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Fable III

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Fable III review
Ryan Cope

Review

The best in the franchise

I need a place to think (cntd)


In Fable III all that has changed. When players press the start button now, instead of going to a boring text-based menu, you will enter the Sanctuary. Thatís right; the folks over at Lionhead have created the first walk around, interactive pause menu. By pressing start, players pause the game and enter the main room of the Sanctuary. In it is an interactive map of Albion that allows players to fast travel around the world, find quests, set trails and buy and manage property. No longer will you have to run around going to each houseís door in order to buy, rent or adjust prices. This is quite a handy tool and makes organisation much easier for property developers as well as finding quests. Although, at times it can be a bit annoying to keep pausing, running over to the map and finding a new route to here or there. The load times between each transaction may frustrate some but are extremely quick compared to some load times in other RPG games.

The bread crumb trail is back and through the map system players can set themselves a route to quests and places. The decision to remove a mini map from the interface in Fable II met some controversy, but it certainly does make the player feel more immersed in the world. The only problem is when the bread crumbs disappear altogether and take a few minutes to reappear; leaving players who donít know their way around standing there like statues.

Jasper is the heroís loyal butler who is with the player from the beginning of the game and acts as your helper, the same way that the Guild Master and Theresa did in the previous games. Voiced by John Cleese, this handy servant and friend keeps your Sanctuary nice and tidy as well as update you on goings on in the world.

The Sanctuary also boasts a walk in closet, weapons room, trophy room and a multiplayer room. The process of changing an item is extremely easier than before. Simply walk into one of the rooms, or use the d-pad to fast travel, and players will find all of their items laid out for them. Simply walk up to the piece of clothing or weapon that you want, select it and then run through the options of what to put on. You could wear the whole thing or choose separate parts. The new Sanctuary menu is an effective, easy and fun to use system accompanied by some great comedic commentary from Cleese. Other RPGs should take note of this interesting technique for item management.

This is my sword, there are many like it but this is mine


Players will start off with a few simple weapons that, because they are magical, will level up and change as you progress. This will be a personal change as the heroís weapon will reflect his or her morality. If youíre the sort of person who saves and protects people, your sword will be long, elegant and infused with holiness, where as if you slaughter innocents your blade will be jagged, dark and dripping with blood.

Other weapons become open to players as the game progresses, but certain requirements, such as kill 500 Hollow men, are needed in order to upgrade them. There isnít really much incentive to change weapons though, since the original ones that players start out with are quite sufficient for the entire game. This is both a good and bad thing since it really feels like it is your weapon, but there isnít much reason to try out what else the game offers, not that there is much diversity in weapons or clothes anyway.

The levelling up system has changed as well, adapting an interactive interface like the Sanctuary. Instead of going to a menu and using experience points to upgrade this or that, thereís something called the Road to Rule. The player starts at one end while at the other is the Bowerstone Castle. Along the way there are gates that block the path and can only be open when certain requirements in the story are met. As players pass through these gates new chests are made available.

By killing enemies, completing quests and making friends players can earn guild seals, which act as XP, and each chest costs a certain amount of seals to open. Itís a positive and fresh approach to levelling up but there isnít much choice and players will find themselves spending seals on useless things like expression packs you donít need. So while the concept, like the Sanctuary, is innovative, the items and powers along the way are too few and unrewarding.

The future of Albion


Overall, Fable III takes a few good steps forward for the franchise in some areas while at the same time taking a few back in others. The game is a rewarding and entertaining adventure but doesnít quite live up to the standards promised for it. This is no reason to dislike it though as it has much to offer to fans as well as newcomers. Although it is questionable whether or not, in an attempt to make it a more universal game for all types of players, Lionhead sold out its hardcore fans and RPG followers. So if youíre looking for a deep, moving, stats infested RPG, then stick with Fallout 3, where as if you want a fun, easy going game with some nice touches, then pick up Fable III.

8.5

fun score

Pros

A fun, entertaining, innovative move for the RPG series, with some beautiful moments, great story and brilliant voice acting.

Cons

Did not live up to its hype. Can be buggy, frustrating at times and everything thatís good seems to have a bad point.

 
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