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Game On, Bitches: Fable III

11.09.2010

FABLE III

BUY THIS GAME AT AMAZON.COM NOW!!!

Developer:Lionhead Studios
Publisher:Microsoft Game Studio
Systems: XBOX 360

When FABLE III came in the mail, the meta-epic began; it was snatched out of my hands faster than you can say “Molyneux.” Just as she had with FABLE II, my wife hijacked a game that I was highly anticipating and took the spoils all for herself. I’m cool with it because I love her and what’s mine is hers. The intrepid Hero, she’s already beaten the game twice while I’m only about 12 hours in. With that in mind, this is our joint list of things that we like and don’t like about the latest edition of FABLE.

WHAT WE LIKED

The hero has a voice! Unlike the previous two games, FABLE III has much more than a mute protagonist -- this time around your hero will talk and it makes the experience much more enjoyable. Although he (or she) doesn’t exactly talk up a storm, he will say enough that you’ll appreciate the new flare of character and perspective.

Three-Dimensional map is a godsend! This time around the FABLE team has added an in-depth 3D map that makes quick-travel easier and more succinct. It also makes buying, repairing, and selling real estate much easier. You don’t even need to be in the same town to buy a gigantic land mass. This was a much needed addition and is must have for future iterations in the series.

Better story and better storytelling! While the story in the original FABLE is high on my list of great video game stories, the plot of FABLE II was a major step backwards in the wrong direction. While compared to most other games, FABLE II was still a fun tale; however, it paled in comparison to the first game. In the sequel the setting was interesting, but the story was not as much fun. Returning to its epic roots, the industrial-era storyline in FABLE III is far more interesting; building up a band of rebels to bring down my brother resonates more than the hollow quests of FABLE II. For fans of the series, this story fits perfectly into and progresses the trilogy and should entertain those players new to the series too!

Tons of (good) side quests! One of the best parts of playing FABLE III are the abundant side quests that you can take. Unlike most games, these side quests are not tedious and are typically funnier than the main quest. So, if you’re looking to tack on another 5-6 hours onto your experience, take the time to play through each and every one of the side quests. Its well worth your time and will leave a smile on your face.

WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE

Where did the pause menu go? Although we both enjoyed the game quite a bit, there are several minor problems that annoyed us. The first was the absolution of the pause menu. Instead of a standard pause menu, FABLE III has added the “sanctuary”, a tangible level that you can navigate and interact with. In lieu of a list of names, items, achievements, and weapons, you can walk around and look and touch the three-dimensional counterparts of the words. This might sound cool on the surface; in reality it just slows down the process and makes changing outfits and weapons take longer than necessary. While I understand why such a new menu exists, we miss the efficiency of a good old fashioned HUD.

Interacting with the NPCs takes too long! Unlike the experience of talking to NPCs (non-player characters) in FABLE II, in FABLE III it takes forever to interact and communicate with them. While someone of the new features (locking on one specific NPC, holding hands) are beneficially, in no way are they better than the ability to interact broadly with multiple NPCs at the same time. FABLE II felt more fluid in its character interactions and its features are sorely missed in this regard.

Button icons are hard to see. I realize that this complaint is a bit petty, but in the world of HDTVs and 1080p resolution, seeing on-screen button icons shouldn't be a problem. I found that whenever I was asked to make an important decision that the on-screen "A" or "X" button icons were very hard to see. Not sure how this was screwed up but its a pretty basic task that should have been handled better.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, after 20+ hours of playing FABLE III, I really enjoyed the experience. It expanded on some of the experiences of FABLE II, hearkened back to some of those from FABLE I, and still managed to create a new world to enjoy. This game is definitely for fans of the series, as well as action fans looking to have bit more RPG in their life. FABLE III remains one of the best exclusive franchises on the XBOX platform and I recommend it to all owners of the console!

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8:52AM on 11/09/2010

still feels like 'whats the point?'

the fact that my wife wants to play this is a turn-off to the video game. it's still too simplistic, and it shouldn't take the 3rd game in a series for the main character to be able to talk.
the fact that my wife wants to play this is a turn-off to the video game. it's still too simplistic, and it shouldn't take the 3rd game in a series for the main character to be able to talk.
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