Peter Molyneux, you cruel bastard. I've scarcely been back in Albion two minutes, and already you're forcing me into making a decision that is turning me inside out with guilt. The tyrannous King Logan, my brother, has put me in an excruciating situation. With my head and heart squabbling like an old married couple, I eventually surrender my decision to logic, my emotions taking a back seat. I justify my reasoning as noble and righteous; the actions of a truly selfless hero. This is the right choice, I keep telling myself.
I immediately regret it.
How could I have been so heartless? The previously distinct line between good and evil has been intentionally blurred in Fable III. Things aren't as black or white as they used to be; the moral canvas underpinning the game painted from a palette of greys. I contemplate turning off the console and starting again, but eventually admit that feeling this bad about a single decision can only be considered a good thing. Few games can invoke genuine guilt in a player, and these situations should be embraced.
After being emotionally tormented by my brother - forced into a decision where each option is just as painful as the other - the wheels are set in motion for an uprising that will change Albion forever. By leaving the castle, the young prince brands himself a traitor – vowing to come back one day to take revenge on his brother. It's the beginnings of a rebellion; a quest to oust the King from his throne. In the midst of an industrial revolution, Albion has been stricken by poverty and famine, the result of the greedy and cold hearted rulings of its king. As the son of the hero from Fable II, it's up to you to step into the shoes of your father and become the man (or indeed, woman) that leads the people out of the darkness.
While Fable II had you gallivanting about Albion uniting a band of heroes, the third iteration of the series has you recruiting the army required to start a revolution. Your generals will take the form of village elders, war heroes and leaders of underground resistance movements, all united by a shared hatred of their king. By completing quests and proving your worth as a hero, you'll gradually earn their trust. Before they lend you their strength, however, they'll ask that you promise to return the favour when you take the throne. How true you are to your word will determine what kind of king you'll be. It's Fable; the choice is yours whether to be good, evil or anything in between.
Unfortunately, the quests that form the bulk of the experience lack the originality of those in Fable II. A sizeable portion of the game simply involves dragging an NPC from one environment to another. While this might demonstrate the game's new 'touch' mechanics nicely, it isn't actually all that entertaining. It's the age old escort mission in disguise, and plays out a little too often for my liking. It's the very same mechanic used to take girlfriends on dates, too, and quickly becomes laborious. This and 'clear the area of enemies' quests are the bread and butter of Fable III; don't expect anything as memorable as the Spire this time around. Perhaps Fable II set the standards too high, but the lack of diversity in III is mildly disappointing.
Combat, while similar to that of its predecessor, has been streamlined somewhat. Tedious orb collecting is no longer a concern, and stylish slow-mo execution moves execute themselves at certain points in battle. It requires little more thought than which button to feverishly tap away at. With a decent pistol in your hand, you can roll and shoot your way through the game with little difficulty. I don't want to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet here, but I didn't die once over the entire course of the game. This accessibility isn't necessarily a bad thing – it keeps players immersed, refusing to remind them that this is, in fact, a game. But like many facets of Fable III's design, this too has a downside. The game is almost pointlessly easy. Even pivotal moments in the story that should prove difficult – like storming Bowerstone Castle to take the throne, for example - fail to provide much of a challenge.