Few improvements in the ‘Fable’ series

Ricky Davis | Staff Writer

“Fable 3” is the latest of Peter Molyneux’s “Fable” series and has touted quite a bit of anticipation from fans of the series and RPG fans. In the typical Molyneux fashion, many new promises were made about the level of customization and change in the world of Albion. Unfortunately (and rather, predictably) not all those promises were kept, and the ones that were fell short of their mark.

“Fable 3” takes place 50 years after “Fable 2.” Players are placed in the shoes of either the son or daughter of the hero from “Fable 2” and live as a member of the royal family. The brother King Logan has brought Albion into an era of industry that includes child labor, squandering of natural resources, widespread poverty and public executions. Obviously this isn’t sitting too well with the people of Albion, and it is the player’s job to lead the revolution against King Logan and take over the throne. While this is a good setting for an action packed story, it hasn’t been thought out as well as it could have been.

The “Fable” series has always been about moral choices. Since the first game, players have always had to fight great evils as the savior of Albion, but they have always been fueled by personal revenge. In “Fable 3,” it is all about the pain of the people. Players get to be the leader of a rebellion, but this still includes a lot of murder and destruction. It makes little sense that right after players destroy a town, the people will shake your cold, bloody hand and follow the “hero” to war.

The next major selling point for the game is how players can become the king or queen of Albion. However, it does not meet expectations. Once the player becomes king or queen, Albion must be saved through managing skills. This does not turn into a complex “build a society” mission but a simple press “A” for good, “X” for bad moral court system. The gimmick is that if the player wants to be good, a large sum of money must be amassed. The evil option either yields money or stops it from being taken away. Unless the player completely misses the many hints the game gives about how good it is to invest cash, players will be fine no matter what choice is made. Having played the previous game, I was well aware from the start how lucrative real estate is in the “Fable” franchise and began investing immediately. By the time I became king, I owned every single building and shop in Albion and was making over $100,000 every five minutes of play time. These “hard” moral choices came down to holding the button that corresponded to my alignment every single time. To top it all off, the main story is only about 10 hours, and the time spent as king is so short it’s ridiculous.

With that all being said, as much as the main quest is disappointing, the rest of the game is rather solid. There are some slow down issues, but they never detract from the overall experience. Combat is very smooth and lets players switch between melee, ranged and magic easily. There are even some makeshift combos that can be pulled off to keep the combat fast paced. Many of the side quests are memorable and players can also start a family or families depending on personal feelings about polygamy. There is also now the option to adopt children as either a single parent or a couple. The interactions between characters, however, have been cut down. Players either hold “A” for good, “X” for evil and “Y” for rude.

The best improvement is the multiplayer. Co-op was at best tolerable in “Fable 2” and certainly wasn’t a high point. “Fable 3” changes that. Over XBox Live each player can control their hero and is allowed to move around the game world. Players no longer have to stand within 10 feet of each other to play and both can interact with the world equally. Couch co-op still keeps the same “Fable 2” restrictions but widens the area that players can be apart and still allows for independent heroes with two profiles.

Overall, “Fable 3” is a good game that is, for the most part, enjoyable. But in the end, with the final credits rolling, the feeling that Lionhead Studios could have done much more with this title sinks in.