Monday, November 1, 2010

Impressions: Now with less Hatorade...Fable 3

   As promised I'm sneaking in the time to write my Fable 3 impressions and AW my Halloween costume of course.  As I suspected, I like Fable 3 far more than I do Fallout New Vegas. So now, where do I begin....

    I got the game early Tuesday morning and proceeded to play for 11 hours straight. I got the CE and while the playing cards are a little underwhelming (New Vegas did have that one over Fable 3, their playing cards are awesome) The case that looks like a book is absolutely gorgeous. I set the purty box aside and sat myself down for a long gaming session, which it was.
   The intro made me chuckle, the obsession with chickens in Fable games is just odd and hilarious. I was also charmed by the brightly colored, beautiful world. Even the uglier sites like Bowerstone and its grey and brown industrial area are beautiful. Its just a more vibrant grey and brown than the usual games (I know, that makes no sense but in my head it does.)
   I of course chose to be a princess, and I was glad to see the improvement in character looks. She's actually pretty and the male hero kinda reminds me of John Barrowman (so dreamy). Right off the bat I was hit with a hard choice that made me pause and think about it. I made the "right" choice but its bothered me ever since. That to me is a sign of a good game. The fact that I was able to quickly take on this role and feel the impact of my choice.
   I dont want to spoil anything so I'll just say that while the story itself isnt particularly deep or original it does enough to engage a person and keep you moving on...

  Moving on...thats the first thing that bothers me.
I understand that the game is divided in half, or maybe thirds really..First you must gather supporters to your cause, by doing menial tasks and giving them lots of gifts. Second comes the much touted Revolution and finally you will establish yourself as King or Queen. That's all well and good but, I cant help but feel that I'm being rushed along.
   I'm one of those people that gets lost in a game, exploring all corners, climbing up on things that weren't meant to be climbed on etc. and the sense of urgency in the game while understandable to the plot, leaves me feeling rushed and frustrated. Especially when I get stuck in an interactive cutscene that leaves me listening to someone while following them at a snails pace. This isnt the only place where Fable 3 gets points off from me.

   If you've played previous fable games you know that you're hero is a silent protagonist who communicates by using a handful of pre-determined expressions that you cycle through with the D-pad. While you can always choose from a "nice" or "naughty" gesture you are free to choose whatever expression you'd like. NO MORE says Fable 3.
   While you still pick up a multitude of expressions (I will cover the level-up and skill progression shortly) you no longer get to choose which one you will perform aside from choosing "nice" or "naughty". So if i want to dance with someone or hug them, first I'll have to shake hands and whistle and maybe even strike a pose before it cycles to the expression I wanted to use. Streamlining at its worst and most unnecessary.But, alas, that isnt the only place where they've trimmed the lean with the fat to horrid results.

    First up is your inventory. This one is a change for the better. Instead of having to search through half a dozen menus and hundreds of items everything is automatically sent to your Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is your secret lair where your butler  keeps all of your items neatly on display in multiple rooms. There's a room for your weapons, clothes, trophies, and Xbox Live settings, along with a main room with an interactive map, which you use to choose quests and fast travel. Its a nice, efficient and fun way to keep track of your items. What isn't so fun or efficient is your skill progression and the attainment of abilities.

   In Fable 2 you got different color experience orbs, each color representing one of the 3 skills you could level up: melee, ranged and magic. Not so in Fable 3. You now collect "guild points", these guild points are then used to open chests containing different skills and items. You will purchase skill levels, the ability to buy property, get married and even steal. That's right. You now have to purchase the ability to own real estate, which is divided into property and shops (you have to purchase each ability separately) and you have to buy the ability to marry and have kids. Who thought this was a good idea? Not only that but these chests are along a gated path called "The Road to Rule" You unlock gates on this road as you complete certain goals in the main story line. Each gate you open has rows of chests to unlock with your guild points and leads you closer to your goal which is of course the throne of Albion. What this means is that you'll have to progress a bit into the main story before you can marry or buy a house etc. Its an unnecessary hoop to have to jump through.
   Combat is a simple affair, spam a button and go to town. I had fully intended to fight with my sword with a little magic thrown in for those moments when you need to crowd control with some  AOE spells, however, I found myself using ranged weapons and magic and forgetting all about my sword. Then again if you bought Fable 3 for the combat, you've got problems.
    Overall, the game has a few improvements over Fable 2 but it does have its share of missteps as well. But if you liked the first 2 fable games, particularly the second one, you'll probably enjoy this one as well. As I've said, I'm not too far into the game just yet. Haven't even gotten to the Revolution part of the story line but I have enjoyed my time in Albion so far immensely, definitely a lot more than I've enjoyed the Mojave Wasteland.




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