Fable 3 is the third (or fourth if you count Fable: The Lost Chapters) game in the Fable series, set in the fictional land of Albion. In a departure from the previous incarnations, the player will not start as a child and gradually come into your power as you progress from childhood to adulthood. You will play the role of the prince or princess, who is the child of your Fable 2 character (If you played Fable 2!). Circumstances early on will thrust you into the role of a revolutionary, seeking to overthrow your older brother, the tyrannical King Logan.
Those intimate with the series will note that most of a geographical regions are new additions, with only the ever present Bowerstone (now going through an Industrial revolution) and Millfields (which used to be Bower Lake) return from Fable 2. The regions themselves are larger and more pleasing to look at than the previous games. Mist Peak Valley stands out as the best example to highlight this.
Not only are there new regions to explore but Fable 3 comes with several new0 features that set it apart from Fable 2. The first of which you’ll be exposed to is the touch mechanic. The touch mechanic replaced the expression system from previous Fables in an effort to make the experience more personal. To get an NPC to follow you, it’s as simple as a button press and you’ll hold hands. You can then walk about with them as you please. If you go somewhere they don’t want to go, they’ll start tugging on your arm in an effort to get away.
To perform expressions, you now simply hit the A button to interact with them and you’ll be presented with a choice of expressions. This is where the new touch mechanic falls down. The old expression wheel allowed the player control of what expression they wanted to use, provided they knew it. The touch mechanic however, takes away this control. The expressions are broken into categories depending on their type (good, evil, insulting type deal) and you are given one expression from each of those categories selected entirely at random. There is a Demon Door that will only open when specific expressions are used in front of it and this is likely where one will suffer the most annoyance from this issue.
The other, major change is weapon morphing, which if you happened to listen to Peter Molyneux talk about it, you will be disappointed with the result. Your weapon will evolve depending on how you use it, more or less was the idea. But this doesn’t really occur. The moment you unlock the ability to use weapons, you’ll be given special weapons left behind by your mother or father. They’re special because they morph depending on you use them.
Well. It’s true in a manner of speaking. There are a series of morphs and each has a condition (or several) to have that morph available in what I call the morph pool. For example, killing a load of Hollowmen might unlock the bone handle morph. When you open the melee and ranged chests in the road to rule, a morph will be applied from this morph pool at random. Though the morphs always occur in the same order (if memory serves the order is handle, blade (or the equivalent for guns and hammers)), design and aura.
So, the Hero weapons (left behind by your parent) don’t really morph based on how you use them, the morphs themselves don’t offer up any sort of bonus to improve the weapon. They are purely aesthetics. Throw in the fact they are the weakest weapons in the game, you’ll quickly leave them behind in the Sanctuary’s armory the moment you acquire your first legendary weapons (which aren’t really all that legendary!).
The Sanctuary is the third innovation in Fable 3 that you’ll notice and it’s perhaps the most pleasing of all. Gone are the menus of old, the Sanctuary replaces them in the form of a 3D GUI. And I for one could not be the more happier. It’s simplified and a few button presses can get you to everything you need. Just about anyway. There is less information available to you than what there was in the Fable 2 menu and there’s no way to really manage miscellaneous items but overall it is an improvement.
There other disappointments you might experience depending on how much stock you put into Peter Molyneux talking about Fable 3 features, such as the part of the game where you become Ruler of Albion (well, I venture most’ll be disappointed regardless) but this is a game where you really have to explore to fully appreciate it. There’s a lot of small things to be found that add up to what is an enjoyable experience. The British humour the series is known for is still there and as good as ever, complimented by a great voice actor caste including John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Simon Pegg among others.
It is perhaps the best Fable yet (I may well be in the minority with that opinion) but there is loads of room for improvement for the inevitable Fable 4. With the addition of more DLC content in the future, Fable 3 might even find itself bumped up a few more notches, but only time will tell on that front.
I’m going to give this romp in Albion (And Aurora) a 7.6/10.