Sorry, PlayStation 3. I’ve been cheating on you with my new toy – the Xbox 360. Upon my purchase of this new system, I was most excited for three things – Halo, Mass Effect, and the Fable series. All these are Xbox exclusives and you know how it goes – you always want what you can’t have. And now, I HAVE THEM ALLLL. Unfortunately, I suck nuts at Halo, so that’s going to require a bit of practice on my part. And dying over and over again, watching my head unceremoniously roll away from my body, gets a bit tiresome, so I’ve set that aside for a day when I have more patience. So, naught but a week after I’d purchased my console, I was able to buy Fable III on the day it came out. Three days later, I was finished.
Fable III is a video game that’ll make you feel like you’re good at video games ’cause it’s so goshdarn easy to beat. The battle system’s not at all complicated, the quests are child’s play, and it’s impossible to get lost because a glowing trail of shiny golden pixie dust that looks like the remains of Tinkerbell’s diarrhea explosion leads the way to your next objective. But, even though the game is ridiculously quick to get through, it makes up for this with good writing, an awesome world, and numerous side quests that can actually be quite entertaining.
One of the elements of the Fable series that’s universally lauded is the world it’s built. The fictional fantasy land of Albion is rich with character and very, very beautiful. Traversing its roads never gets old and the various regions of the game provide myriad opportunities to experience the different peoples and scenery of Albion. Additionally, there’s the The Sims-like element of the game, in which you interact with the residents of the land, making friends and lovers, doing them favors, getting/giving gifts, and (if you so choose) terrorizing them. You can even get pregnant or get STDs if you don’t use condoms! And you get fat if you drink too much alcohol! IT’S JUST LIKE REAL LIFE.
However, the most interesting element of Fable’s gameplay is the system of morality, and it is here where Fable III falters. Whereas there were actual equal advantages to being good or evil in Fable II, in order for Fable III’s story to make sense it almost necessitates you being good… until about the last third of the game when you’re the ruler of Albion and you have to make some VERY DIFFICULT MORALITY-BASED DECISIONS that caused me much emotional distress, but I won’t detail here so I don’t spoil y’all.
Additionally, the characters of Fable III aren’t as memorable or likable as in Fable II, making it very difficult for me as a player to connect with them on a level that inspired any amount of loyalty – and that was one of the most interesting and involving aspects of Fable II.
In summation, it’s a game that has a lot of potential, but ultimately falls short. But it’s still worth a play, if only for Stephen Fry’s performance as Reaver. A-fucking-mazing. I could listen to that man read me fucking Twilight and I’d still be enraptured.