink you down to an appropriate size and literally put you on the board, narrating your adventure in their game as you go. It's genuinely hilarious, with witty insights to the game development process hiding among the gags.

Fable III doesn't just excel in presenting its narrative; the game is rife with technical innovations, too. Those who take the game into the realm of Xbox LIVE can expect to not only pair up with other players for co-op questing, but marry, have kids and enter into business partnerships with them too. Don't be rash in committing to a stranger online, however. Bound by the laws of marriage, it's only natural that what's yours is theirs and what's theirs is yours. In the event of divorce, your partner will receive half of your fortune – and undoubtedly some players will enter into marriage for precisely this reason. The parallels to real life really are quite frightening.

Molyneux's fervent quest for accessibility might alienate some core gamers, but even the most cynical of critics would struggle to suppress a smile while playing Fable III. To enjoy a game to this extent despite so many flaws only serves to show how utterly compelling adventuring in Albion can be.

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User Comments

Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Just completed the main game. Wow. It was hard to put the controller down.
Posted 14:44 on 31 October 2010
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

I picked it up in store today and was engrossed for 3 hours straight as soon as it got back home with me. It's got that same je ne sais quoi that Fable I and II had before it; totally captivating, incredibly easy to get immersed and mesmerised, and, what I love best, there's always a surprising depth to the gameplay if you like finding stuff, building collections of similar stuff, tweaking said stuff and then maxing out your various tweaked collections of stuff that you've found.

And yet it's an RPG that you can rush through just by brainless button mashing if you chose to do so, but then you're missing out on 90% of the stuff.

I think I just discovered what that je ne sais quoi actually is: the Fable series is 10% casual gameplay from start to finish, 90% optional hardcore grindfest if you seek out diversions. Being an RPG fan, I love diversions which is why, no matter how hard it tries to be a game that appeals to the casual market, it's pretty much a given that any future games in the series will be day one purchases for me.

That's just after 3 hours. Good thing it wasn't after 200 hours or else this post would be even longer.
Posted 16:14 on 29 October 2010
xboxlive's Avatar

xboxlive

Not happy at all looks like il be getting a day after its out,Was there any point of preordering it?
Posted 09:59 on 29 October 2010
xboxlive's Avatar

xboxlive

think i found that out 2day.
Posted 09:49 on 29 October 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Zavvi are notoriously bad with regard to their stock levels of new products.
Posted 09:49 on 29 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ xboxlive

I never order anything time critical from Zavvi as they are pants!
Posted 09:48 on 29 October 2010
xboxlive's Avatar

xboxlive

As anyone ordered ther copy from Zavvi? my copy is still Awaiting Despatch
WTF?
Posted 09:37 on 29 October 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

i honestly thought a fable this soon would have consequences and from what jamin said there are plenty still going to be getting it just glad i bought new vegs before this.

great read jamin
Posted 17:08 on 28 October 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Wow, expected a 9 at least. I'm thinking about putting this on the back burner and playing Fable II instead.
Posted 14:29 on 26 October 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Reviews have been generally good rather than brilliant for this. I think many were expecting a few 10s.

At least it aint a 7.
Posted 14:02 on 26 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Here you go guys a 200mb free weapons pack.

http://tinyurl.com/3xb6eq9

Enjoy don't know how long it'll last so be quick.
Posted 14:00 on 26 October 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Good Read. I liked how Fable 2 was and I'm sure I will definitely like what Fable 3 has on offer. Sadly it will have to wait, unless a miracle comes out of nowhere so I can obtain this lovely jubbly game.
Posted 13:41 on 26 October 2010
xboxlive's Avatar

xboxlive

Ive preorder my copy and cant wait for it too come :)
Posted 13:16 on 26 October 2010
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II

From what I've played of it I thought it sucked.
Posted 12:38 on 26 October 2010
Get2DaChoppa's Avatar

Get2DaChoppa

Yeah great read Jamin. Have to agree with Karlius, I was expecting a 10, but with all the flaws you mention, it seemed unlikely.

So are the graphics the same or better than Fable II?
Posted 09:06 on 26 October 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Fable III
8
Out of 10
Fable III
  • Albion is a joy to explore
  • Hilarious script
  • Accessibility comes at a cost
  • Lacks polish
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Lionhead
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: RPG
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 747 1
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