Sunday, 27 March 2011

Fable 3.

You'd have to be living under a rock to not know what Fable is by now. At any rate, it's an RPG developed by Lionhead Studios.

Your brother, the King of Albion
The story goes: You're a prince of Albion, or princess, and your brother is the King. He's also, a bit of a dick. Overtaxing, instituting child labour and executing anyone who steps out of line; a real tyrant. No one really knows why. For when he began his reign he was a good king. Only when he returned from one of his expeditions did he become so ruthless. So you, as his sibling, take it upon yourself to reason with him. This doesn't go so well.

After your brother forces you to make a fatal choice between love and duty, you decide to flee the castle along with your mentor, Sir Walter, your butler, Jasper and your dog swearing to take him off the thrown.

So begins Fable 3...

The main jist of the story is you're out to start a revolution to overthrow your brother. To do this, you require followers. However, typically, they won't follow just anyone. Being that you're the King's brother, they want you to prove yourself. This generally involves sorting out their lives: ie. Killing bandits, saving idiots, recovering a relic or the peoples favourite: handing over cash. All in a days work for a hero.
However you soon find out that not all is as it seems with your brother; and there are bigger things a foot.

I'll leave it there in lue of spoiling it however I will say that it's generally a decent story. It's rare in games that you play as somewhat of import right from the get-go as you often start the game in a prison cell, or with amnesia. So starting as not just nobility, but royalty is quite refreshing. Although it becomes trivialised when you escape the castle and pretty much start from square one. No riches. No Horse. But you do get a butler... and a dog.

The butler being played by John Cleese no less. Simon Pegg, Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, among others, also lent their voices. Something about having English voice-acting for games makes me proud.

As for the gameplay I've really got no problem with it. The combat is pretty smooth incorporating melee, ranged and magic rather fluidly, magic having been made pretty streamlined. It's all under one button now. But that's because you only get one spell until half way through the game where you get something called 'spellweaving' allowing you to combine two spells into one.

Combat is also made more enjoyable by the odd Coup de'grace every now and again killing the enemy outright. Some are pretty brutal as well.

At first I was quite annoyed that you only had one spell, however they handled it well. Considering the previous two games had clunky casting systems. The second one's in particular. They also made two of the spells from the previous games into potions freeing up space. On top of that you don't really need any more than what they give you as they have their own little effects such as a stun or splash damage making you choose carefully over what spell best suits your playstyle, made a lot better once you get spell-weaving and can combine two spell effects into one. Allowing for a more custom feel.

This game, for me, had a lot to do with customization: resurrecting previous choices such as hair style, hair and armour dye, tattoos, gender and the special changes from character development such as going evil or that otherworldly glow you obtained from using magic, while implementing new ones like the look of your weapons altering depending on your playstyle and of course, spell-weaving.
Ben Flinn, voiced by Simon Pegg
To expand on the weapon aesthetic changing due to your development through the game. If, for example, you find a lot of treasure, your weapon may change to have a more ornate hilt, to reflect your wealth. Or perhaps a bone-styled stock for your gun after killing a fair amount of the undead.
The annoying thing is that you cannot choose what your weapon will look like unless you plan ahead. I wasn't disappointed by it although I'd have preferred the option to choose for myself. Albeit, how many games give you that anyway? After all, the idea of this was to REFLECT your play-style.
Although you don't get to choose the voice of your hero, as the prince just doesn't sound right with his upper-class rich-boy accent when I put him in a tramp beard and shaved his head.

There are a whole bunch of collectables, legendary weapons and achievements for you to waste a little more of your life unearthing as well as the property development, which was quite good.

After completing it twice within four days I figured I must've quite liked the game. Not as much as the first but a hell of a lot more than the second. Which was boring, seemingly broken and the story was ruined at the start.

I would say it's worth a buy however I borrowed it from a friend. So I didn't have that 'is it worth £40' burnt into my skull.

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