I’m a couple hours into Fable 3, and I have to say I’m pretty disappointed. Where Fable 2 was very customizable, and open-ended, I’m finding Fable 3 is far too simple. In this post, I’ll be talking about some of the things I really dislike about this game… but first, some of the things that Fable III got right:
Fable III – The Good
Surprisingly, I liked the menu system… or the lack of one, really. The new Fable has done away with the traditional menu system. Your clothing and weapons are accessed by transporting to your ‘sanctuary’ where you can physically pick your items. The character upgrade menu has also been replaced with ‘the road to rule’, which is a road with gates and treasure chests which are unlocked by your experience points.
The benefit of this type of ‘menu’ is that everything is in character — you’re never really taken out of the game. This is a good way of keeping the player immersed in the game. Unfortunately, they’ve needed to hugely simplify weapons, inventory, and spellcasting in order to accomplish this.
I haven’t had a chance to play Fable in multiplayer, but from what I’ve read there have been massive improvements on this. This feature in Fable II was very rudimentary — it was basically like playing the Tails character in Sonic the Hedgehog.
Environment and character design
As expected, the game really shines here. Buildings, characters, weapons, ships… all these are designed to really immerse you in the world of Albion. It’s been a few decades since the events of the last game, so technology has advanced to include a lot of steam powered machines.
There are lots of big name voices in this sequel — John Cleese, Sir Ben Kingsley, Simon Pegg, among others. The non-player character (NPC) voices are all very well done, and you get to actually hear your character speak in Fable 3 (you only heard non-word sounds from the hero in Fable 2)
Fable III – The Bad
There are some pretty funny animations for the actions you can make your character do… but damned if I know how to actually perform them. When you interact with townsfolk, you only get a choice of a good or bad action, and to perform that action, you just hold down either the A or B button. Far simpler than Fable 2′s interface where you had to hold and release the button with exact timing… but also very boring.
As mentioned before, the inventory is incredibly simple compared to Fable 2. No longer are there dozens of food types, weapons and gifts. You can carry one type of food, and who knows what gifts you’re carrying…. I’m guessing they show up in your treasure room. Part of the charm of Fable was all the funny types of food, and it’s crazy but I really liked carrying around all kinds of meat pies, fish, and celery!
In Fable III, playing as an evil character really doesn’t make much sense. The story revolves around you being the good guy, and your brother being the bad guy, so playing as an evil character is hard to reconcile with the story. I feel guilty if I steal and kill — a good prince would never do such a thing!
So which is better, Fable 3 or Fable 2?
In my opinion, Fable 2 is a far better game. Even though Lionhead Studios spent a lot of time trying to make the game more immersive, it felt like the opposite. Because the actions are so limited, and the game pressures you to take the ‘good’ path, it’s like you’re just watching a movie and occasionally pressing the A button.
If you haven’t played either Fable 2 or 3 yet and are wondering which one to get, I encourage you to buy Fable 2 — much cheaper now, and a far better game overall.