Fable III Review

Fable III is the cotton candy of video games. Cotton candy is delightful to look at and even more delightful to eat, but it doesn’t fill you up and instead leaves you hungry. Likewise, you’ll probably have a grand ole time with Fable II while it lasts; it’s full of personality and is outright hilarious at times, but in the end you’ll crave something more substantial. It’s also really easy to play while drunk. It’s easy to play while drunk because it’s very breezy. You don’t really have to put much thought into any of it because other characters lead you around by the hand the entire time, and nothing about the game is particularly annoying. It’s the Age of Industry. You are a Hero, and your brother is the douchebag king, and in the first 30 minutes of the game, you’ll have Bernard Hill telling everyone that you’re the one to lead a revolution against your bro, and you’ll go around kicking ass until you lead said revolution and become king/queen. Even if you’re a huge douchebag yourself. There are choices to be made, but they are binary only. The second choice you get to make in the game is between signing some guy’s petition and wiping your ass with it; once you’re king, you can either renovate an orphanage or turn it into a brothel. In case it weren’t obvious which option is “evil” and which is “good,” the button you must press to choose the evil option is on fire. Also, that button is “X” every time.

Fable III (XBox360 [Reviewed], PC)
Developer: Lionhead Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: October 26, 2010
MSRP: $59.99

So what’s changed since Fable II? Well, there’s not really a menu this time. Instead of the pause menu, you have the Sanctuary, which is five rooms in which you choose your weapons, clothes and magic spell gloves (you choose which spell you want here instead of in real time) and see what you’ve been spending all your money on and look at the map, all while John Cleese makes amusing observations about whatever it is you’re doing. And instead of menus at stores, the things you can buy are on display. It’s not, you know, more effective than a menu, but it’s a really nice and very unique design touch. XP is different. Now you earn “guild seals” by killing things or completing quests or shaking hands with people. Quests will probably earn you a few guild seals, shaking hands with someone will earn you one guild seal and you’ll have to kill five or six baddies to get a whole guild seal. And if you thought Fable II was forgiving, holy crap. The penalty for dying in this game is that you lose your progress toward your next guild seal, which is just that side of not being penalized at all. And your health regenerates! And then you have the Road to Rule, which is where you spend your guild seals to level up your combat and pie-making/blacksmithing/lute-playing abilities and learn new expressions and spells. This is actually quite annoying because you have to go up and down this long road in order to choose what you want to spend your guild seals on. The last big change is with the expressions. Before, you could just dance or whatever and a crowd would form around you and everyone would love you. Now, you can only make expressions at one person at a time, and before they love you you’ll have to go dip up something or deliver a letter for them. But this whole relationship thing is still as absurdly simplistic as it always has been. Though the Road to Rule is quite lame, the other changes are inconsequential; they don’t really improve or hurt the experience. ¬†Otherwise, it plays exactly like Fable II, which is to say the combat is simplistic and unchallenging. Oh, and, on the upside, you don’t turn into a cartoonish weirdo as you level up. But enough with infrastructure; the reason you play Fable is for the experience of playing Fable. This game is funny –much moreso, I would say, than Fable II. Bernard Hill likes to yell “BALLS” when he’s angry. Simon Pegg is in the game, and if you look around you can find really hilarious chapters of his autobiography. One of the side quests has you shrink yourself and take part in what amounts to an industrial age video game while the folks who made the game provide really, really funny commentary. I overheard this gem once: “I had a dream I went shopping last night. I always wanted to make my dreams come true.” As has been the case with Fable games, living your life in this world and venturing out on side quests is where this game shines, because the main plot takes itself far too seriously to be terribly enjoyable when juxtaposed with, say, Sam and Max’s continuing adventures with the Norminomicon. And the huge narrative failure that is the game’s climax only drives that point home further. Once all is said and done, though, the game works because, as has also been the case in the past in this franchise, the main story is only a small part of your time with the game. While the plot may take you a solid seven or eight hours if you rush through, you’ll spend dozens more just dicking around, and, actually, dicking around figures into the plot at points, as you’ll have to do side quests to gain fame. Oh, and like in Fable II, you can do all this with a friend at your actual or figurative side, as we’ve got couch and online co-op here. And unlike the previous game, you can actually take your own hero with you to the other side and have sex with your friends. If you’ve played previous Fable games, you’ll know exactly what to expect from this game. It’s really funny and full of enthralling side quests, the main mechanics aren’t anywhere near as dynamic as Peter Molyneux would have you believe, and the story isn’t quite satisfying. But that’s cotton candy for you. Pros:

  • F**king hilarious when it wants to be
  • Great sidequests
  • Easy to play while drunk
  • Breezy
  • The walking menu is quite precious


  • Choices are binary and extreme
  • Story climax completely s**ts the bed

Final score: 80/100

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3 Comments on Fable III Review


On October 26, 2010 at 5:09 am

Nice review, Easy to play while drunk-my favorite pro


On October 27, 2010 at 9:45 am

Thanks for the awesome (unbiassed like IGN) review. :) I’m most looking forward to the 3D menu tbh!!

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