Fable III follows the epic saga of a young prince as he ignites a revolution to overthrow his own brother, the corrupt king in the industrialized fantasy world of Albion. You take on the role of the prince, and face an open ended fantasy world where your choices affect many different aspects of the adventure. The Fable series has been long credited for its open world, freedom of choice, and casual atmosphere. How does Fable III stack up with its predecessors? Let’s find out.
Single Player Gameplay
The majority of your adventures in the world of Albion will take place in the game’s single player component. Fable III’s basic structure has players progressing along a primary storyline with the option to complete side quests along the way. The world is very open, even in the beginning, and players aren’t ever really restricted to just one or two tasks.
Your character in Fable III moves around just as you would expect a character in an action/adventure game to maneuver. Your left stick controls his or her movement while the other stick controls the camera, and the buttons perform various actions. Combat in the game is fluid and is for the most part enjoyable. Fable III’s combat generally pits the player against hordes of enemies, rather than just one or two. This makes for exciting scenarios that never feel monotonous. Boss fights are plentiful, each with their own unique attack routines and combat styles.
Combat isn’t the only activity you will be undertaking in Fable III. Many of the quests in the game will have you running errands for characters and help you solve their problems in a way that doesn’t involve bashing somebody’s head in. These are more than your average MMO “go here, kill x of that” quests, and the varied objectives and humor ensures that the interest level remains high throughout, even while completing what would ordinarily be considered mundane tasks. If you ever feel like taking a break from all the questing and adventuring, there are several different minigames across Albion’s townships, or you could always pursue romance and possibly start a family.
Throughout the story mode your character will be presented with several difficult moral decisions. Your actions will change the way other characters react to you, and could alter events within the game’s storyline. The physical appearance of the prince will change depending on how good or evil you are, and each side has its own advantages and disadvantages. The idea that your character’s actions will have an affect on how the game plays out is a good one, but I feel that it wasn’t implemented in enough occasions for it to really matter.
The single player gameplay is solid, to say the least. The numerous options ensure that you’ll find it difficult to become bored, while the game’s main storyline keeps players moving in the right direction.
Fable III’s unique, colorful world leaves numerous options up to the player’s choice, and I didn’t once find myself feeling limited or bored. The game is a little on the easy side, however, but not enough so that it isn’t enjoyable. As such, a 4 out of 5 seems fitting.
Multiplayer, while present, is not the primary focus in Fable III. The game features a two player cooperative mode in which two adventurers play together in the same game world. Here multiplayer is simply a two player version of the single player component, and can be played offline on one Xbox or online through Xbox Live. A few of the game’s quests require two characters to complete, and players may enter into business relationships or marriage between each other. Coop mode is not an essential element of the game, and many will find that it is just as enjoyable, perhaps even more enjoyable, when the game is played alone.
The multiplayer isn’t bad, but instead feels tacked on. There are very few “multiplayer-only” features, and the existing ones aren’t anything different from what you would find in the single player game. Because multiplayer is such a relatively small component of Fable III, I will not be averaging it into the final score. If you’re looking for a multiplayer title, look elsewhere.
Graphics and Sound
Fable III is a beautiful game. Both its world and characters shine with a unique style of fantasy charm, and its whole atmosphere is affected by its graphics style. Unfortunately for us, the game’s graphics are also the source of many headaches. Frame rate drops are entirely too frequent, occurring in populated towns and especially during the game’s various minigames, rendering certain ones nearly unplayable at higher skill levels. Characters outside of a certain visible range (a very small one at that) revert to lower resolution figures with choppy movements, and the environment blurs a little too much for comfort.
Sound on the other hand, is just fine and dandy. The music fades to the back while you’re in town or exploring, and ramps up when the action becomes more exciting. While it isn’t anything catchy or memorable, the soundtrack does it’s job well, and sets the mood for all the fantasy goodness that is Fable III.
The graphics of Fable III are good, but perhaps too good. A surplus of kinks and graphical complications prevents players from getting the full experience. As far as the music and sound goes, it’s what you’ve come to expect from adventure games, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. For this, Fable III scores a 3 out of 5 in the graphics and sound department.
Accessibility and Execution
This is one area in which Fable III truly shines. As a role playing game, it is extremely accessible, yet executed and presented in such a way as to keep gamers of all skill levels and backgrounds interested. Gameplay is simplified, menus and walls of text are nonexistent, and quests and missions are easy to complete thanks to an easy-to-follow tracking system.
Fable III’s over-simplified gameplay is a bit strange given its mature rating, however. The game’s content places it in the hands of more mature gamers, rather than a member of the casual crowd. I appreciate the simplicity, but I feel that in some cases it wasn’t necessary.
In short, Fable III is a very easy game to get into, but some of its accessibility is a bit misplaced given the game’s mature rating and audience. For this, a 4 out of 5 seems fitting.
For most games, the multiplayer aspect is what generates the most re-playability and value for gamers. In Fable III, however, that doesn’t appear to be the case. This title’s value comes from its enormous, charming world that’s filled to the brim with quests and activities to complete. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be able to eek more than 20 to 30 hours of gameplay out of one playthrough of Fable III, but the game’s various options and choices ensure that no two playthroughs will feel quite the same.
Aside from the main questline, several side quests, minigames, and various other activies such as investing in retail or starting a family will occupy the majority of your time. Players generally won’t be engaging in these activities after they’ve beaten the main story, but instead spend bits and pieces of their time completing tasks here or there, and eventually it begins to build up and causes the game as a whole to last much longer.
To me, Fable III is worth its $60.00 price tag. For others, that might not be the case. If you’re looking for an interesting and charming single player RPG with a moderate level of replayability and about 20 to 30 hours of enjoyable gameplay, then this is the game for you. Fable III’s value clocks in at 4 out of 5 points.
Fable III is charming and enjoyable. The world and the characters are full of a uniqueness not often encountered in video games these days. It is fit to burst with numerous activities to occupy your time, and is interesting enough to keep you coming back for more. While the game has numerous graphical issues and may, in some instances, be a bit too simple for its mature audience, I feel that the overall enjoyable gameplay more than makes up for these deficits.
Overall score: 75%