Like many other gamers, I’ve recently jumped back in with an addictive action-RPG series. Unlike many other gamers, the game in question isn’t Dark Souls 2, but rather the Fable games. Hey, they’re addictive to me anyways. I loved the first game, loved the second, but like almost everybody else I was immensely disappointed by Fable III. Last month I bought Fable: Anniversary on a whim and after letting it sit unplayed for a week I finally dove into it, and instantly my addiction was back. After spending hours and hours doing everything possible in the game and wringing every drop I could from it, I decided to give Fable III another shot and finish off the achievements I had left dangling in it. I’d gotten every achievement in Fable II, Pub Games, and Anniversary, so III being left as “unfinished business” as it were now bothered me in a way.*
Having about three years since the last time I touched it, I came into the game with fresh eyes. Even coming into it directly after completing the redux of the first game I still ended up having a new appreciation that I didn’t have upon the second sequels initial release. It’s still a very bad “Fable” game, but taken on its own it really isn’t this terrible thing I remembered it as. Now, if I were to get bogged down in all the changes in how you level up, the way you manage property, the nonsensical world map, the dumbed down magic, and on and on** I’d be rambling way more than I already am. Instead I’m going to point out what I think to be Fable III’s biggest flaw, which is the narrow path of the story.
It’s funny, because while on one hand giving us some of the most open areas to explore in a series built of fairly enclosed paths, on the other hand the game forces you through from point to point with more heavy-handedness than anything before it. As the player, it seems like you’re there only to serve Lionhead’s story, instead of the story being there to serve the game and in turn the player. And the story isn’t as good as they seem to think it is, which makes the devolution of a series that has always aspired to be about player choice and making your own adventure come off as even worse by comparison. I’m not too in love with the games to be blind to the fact that you’ve always had limited choice in the big scheme of things, but it was even more blatant in the third outing.
Still though, I found myself enjoying Fable III a lot more than I remembered. That enjoyment is fading with each new playthrough as I grind for all of the weapons across my handful of gamertags (that “We Need Guns, Lots of Guns” achievement is a son of a bitch), but that’s to be expected from this kind of foolishness. Honestly though, fuck some of this game’s achievements.
Anyways, over a month on and I’m still in the midst of my renewed Fable love affair. So much so that I’ve even borrowed my brother’s Kinect so I can give The Journey a go once I wrap up this Fable III gamerscore hunt. Eventually I can see myself getting an Xbone for Fable Legends, which is seeming like a possible mash-up of Fable, Gauntlet and Borderlands, with some Dungeon Keeper on the flip side. I’d rather see a proper number IV that would rectify the mistakes of the third, but I have faith that will come.
*I’m bothered by only having one achievement left in Fable Heroes as well, but getting a gold medal in every level is an incredible hassle to do and Heroes is so incredibly milquetoast that there’s no draw to even try. Even a fanboy has limits.
**What’s up with there being absolutely no “save and quit” feature? You have to “save and continue” and then either just turn the system off or quit directly to the dashboard via the 360 guide. An odd interface choice.