After Hours

Fable III: And a chicken shall lead them

In Fable III you are asked to lead a revolution and to eventually rule your people. Are you ready for the challenge, or will you chicken out?

Fable III hit the store shelves this past week, and I have been seeing some buzz among my RPG playing friends. For those of you not familiar with the Fable franchise, the game is a role playing game set in a medieval Europe-like time period. The developer is Lionhead Studios, which is a subsidiary of Microsoft.

The developers apparently have a playful sense of humor judging by the opening cinematic.

If you are playing Fable III, we would like to see your comments. Do you recommend it? What's the story like?

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

6 comments
soatone
soatone

I have to agree with the other posts here. Fable III is a fun game with a great sense of humor. The use of magic is a little silly (waiting for a spell to charge) and a little over powered in my opinion. I defeated the final boss in less than 3 minutes with my level 5 lightning/vortex spell. Which made for a rather anti-climactic fight. My main issue with Fable III isn't actually with the game itself, but Microsoft's annoying methods of trying to get you to spend extra money on the game. I played the Xbox version, so some things may have changed on the PC, but I would be very surprised if Microsoft stopped this completely. As BurnedSalamander pointed out in his post, a Microsoft Live (Xbox Live for the console game) account is required to play. But, in order to access any of the multiplayer content you need a Xbox Gold account. You pay a fee for the gold account and get access to additional features. This is made worse when you realize that about a quarter of the game's achievements are multiplayer based. Even a few you don't realize. One achievement specifies that you acquire all the melee weapons in the game, a total of 50. But, what you don't know is that only 25 will spawn in your game world and you may not be able to get them all based on the choices you make in the story line. This means that you have to trade with other players for the weapons you need. But, you can't do that without a gold account. Then there is your butler. Every time you transport to the Sanctuary your butler will remind you that "there are new items in the Sanctuary shop." "A new item has been added to the Sanctuary shop; won't you take a look?" "If you have the time you should check out the new items in the Sanctuary shop." But, since you're not always transporting to the Sanctuary, I could have let this slide if Microsoft hadn't decided to up the annoyance factor by doing the same thing with every loading screen. I'm sure there are less loading screens on the PC since modern computers are much faster than the Xbox, but every loading screen displayed a message that stated there was some cool new item in the shop and I should go check it out. Fable III is a fun game with a good story line and some genuinely funny moments. You'll have to play through it a few times to experience all the content it has to offer. However, what Microsoft has done to the game is really annoying and detracts from the overall quality of the game in my opinion.

BurnedSalamander
BurnedSalamander

At first I found the story line interesting and gripping. Viva la resistance and all that. However, from the get go, I think they worked a little too hard to demonize the brother. Come on, the making me choose between my beloved and the villagers was a bit much in my oppinion, but I guess it was an attempt to get me good and mad at him and leave no doubt that he had to go. I'm also annoyed about the promises you HAVE to make in this game. This goes back to my lack of options complaint. From everything Ive seen, there isnt another option. You HAVE to promis these things. Perhaps Ive been spoiled with the care Dragon Age took in giving you choices, but this part of Fables 3 makes it look less like the modern RPG and more like a step back into the old one story line game pretending to be something new. Later, you do seem to get some choices once youve finished the Road to Rule. Again, we are back to serious limitations. There are only two choices: child labor or build a school, execute or let him help in your government, fullfill your promise or not. I seriously felt like they either needed to get in and work this part of the game to its fullest or not do it at all. They could have either given more options to choose from or split this up. Do you want Child labor? Do you want to build a school? That was I felt was a major failing in this system. As for the actual story itself, I found the story line very interesting and I'll not say much as to not spoil it for others.

BurnedSalamander
BurnedSalamander

So after a while of playing Fable 3, I am utterly amazed and slightly confused. Okay, first there is the need to hook yourself up to something called Windows Live which apparently you have to create and account for to play this game. From what I can tell so far, you are hooked into this site just like in DA or in WoW and have no choice but to be logged into it to play the game. Apparently, while in game, you have the ability to connect to another players game as they are running missions and what not and go into their world as well. The cinematic at the first the game is actually pretty cool and manages to incorporate a running character in the Fables line: the chicken. You follow a chicken around as it flees for its life while it the game tries to liken its struggle to a persons life struggle in an exhausted metaphor. It is pretty funny at times and the graphics are pretty good so it's worth at least a viewing. http://lionhead.com/Fable/FableIII/IntroCinematic.aspx As for the system itself, I have never seen a more idiot proof one in all my years of gaming. I mean, seriously, I think you'd have to be blind to screw this up. First key difference between this game and most of the other ones on the market is the distinct lack of task bar. To engage characters and objects, you are asked to hold down the E,1, or 2 depending on the situation. I found the lack of task bar and options a little distracting and annoying. Most likely because it limits what you can do and perhaps Ive been too trained on task bars over the years. Like in Fable 2, you build relationships with folks by your reacting to things, again determined by holding down 1,2,3,4, ect. Again, I found the was to interact with NPCs extremely limited and fairly basic. If there is one thing the Sims got right it was this ability, but Fables 3 felt like a dumbed down version of that same system. I have yet to interact with an NPC and have more than three options at one time. I found this frustrating and limiting. While I understand that this is not the main point of the game, I think this is one of those instances where they need to crap or get off the pot. I am liking the storyline and Ill only say a little as to not spoil it for others (considerate of me eh?) The main toon-- you-- can either be a prince or princess and your older brother, and therefore ruler, is an utter jack-hole that I would guess is inspired of the pre-revolution royality of the 17th and 18th centuries. You start out with three companions. The first is Jasper, your loyal man servant. He will be your guide and run your sanctuary for you. Next is Walter. He's your trainer of sorts and not your brothers biggest fan. So far he seems to be mostly a plot device. Then theres mans best friend: your dog. Apparently he can be trained to do tricks and battle enemies. Also, he growls to warn you enemies nearby and alerts you about places you can dig up items and treasure chests. Like any hero saga, you have to go through training. To train, you need a trainer. And her name is Theresa and you will find her on the Road to Rule. This is the place where your toon grows and you can see who youve won over to your cause. As you interact with people and kill enemies you gain Guild Seals. You spend these Seals on the Road to Rule to up your damage with weaponry and magic or to up skills. Gandolf had his staff. Thor had his hammer. Hercules his poisoned arrows. Every hero has their weaponry and you are no different. Fable 3 provides you with three different types of weapons: magic, firearms, and melee. Magic is equipped through magic bracers. Lucky you, you have two arms, so you get two at a time so when you cast, it becomes a combo of the two you have equipped. You can also pack a gun and melee weapon at the same time as your magic and can flip between them all in the heat of battle. I found this a handy feature. To start, you are given two melee weapons to choose from: a sword and a war hammer. You are also given two guns: a pistol and a rifle. The weapons will grow in ability and levels with you so you dont have to worry about re-equipping your toon. Although the occasional weapon does show up for your slaughtering pleasure. If comic books have taught my generation anything, every hero has to have a secret hide out. Fable 3 provides you with a hide out, which you can easily access by hitting the ESC key. Its called the Sanctuary. Batman, eat your heart out! This place is only missing a wet bar and a hot tub. Jasper takes care of it for you and boy is there plenty to do here. Here you can rename your dog, change your look, equip other weaponry and spells, open gifts from your admirers, interface with other people playing the game through Windows Live, buy stuff from the game store, or save; load; or quit the game. There is also a giant map sitting in the middle of the main room which shows you available quests, areas open to you, and where you can travel. You can also quickly travel to any open area. The alternative is hoofing it. So I love this feature. Unfortunately, Fables 3 is a capitalist society which means you need money. And to get money, you have to earn it. You can do this through taking jobs or buying property or both. There are three types of jobs you can try out. The first is Pie Maker, where you make pies. Second is Black Smithing, where you temper swords. Third is Lute Hero (yes, thats actually what its called,) where you play the lute to entertain the local towns folk. Each of these are done by hitting 1,2, or 3 when a curser at the bottom of the screen passes through the number. Each level you get through, the faster the curser moves, but the cash rewards also get better. The maximum level is 10. Once you screw up or decide your done for a while the whole thing starts over. Not a bad way to make a little cash. You can also buy property to rent or businesses that will give you steady revenue. The only thing you have to know about that is that you have to sometimes repair the property or your tenants will refuse to pay rent. Something about wanting to live some place nice. I dont know what thats about. The quests are something else entirely. There are your main story line quests, minor quests, and then there personal favors of sorts. As you interact with characters and gain standing with them, they will ask you to do something for them. Ive found that most of these are either package delivery or digging something up theyve lost in an area. You are lead to each of your quest objectives by a sparkly little line thats only missing Tinkerbell. On one hand, its pretty handy, but on the other hand you seem to only be able to track one quest at a time. So its kind of a two edged sword. Ill keep tight lipped on the main story line quests as to not ruin the game for everyone! Happy gaming!

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

If you are playing Fable III we would like to see your comments. Do you recommend it? What's the story like?

SKDTech
SKDTech

Although I haven't yet finished the game (@%$% you school, my nemesis) I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun diversion. The combat is not particularly difficult once you become used to the mechanics (this is nothing new for the Fable franchise) but Lionhead has always had a knack for including humor in their games. If you are looking for frustrating difficulty go elsewhere.

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