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Opinion: The faults of Fable 3

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Peter Molyneux is somewhat notorious for being known as the “used car salesman” of the video games industry; promising so much and yet delivering very little. He’s a man with good ideas but not the person who you want to execute them. Case in point: Fable 3.

Unlike many of my gaming brethren I actually enjoyed the previous game in the series, Fable 2. I enjoyed it enough to play through it several times and I even bought the DLC for it. It wasn’t the most technologically advanced game out there, it wasn’t the most engaging either – but I appreciated its odd sense of humour, and the appearance of the game world changing depending on the decisions that you made throughout encouraged me to play through enough to try and see everything that it had to offer.

It is with great disappointment then, that I found myself bored with Fable 3 after only a couple of hours of play. Though I stuck around to finish its modest 15 hour story I couldn’t help but feel that a lot of things that made Fable 2 good are missing from the third instalment.

Moral choices

Making moral decisions has always been a big part of the Fable formula – though the choices that you make are always very clear as to whether they’re good or evil actions. The great thing about Fable 2 were the choices you could make in the different stages of your life. The decisions you made as a child effected Bowerstone Old Town, and throughout your adulthood the rest of Albion would change depending on decisions that you made.

Fable 3 has this, sure – but the only substantial choices that you make are in the last 2 – 3 hours of gameplay when you’re the King/Queen, which means that the other 13 hours of gameplay lack anything interesting to do. Why is the biggest appeal to the Fable franchise resigned to the last few hours of gameplay?

Hold B to kill everything on screen

Fable has never really had any remarkable depth to its combat. Press X to use your sword, Y to use your gun, or press B to cast a spell. The problem? You could probably play through the entire game using only your magic.

Sure, you’d probably have to buy a couple of health potions (lets face it, money isn’t exactly difficult to come by), but it’s better than being surrounded and mobbed by Hollowmen. Near the end of the game I certainly found myself just sitting there, holding B for a few seconds and wiping out everything on screen. Badass? Yes. Fun? Not really.

No continuity

In Fable 3 you play as the son/daughter of the character that you played as in Fable 2, which implies that the events of Fable 2 couldn’t have happened that long ago in the Fable timeline – but none of the actions that you perform in Fable 2 really effect the world in the sequel.

With the Fable series relying so much on moral decisions it seems stupid that the series doesn’t implement a feature that reads your saved game for Fable 2. It could be interesting to see how the moral decisions that you made in Fable 2 effect the world in Fable 3 but that doesn’t seem to be here. Instead, Fable 3 seems to assume that you played through as a good guy.

Evil guy turns out to be not so evil

Note: This section contains spoilers.

If you’ve been keeping up with information on Fable 3 then you’ll know that your brother in the game is the King of Albion, and is running the country as a tyrant. It’s obvious that he’s bad news: he forces children to work, publicly executes civilians and just generally runs the place as a dictatorship. Heck, from the video above alone you can tell that he’s evil.

Oh but it’s okay, he’s not really evil – he’s just doing it all for the greater good. Threatening to burn down cities and forcing his people to live in poverty and starvation? Yeah don’t worry about that – he’s a nice guy really.

You hated those jobs in Fable 2? Well here’s some more!

Nobody, and I mean nobody liked the jobs that you did in Fable 2. They were universally despised – so why bring them back as glorified quick time events? Also on the topic of stupid jobs…

Holding hands is stupid

Okay, so in some situations holding hands isn’t stupid – but there are times when it is. Example? Catching criminals.

In Fable 2 a town guard would ask you if you want to go and bring down a criminal – usually involving you going on a quest to go and kill some bandits. In Fable 3 you run off to some part of town and… hold the criminals hand?! I can appreciate that Fable has an element of humour to it but this is just stupid.

You get to run the country as you want to

Note: This section contains spoilers.

Except that you don’t. Not properly, at least.

Becoming king or queen of a country and making decisions on education, taxes and the general well being of the country is something that you don’t see every day and it’s a nice idea. Problem? It’s poorly implemented.

As you go through your rise to power you discover that Albion is about to be attacked by an evil creature known as The Crawler and his army. You have a year to raise as much money as you possibly can in preparation for the attack – otherwise everyone in the kingdom will die.

Playing as a good guy will give everyone a high quality of life, but it gets everyone killed, whereas playing as the Tyrant will allow everyone to live at the cost of child labour, poverty and starvation. The problem with Fable 3 is that it assumes that the only way that you can raise money is by becoming a Tyrant. Of course you can donate your own Gold, but it barely makes a difference to the amount of debt that you can accumulate as a good player.

Why can’t you create shops and stalls that are owned by the crown and have the proceeds go to the treasury? In addition to this there seriously needs to be more than just two fetch quests for items that you can sell. Why not let people hire themselves out as bounty hunters? The whole king/queen aspect of the game isn’t as good as it should be.

There are of course a lot of improvements over Fable 2 – you no longer have to hold the right trigger to gain experience after fighting enemies and co-operative play is much better now – but Fable 3 still falls short of what it should be.

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Written by Pokeh

January 2, 2011 at 8:42 pm

One Response

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  1. No continuity
    In Fable 3 you play as the son/daughter of the character that you played as in Fable 2, which implies that the events of Fable 2 couldn’t have happened that long ago in the Fable timeline – but none of the actions that you perform in Fable 2 really effect the world in the sequel.

    With the Fable series relying so much on moral decisions it seems stupid that the series doesn’t implement a feature that reads your saved game for Fable 2. It could be interesting to see how the moral decisions that you made in Fable 2 effect the world in Fable 3 but that doesn’t seem to be here. Instead, Fable 3 seems to assume that you played through as a good guy.

    I agree with you. It also assumes you played through as a male…It would be nice if your heroine could get the credit she deserves.

    saint

    March 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm


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